One of the most common questions asked of a careers adviser by students is ‘what can I do with my xxxxxxxxxxxx degree?’, and as with most questions to do with careers, there is rarely a simple black and white answer, just way-more-than ’50 shades of grey’.
So when asked ‘what can I do with my linguistics degree?‘ – the answer ‘oh, you could be an events administrator’ is not necessarily the first answer you’ll get, though it is covered by the broad response/answer……
‘how do you want to use your degree, what interests you, what skills/strengths can you use in the workplace, and what’s going to motivate you in your work?‘
Now strictly speaking this isn’t an answer, but a series of questions for you to reflect on. It’s this reflection which will start you on the journey to finding meaningful work for you. If all this sounds a bit daunting, and you’d like more help figuring our what all this means to you, never fear! – we have plenty of resources to support you with this.
And if the idea of Events management for Linguistics – and any other interested – grads has piqued your interest, read more on Linguistics-grad-Elsbeth’s route into Events Administration with Integrity International Events via networking.
Elspeth Helfer, Events Assistant, Integrity International Events, (BA French & Linguistics, 2011)
My current job
I currently work as an Events Assistant for Integrity International Events, a conference business based in Edinburgh Southside. My role is mainly administrative and very varied. It includes member/delegate support, registration services, processing fellowship applications, web-content editing, abstract management, meeting planning and support. I also work on-site for events two or three times a year.
My career history to date (Feb 2014)
My “career history” as a graduate is pretty short as yet: I graduated in 2011 and then worked for the British Council for just under a year as an English language assistant in France. I started working for Integrity a few weeks after my return from France, in June 2012.
Using skills and/or knowledge developed during my degree in my career
I picked up a whole load of skills during my degree which I use every day, in particular research and data processing skills. Having learned a second language is also useful, I use French fairly regularly in my job and it really opens up my options for the future too.
My career decisions to date
I finished my degree with only vague ideas of what I wanted to do next, I signed up to a load of graduate job mailing lists and took up the British Council assistantship with a view to having some time to think over my options. One unsuccessful PGDE application and 6 months later I still didn’t have much of a clue so I contacted a family friend to ask for some advice and ended up being interviewed for the job that I’m in now.
My advice to students wanting to get into this area of work
It’s good to have some related experience as you need to be able to show that you can keep your head in a stressful situation. Work experience is useful for this, even if it’s just a few weeks shadowing someone, particularly if you’ve never worked in an office environment before.
It’s also important to remember that you’re a rookie when you start, this is sometimes tough to get used to – willingness to learn goes a long way.
My advice to students making career decisions today
I would highly recommend speaking to experienced people who are in the kind of job or field that you’d like to aim for. Many people are willing to chat over a coffee or take a phone call if you ask politely, and particularly if you can be introduced by a mutual friend.
“Networking” is really important – you need to be willing to go out and meet people, have conversations and follow them up.