Studying languages provides graduates with the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills that are highly valued by employers.
There are many options to choose from and reading this guide will give you some ideas to help you start.
Languages graduates often obtain careers in translation, interpreting, teaching, or work for the Diplomatic Service. Language skills are also useful within the general area of business both abroad and based in the UK.
Some Questions to consider when reading this:
- What are your strengths?
- What matters to you about work?
- What are your interests, priorities and values?
- Who do you want to work with? e.g. a certain type of client?
- Which organisations are doing the type of work that interests you?
- What are the ways in - will you need to do a specialist post-graduate course or will relevant work experience/volunteering be enough?
- Have you logged into My Career Hub to search for vacancies?
- Have you made an appointment to talk though your ideas with one of our Careers and Employability Consultants?
- Do you understand your preferences?
How will my languages degree make me employable?
Studying and being proficient in languages can help you develop many skills that are attractive to employers: enhanced communication ability, interpersonal skills, analytical abilities, strong presentation skills, attention to detail, independence, and adaptability.
Employers are keen to recruit graduates with a global mind set and who are sensitive to cultural differences, and being adept at communicating in additional languages is definitely a valuable asset. Languages can be your unique selling point, giving you the extra edge and setting you apart from other graduates with similar backgrounds.
Other Marketable Skills Include:
- Ability to learn other languages with relative ease: Essential if you want to work as a Language Analyst/Linguist at GCHQ.
- Show curiosity and openness towards other cultures: Crucial in any job but essential in the European or Diplomatic Service.
- Organise and present ideas in a framework of a structured and reasoned argument: Useful if you are consider training as a solicitor or barrister, working in marketing, sales or advertising accounts management.
- A talent for clear expression, both oral and written, commanding a broad range of vocabulary and critical terminology: A crucial skill in any job, but especially primary and secondary teaching, HE lecturing, creative writing or journalism (broadcast, magazine, newspaper or digital).
- Basing conclusions on research and generating ideas, the ability to gather, evaluate and interpret information: Which opens possibilities for working in data analysis, information management, intelligence gathering (MI5), law enforcement, risk management (insurance, financial advice), genealogy and the legal and accountancy professions.
- Communicate and work creatively and flexibly with others: Crucial in any job but essential skills for advice and guidance, health and social care and counselling roles.
- Thinking creatively, critically and independently, identifying, absorbing and sifting complex information: Highly valuable in public policy and research roles.
- Deploy skills in note taking and summarising, library research, IT, analysis and problem solving: Linguists make excellent librarians, archivists, gallery and museum curators, logistics experts and project managers.
- The ability to gather, evaluate and interpret information: Which opens possibilities for working in data analysis, information management, intelligence gathering (MI5), law enforcement, risk management (insurance, financial advice), genealogy and the legal and accountancy professions.
Know your options.
Skills Gained at University Level Include:
- Prioritising & managing your time effectively.
- Using initiative, self-motivation and a drive and determination to get things done.
- Planning and researching written work, finding relevant information from a range of resources.
- Understanding and explaining complex theories and arguments.
- Critically analysing and evaluating evidence and arguments.
- Ability to work independently.
- Recording and summarising information efficiently.
- Gaining a good understanding of the uses of information technology and developing a range of IT skills.
- Leading and participating in discussions and developing confidence in your own opinions.
- Project management.
- Using judgment when weighing up different options and alternative perspectives.
- Working towards a solution using negotiation skills.
- Working with others when presenting ideas, information and practical work.
- Making presentations/public speaking.
- Understanding your own role and strengths in a team.
Job options related to your Languages degree include
Jobs directly related to your Languages degree:
Jobs where a Language degree would be useful:
Other employment sectors to consider
Many employers will recruit you because of your skills, irrespective of your degree sector.
You can research different job sectors and below gives you an overview of other possible sectors to consider. You can research these via Prospects.
All the suggested careers found in this guide are open to Languages graduates and there are many more besides. For many opportunities, you will find that employers don’t specify any particular degree subject. Therefore, it’s key when career planning not to limit your thinking to jobs that only relate directly to your degree. For example, sectors like engineering have roles for non-engineers in management, logistics, project management etc. You can research different job sectors here.
- Accountancy and Consultancy: You need a good GCSE in maths and a competency with numbers. For example RSM Tenon, are a professional services firm offering risk management, tax, recovery, financial management and business advisory services. Minimum entry requirements *240 UCAS points (the UCAS tariff has changed so check with UCAS) and 2:2 degree projected in any subject.
- Advertising, Marketing and PR: Entry is very competitive but digital marketing, including writing copy for blogs and social media is a growth area. For example, Heamar a supplier of specialist military specification tooling and components to the Military, Aerospace, Medical, Motor Sport and Mass Transit Industries, advertised for a Digital Marketing Trainee on My Career Hub. Whilst the applicant needed to demonstrate a reasonable understanding and experience of digital marketing activities, they also considered candidates with a strong background in creative writing/copywriting and/or with exceptional English language skills.
- Banking and Finance: AON, an insurance broker based in Manchester, recruits graduate trainees from any discipline for some of its roles. For example to apply for their Health & Benefits Broking and Consulting Stream, you must be educated to degree level with a 2:1 or equivalent qualification in any discipline. You should also be enthusiastic, creative and ambitious.
- Business and Management: Many of the UK’s largest companies offer graduate schemes where you can specialise in different areas of business. Bentley Cars, based in Crewe, have a Graduate Development Programme offering trainee roles in sales and marketing, HR, finance, purchasing and logistics.
- Community and Voluntary Sector: Although there are relatively few graduate trainee posts, you can train as a youth and community worker, or move into paid administrative or fundraising roles (usually when you have experience gained in other industries or have already been a volunteer).
- Government and Public Administration: Although this sector has seen a reduction in jobs, the public sector is still a big recruiter and encompasses jobs in the Civil Service, regional and devolved government, NHS management, local government, law enforcement and intelligence services. The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme prepares recruits for management roles in HR, finance and general management.
- Health and Social Care: This is a huge sector, which is changing rapidly in the way it is structured and the job roles within it. It’s important to keep up-to-date with current issues if you are considering entry. Jobs include social worker, specialist community support workers, residential care management, counselling and work within charities.
- Teaching: Language teachers are very in demand at the moment. Get Into Teaching are offering £26,000-£28,000 of tax-free bursaries to secondary language trainee teachers for the 2018/19 cohort.
Postgraduate study may be required in some occupations, or may give you the competitive edge in others. It is important that you research your options before starting your applications. Read our guide for more information on Postgraduate Study and Funding.
Search for courses on these websites:
What have Manchester Met’s Languages graduates done?
The following information represents some of the next steps for Manchester Met Languages graduates:
- Export Accounts Manager.
- ESOL Teaching Assistant.
- International Sales and Marketing.
- Trainee Social Worker.
- Recruitment Consultant.
- Account Executive.
- Tax Professional.
- Fraud Investigator.
- MA Magazine Journalism.
- MA Applied Linguistics.
- MA Translation Studies.
- PGCE Secondary.
- MA Multi Media Journalism.
- MA Conference Interpreting and Translation.
- MA International Fashion Business: Marketing Management.
Be inspired by other Manchester Met Languages Graduates.
Resources to Research Career Areas:
- Prospects: What can I do with my modern languages degree? Research areas such as job options, further education, skills to add to your CV and typical employers for Languages graduates.
- Prospects: Job profiles.
- TargetJobs: What can I do with a modern languages degree? Talks through skills you can gain, job options, and famous people who have History degrees.
- Career and Employability Guides: Provide detailed information on a wide range of careers topics and are downloadable from our website, and include: Opportunities in the Public & Not for Profit Sector, Looking for Graduate Jobs and Researching your career options.
- Career Planner: What you want from work and generates some job ideas.
Finding Graduate Opportunities:
Careers and Employability provide information and advice on job searching and we advertise hundreds part-time opportunities, vacation work, placements, internships and graduate jobs vacancies throughout the year on MyCareerHub. To access these vacancies simply login with your Manchester Met Student ID number and password.
Graduate Recruitment Schemes have many different names, offered by larger organisations, from multinational companies to opportunities in the NHS, civil service, and local government. Graduate schemes typically last for around two years.
Here are some examples:
Civil Service Fast Stream is an accelerated graduate scheme, designed to prepare graduates for senior managerial positions and has a number of different areas of specialism. The European Fast Stream enables you to specialise in EU issues in the UK Civil Service during a time of significant change. As a European fast streamer, you could work on some of the UK’s highest priority policy areas as we develop our future relationships with the European Union. You may also work on wider UK domestic policy across the Civil Service. You can also apply for the Diplomatic Service (European) scheme provided you meet the requirements for the Diplomatic service.
NHS Graduate Training Scheme: Offering roles in management, health analysis and informatics, HR and Policy and Strategy.
Other jobs in the NHS.
National Graduate Development Programme: You do not have to go onto a graduate scheme once you graduate, most graduates will be employed directly into organisations. Recruitment for graduate schemes is more structured, and opportunities are typically open in October each year and close around December. This means that you should be ready to apply in October at the end level 5 study. Read our guide for more information on Looking for Graduate Jobs.
Recruitment Agencies and Jobs Boards for Linguists:
Other Employers and Resources:
Working for Yourself:
Some Manchester Met graduates have also successfully started their own business/social enterprise.
Read our guide for information on Working for yourself.
Innospace: Manchester Met’s business incubator for start-ups and new enterprises
UNLtd: The foundation for social entrepreneurs, provide packages of support and funding for people who want to make a difference. They support individuals with entrepreneurial solutions to social issues.
How else can you make yourself employable?
Careers and Employability Support:
The Careers and Employability Service offers a range of support to Manchester Met students and graduates:
Careers Consultant Appointments: Book a 30-minute appointment and get expert advice from our specialist Careers Consultants.
Find Opportunities: We advertise hundreds of part time, graduate and internship roles through My Career Hub.
Take part in Careers and Employability events ranging from talks and workshops to employer events.
For more information, visit our website.