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Modern Languages

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Language skills are valuable in today’s world where a global mindset is highly prized. Learn more about the diverse career options that linguists enter from translation to marketing.

Practically any sector, company and role might require language skills if necessary for its operations:

  • a logistics and distribution company might require staff with linguistic abilities and cross-cultural skills to deal with international suppliers and monitor processes and efficiency
  • in industries such as biotechnology or engineering, languages might be useful if the job involves collaborating in joint projects with foreign companies.
  • market research or business development consultancies might have international clients or analyze global campaigns 

Bear in mind though that language skills will seldom suffice by themselves, they are usually required together with sector or role-related competencies. In other cases, they might be desirable rather than essential.

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Our information and advice remains current in the wake of UK referendum result on membership of the European Union. We will review it in the light of future developments.

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Book an appointment or attend a drop-in Check out our careers events Search for graduate vacancies or internshipsCareers blog - Using your 'hidden skills' as a language student

 

What skills will I gain during my degree?

Students with languages often underestimate the broad range of skills they acquire and develop during their studies. You will be able to:

  • read, speak, write and understand one or more foreign languages
  • lead and participate in discussion and presentations
  • show a high level of accuracy and attention to detail
  • demonstrate adaptability, flexibility and cultural awareness,
  • particularly through the time spent abroad
  • evidence strong oral and written communication skills

Being competent in at least one other language aside, these are skills that are extremely transferable to a very wide range of careers and sectors.

It is worth noting that around two thirds of jobs requiring a degree do not specify a particular degree subject.

In addition, many employers desire candidates with a global or international outlook so language graduates have a lot to offer.

 

What are my career options?

You need to decide whether you want a job where languages are central to the role. These include teaching, translation and interpreting. Even in such careers, having the language skill alone is not the only factor, as each of these requires a range of other skills and qualities.

Interpreter- job profile Translator - job profileTeaching

Another way to immerse yourself in a foreign language is obviously to live in the target country - check out our working abroad pages.

Many people start this process by teaching English abroad.

Teaching English as a foreign language

 

Stepping stones from my degree

It is true to say that many graduates of modern languages (and other subjects) take some time building their career through a series of roles to get to a specific career where they want to be or even to decide what job suits them. This could be due to a variety of reasons, for example:

  • the sector they want to enter requires an entry-level position (for example: heritage, media roles and publishing) or
  • they are saving up to fund a postgraduate course or travel and therefore their first destination is a stopgap

How can I develop my skills and gain experience during my degree?

Developing skills outside your degree course will enhance your CV and allow you to provide evidence of these in applications and at interviews. Some examples are listed below.

Work experience

Depending on what area of work or role you might be interested in, and where, there will be specific strategies, from speculative applications to formal processes you need to be familiar with.

Work experience - what, how and when

The School ofers a range of placements to CLAS students through an Nottingham Advantage Award module (see below) and within the curriculum.

Nottingham Internship Scheme

We work closely with a huge variety of local and national businesses to bring you an exciting range of internship opportunities, for both current students and recent graduates

Nottingham Internship Scheme

Nottingham Advantage Award

The Nottingham Advantage Award offers interesting extracurricular modules to develop your employability. With over more than 300 modules across our three campus in the UK, China and Malaysia.

Nottingham Advantage Award

Advice from Nottingham alumni

With our eMentoring programme, you can receive invaluable support via email from an alumnus while considering your career options. Choose a mentor in the career area that interests you and get a real insight into the sector.

eMentoring

Enhance your digital skills

Digital skills are essential in many career fields including advertising, publishing, marketing and general commerce. They range from social media to coding and will definitely enhance your employability.

More about digital industries

Students' Union

The Students’ Union offers a wide range of volunteering options both locally and internationally which you can fit around your studies.

Alternatively you could get involved in a society or sports club - there's so many, you're bound to find one that interests you!

Students' Union

Students in Classrooms

There are three initiatives which will give you the opportunity to work in a local educational setting.  These initiatives support the academic attainment and raise the aspirations of primary and secondary pupils, whilst developing the skills and employability of those involved. 

These are excellent opportunities for students considering teaching, youth work or community engagement as a career.

Students in Classrooms

Exchanges programmes overseas

Undertake an exchange semester in another country and broaden your horizons. Talk to your tutors and find out more about the programmes available from the International Office.

Exchange programmes

Psychometric tests

Many graduate recruiters use psychometric tests during the recruitment and selection process.They are common across all sectors and career fields. Practise will really help your performance.

Use our example tests

 

Language recruitment agencies

These agencies specialise in a range of sectors/roles such as: personal assistants, sales, finance, transport and customer service

 

Languages specific resources

 

 

Careers and Employability Service

University of Nottingham
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telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 3680
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3679
email: careers-team@nottingham.ac.uk