Careers for graduate of languages

February 23, 2016, by Laura Estrop

Languages: Careers Beyond The Obvious

By Priyanka Kale and Anna Kaluza, fourth year German studies students

Last term’s event saw language graduates and employers gather to show current language students the variety of career routes available to them. What were some career alternatives to translation and interpreting?

We were told at the start of the event that from an employer’s perspective, graduates of languages are a useful asset to their teams. This is mainly because of the confidence and interpersonal skills we acquire while learning and being exposed to a new language.

From working for free to senior editor

Opening the event was Brogan Driscoll, Senior Lifestyle Editor of The Huffington Post UK. Her story was very inspiring. She told us how she initially wrote for free for websites to gain experience. Eventually she landed an internship with the Huffington Post and worked her way up to editor. She emphasised the importance of building up a portfolio of blogging work, so that when it comes to the interview, you can show off all your experience.

A transferable skill set

Eli Wormdahl, from Experian, talked about how confidence helps when talking to clients. She said that speaking their language can often help to break the ice. Not being a language graduate herself, she also found out that using her mother tongue – Norwegian – proves to be very useful in self-development.

Travelling the world

Language skills are also desirable for careers within the travel industry. Language graduates from a local company, Halsbury Travel, talked about how being adaptable and fluent in a language can open the door to an array of options within the industry.

Charlotte Bagley, who studied French and Spanish at Nottingham, has used her language skills to work all over the world. After graduating, she worked for a year at PWC in Santiago, Chile, and she currently works on EU Policy at the Treasury, regularly travelling to Brussels and elsewhere. Charlotte said that the Treasury runs a comprehensive grad scheme, find out more here.

Other inspiring speakers included Lizzie Fane, an Italian studies graduate, who started up, a website providing students with everything they need to know for their year abroad. Lizzie launched the website during her year abroad, because she felt there was a lack of information out there for students.

Investigating unusual options

Marco Lo Faro, another graduate of languages, told us that he now works for Amazon. Although this was a surprising career destination, he emphasised that language graduates with Spanish, French and German are required for the role of ‘Investigation Specialist’ at Amazon. This role focuses on fraud investigation, and because Amazon is a global brand, with clients worldwide. Marco regularly uses his language skills during investigations.

Overall, the main thing we learned is how diverse the career options for language graduates are. Languages are highly valued by employers, and career options aren’t limited to translation and interpreting. When we went to the talk, we didn’t know much about other avenues apart from the obvious. It helped us to see other options available and gave us a sense of excitement about our future careers!

Do you study languages? Is your career path unclear? Book an appointment with one of our career advisers to discuss your future. 

You could also join us for Spotlight On… Interpreting and Translating (My Career Event ID: 5409) for another great line-up of speakers on February 24 2016.

Image Credit: Gerd Altmann

Posted in Choosing Your Career