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Using your Language Skills

Whether you’ve studied a degree in a foreign language, lived abroad or have learnt an additional language through friends and family, you will have a valuable skill that many employers will value. Want to work as a Video Games Tester, PA, Marketing Manager or Financial Controller? Your language skills can help get into all of these careers but there are also a whole host of alternatives out there.

Flag ImageIt’s not just language skills that you will have gained; you will also have a good cultural understanding of different countries. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that 74% of employers recruit applicants with conversational ability rather than those who are word perfect. They believe this can “help break the ice, deepen cultural understanding, and open business access to new markets.”

With increasing competition to secure a job and many students leaving university with at least a 2.1 as well as valuable work experience, an additional language is a great way to make you stand out.  Clara, who is a recent graduate and now works in marketing, puts her success down to studying French:

“My language skills definitely made job hunting easier. Being able to speak French is a skill that I have over other graduates and being able to deal with international clients is a boost to my company.” (Source: Guardian)

Having studied a language at university myself I can say that it definitely helped me to sell the communication skills that I could offer a company.

Reading, speaking, listening and writing. These are the four key disciplines that you will learn when studying a foreign language. They are all communication skills and there won’t be an employer who will not be impressed by strong, coherent, clear, effusive, persuasive, eloquent, articulate communication skills.

So really, your language skills can take you just about anywhere, or at least open certain doors. Below are some of the main career options that you could consider:

(Source: Prospects)

You might also like to look at some of our resources on CareerHub on searching for jobs and working abroad. You can also keep an eye out on CareerHub for our upcoming events, including how you can use your language skills.

For some even more unusual skills that your language can help you with, visit the following Guardian articles:

Career options: What job can I do with a second language?

Language skills: way to get a job?

(Image Credit: Will Watt)

Image of Katharine Littlefair

Katharine Littlefair is a Careers and Placements Officer in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire

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