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Careers Centre

Modern Languages - using your degree

Introduction

Popular career areas for Modern Languages students:

A degree from Scotland's first university is an excellent start to any future career. St Andrews has a reputation for excellence and the ability to attract the brightest students worldwide. With this as a starting point you are well on the way to impressing future employers.

Studying a language clearly makes you a good communicator, both orally and in writing. Spending a year abroad during your degree helps you develop cultural awareness, adapt to new and changing surroundings and to work both in a team and independently. These skills have value in a job market that is becoming increasingly global. An ability in languages is increasingly valued by employers across all sectors, including industry and business. They recognize that a modern languages degree shows wide cultural experience as well as other personal transferable skills needed in employment.

As modern language graduates pursue a range of careers, further study or training in subjects such as marketing, finance, business, IT and journalism are popular, and for some careers, such as interpreting and translating, law and teaching, postgraduate qualifications are essential.

Your choices go way beyond specialist occupations, like interpreting, translation and language teaching. There are many opportunities in hundreds of industries for people with language skills at all levels. Many make use of their language skills and cultural knowledge later in their career. This is particularly the case for graduates who enter industry, business, some areas of finance or journalism or take up jobs or other opportunities across Europe.

Review your degree skills

The profile below identifies the skills that can be developed through the study of your discipline based on subject benchmark statements developed by UK higher education academic communities. It may help you to identify the valuable skills that you can offer to potential employers.

Where do our Modern Languages graduates go?

Recent Modern Languages graduates
British Council - English Teacher Harper Collins Publishers plc - Assistant Editor MOVE Guides - Content Executive
Majestic Wine Warehouse - Graduate Trainee Network Rail - General Management Graduate The Sorbonne University Paris IV - English Tutor
Graduates who are established in their profession

Wazoku - HR and Operations Manager

ZipCard - CEO & Founder

VisitScotland - Assistant Area Manager

Reach Academy Feltham - Secondary English Teacher

British Council - English Language Assistant

Accenture - Senior Manager

Charlotte Coulthard

Charlotte graduated in 2013. She has worked as an Editorial Assistant at Aurum Publishing Group.

Read Charlotte's case study.

Richard Dixon

Richard graduated in 2002. He is a Senior Manager at Accenture.

Read Richard's case study.

Visit the Graduate Destinations page to see what graduates and postgraduates from your School are doing now.

Network with alumni

Many jobs and internships are not advertised. One of the best ways to find out about these ‘hidden opportunities’ is by networking. Networking can also help secure a job that is publicised or is part of a training scheme. Your contacts can open doors, set up meetings, help prepare you for interviews, and provide you with an inside look at a company or industry.

How to contact alumni

There are two main ways to contact alumni on-line:

  1. Saint Connect - brings together alumni and current students to facilitate networking, enable informal mentoring, provide industry discussion groups, and enable graduates and students to stay up to date with their student societies and sports teams.
  2. LinkedIn - most comprehensive resource to connect with alumni is the University of St Andrews LinkedIn – Alumni Tool. There are also many LinkedIn St Andrews Groups, mainly based on location, which you can join to network with fellow students and alumni, eg St Andrews North America Careers Link.

Postgraduate study/research

In 2014, 20.3% of Modern Languages graduates went on to do further study.
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic.

Summer internships/work experience

Campus Opportunities

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offered paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates. Altogether, 55% of St Andrews finalists had completed some element of work experience with a graduate employer whilst at university – much higher than the survey average. More than two-fifths had a part-time job during term-time and three-fifths had some form of casual vacation work. Source: High Fliers –The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2016.

Societies

Consider joining a number of language societies, including the Hispanic Society; At Home and Abroad Society (AHAsoc); The Italian Society; FrenchSoc; The German Society or any other that appeals to you.

Case studies

Key links and resources

Career related

Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations and Journals/Magazines

These can often be a good source of information on internships, jobs and postgraduate study.