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What can I do with a modern languages degree?

What can I do with a modern languages degree?

Many language students simply aren’t aware of the jobs they could do. Their linguistic abilities can sometimes be a barrier to identifying their other skills.

This guide should help you think about the skills you have, the jobs they can be applied to, and the options available.

Here are some of the skills you should have acquired:

  • reading, writing and speaking foreign languages
  • gathering, assessing and interpreting information
  • leading and participating in discussions and groups
  • conveying meaning precisely
  • presentation
  • responding to others – from discussions in oral classes
  • attention to detail
  • boost in personal confidence and independence
  • listening to other people

The obvious careers for languages students and graduates are as interpreters and translators. Careers in the diplomatic service and telecommunications also often require an aptitude for languages.

Language students’ interest in their degree subject often goes beyond a simple desire to understand the language and includes a passion for foreign cultures as well. This could be a great advantage in the business world. Many blue-chip multinational recruiters want employees who have a global outlook and are sensitive to cultural differences.

With additional training you could also consider a career in one of these areas:

  • teaching
  • tourism
  • business
  • politics
  • public relations
  • human resources
  • distribution or logistics management
  • marketing
  • publishing
  • journalism
  • accounting
  • law

An aptitude for languages need not define what you do in your career. Spare a thought for the following famous people, who all studied languages:

  • Derren Brown
  • Paula Radcliffe
  • Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park)
  • Ben Affleck
  • Chris de Burgh
  • Ashley Judd
  • Brooke Shields
  • J K Rowling
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