What can I do with my Modern Languages degree?
Picture the scene: you’ve just graduated, having spent four years at university studying a foreign language. It was a long and winding path, but you’re pretty sure you’ve just about conquered the French subjunctive, and if – by some incredible twist of fate – a question on Latin American Boom literature comes up in a pub quiz, you’ll be in there quicker than your mates can say ‘¿qué pasa?’.
But now what? What’s left if you’ve already decided that the traditional career path for Modern Language graduates, that’s to say teaching or translation and interpreting, are not for you? Do you scream? Cry? Shake your fist at the sky and curse the moment you decided not to study a STEM subject? Or maybe – just maaaybe – keep reading and let us do the hard work for you:
Sales and Business Development
Now, I know what you’re thinking – ‘I’m not a sales guy (or girl)!’ – and I get it, I do. You spent your whole year abroad gallivanting around some of the most beautiful (not to mention hottest) places on Earth, so of course the thought of spending eight hours a day in some dreary call centre in Slough isn’t going to fill you with joy. The amazing thing, though, is that it doesn’t have to. Just like your language skills, the world of sales has come on leaps and bounds since the 90s and is now just as much about researching and relationship-building as it is about pitching. Far from being stuck in an office, your day is likely to be a blur of chatting to clients, going to meetings and liaising with marketing departments to ensure that your message is reaching and resonating with the right people. With your communication skills, it’s a no-brainer; just look at these roles with high-growth London startups:
Marketing and PR
Hey, remember that really long essay you wrote in final year about that obscure Austrian film that literally nobody’s ever heard of except from your lecturer and approximately three other ‘world experts’? Remember how you called it a ‘waste of time’? Well, the bad news is that you were right – that film is never, ever coming up in conversation, I’m sorry. The good news, however, is that whilst the essay itself might not help propel your career forward, your essay writing skills might! Marketing and PR agencies are always looking for people with good written skills and a creative flair, so don’t worry, there’s still a chance those all-nighters will come in handy after all!
HR, Talent and Recruitment
I can’t be sure, but I’m going to bet that by the time you left your year abroad, you had a friendship group that was as diverse as the UN and about 10x more harmonious. This might not sound like much of an accomplishment on the surface, but HR departments and recruitment agencies need graduates who can establish a rapport with people from all walks of life, making Modern Language grads a natural fit.
Let’s be real for a second: customer experience is hard. Not only are you going to be solving problems left, right and centre, you’re going to need to know how to think on your feet and – critically – how to stay calm under pressure. Luckily there is nobody more primed for this than a linguist, who – as well as being able to conjugate verbs in their sleep – has spent more time than they would like to admit jumping through complicated bureaucratic hoops in the hopes of setting up a foreign bank account. If you can do that, you can do anything.
So the world is your oyster, right? I have a little confession to make – I graduated with a French and Spanish degree and here I am, working in recruitment, helping people just like me find their way.
Still not sure what you want to do? We’d love to help. Say firstname.lastname@example.org.