What's the best way to look for careers that require a language?

I have just graduated and am on the lookout for jobs that would allow me to use my language skills (I studied Spanish and Arabic). I don't want to be a translator! What are my other options? I would be open to working abroad.

This question was asked on 11th August 2014 and has been read 3044 times.

  • King's College London Study Abroad Office · 8 years ago


    Third Year Abroad have a great careers platform so not sure there's a better place to start.

    Additionally, even if you've graduated, most university Careers Offices should still be prepared to offer advance and guidance in this area, though they may be limited because of your graduate status. Check your institution's Careers website to see what they say there.

    In general, my advice would be to think both about the specific skills your language learning has given you, but also those aspects which are less direct, such as your (presumed!) ability to adjust to new things, your ability to approach tasks from multiple perspectives and to challenge thinking. Language students are also often strong when it comes to interpersonal relationships, ambiguity tolerance and adaptability so think about these concepts in relation to jobs and sectors.

    And with your two languages in particular, surely you need to be thinking about Andalusia where you can expect to encounter Spanish and Arabic!

    Good luck,


  • Paul Kaye · 8 years ago

    Have you considered jobs and careers within the institutions of the European Union? Most of these jobs are located in Brussels or Luxembourg.

    Assuming English is your native tongue, in addition to your knowledge of Spanish and Arabic, you would need a "satisfactory knowledge" of French or German - did you study either of these at school?

    The central recruitment service for EU careers is called EPSO:

    See here for some job profiles.

    You could also apply for short-term, paid traineeships, to see whether a longer-term career would be for you.

    Paul (language officer at European Commission's London office)

  • Romy Higgins · 7 years ago

    I don't know if this would interest you, or if they're hiring, but intelligence services are very keen on getting Arabic speakers, and will often train linguists in Arabic to meet the shortage.  You could try the Army, I know the Air Force recruits linguists, or GCHQ?

    If not, you could look into interpreting.  You would need to do a masters, but I'd imaging that Arabic would be very in demand, as well as Spanish.  

    I promise I'm not paid to advertise, but I think the language show live is a really useful event if you can go.  It's in London on the 16th-18th October 2015, and it gives you an opportunity to meet recruiters you might not have heard of, and attend interesting seminars.

    I'm in the same boat as you, and I'm trying not to get too disheartened at not finding anything that grabs me, so good luck in your search!

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