Jack Porteous, Nov 18th 2014, 13:50 Verified Guru
Hi Ethan - good question.
I work for UK Trade & Investment - the government's export agency, and one of our recent schemes is called 'Postgraduates for International Business'. This programme is aimed at businesses throughout the country looking to recruit current postgraduate students and recent graduates with language and cultural knowledge for one off projects or part time roles which can complement their export strategy in some way. These roles are advertised through universities - so keep your eyes on the jobs boards. While these might not be 'graduate jobs' per se, they do prove that there is a need amongst the business community for language skills and intercultural awareness so don't lose faith!
On a personal level, as a graduate of languages myself, I can say that in my experience the larger 'graduate employers' do not specifically look for language skills, but do like language graduates. Make sure that when you do apply for these competitive schemes you can elucidate all the soft skills that a year living abroad helped you to acquire - cultural sensitivity, communication, resilience, maturity - to name but a few.
Hope that helps
Eduardo Lees, Nov 18th 2014, 16:15 Verified Guru
Hi Ethan, I remember having the same issue when looking for jobs post graduation so appreciate your frustration. I agree with Jack and Jack above that languages are appreciated in non language specific roles and especially as examples of communicating successfully. Make sure you make a big deal of them in your application and on your CV.
For me personally the experience of going on Erasmus and the ability to speak languages was very useful in applying for a role to support mobility of students at the British Council. If this is an area you are interested in then keeping an eye on jobs in university international or careers offices could be an option. A good website to look at is http://www.jobs.ac.uk/. You could also sign up for job alerts on the British Council and Ecorys websites as both organsiations support student mobility.
Another website which friends have used in the past is http://www.eurobrussels.com/ which gives information on jobs related to the EU. Do also look at organisations that deal with the countries that speak your languages. Although not specifically asking for languages for their jobs they might see them as a bonus which could give you the edge.
Jack Sellen also makes a very good point about keeping up your languages post university. Don't forget that there is always the option of another year abroad to continue to develop your langauge skills. Applications are currently open for Language Assistantship posts overseas: http://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-create/opportunity/work-volunteer/english-language-assistants
There are also a host of other international opportunities available through the British Council: http://www.britishcouncil.org/study-work-create
Good luck with the job search!
Jack Sellen (CIOL), Nov 18th 2014, 14:39 Verified Guru
I'd like to echo Jack Porteous' sentiments about not limiting yourself to "languages-only" roles! Many graduates of other disciplines go into successful roles not particularly tied to their degrees (anecdotally, mechanical engineers in banking; political science graduate in a large charity).
Most language graduates can quite rightly claim to have the skills Jack lists above, among others. Don't forget to put a focus on how good your English skills are too as a consequence of your degree. You're a good communicator, know how to understand people and know how to learn. Businesses need this.
If you find you've landed a role but you're not using your languages, do keep them up outside of work, as you never know what other roles may become available to you inside or outside your company. Counterintuitively, I only use English day-to-day at the Chartered Institute of Linguists but translate part-time in evenings/weekends!