Speaking another language, we are told, is a hugely attractive skill to any potential employer. This is true. However, as a languages student you may have found that your degree hasn't immediately led to a path paved with gold. Fed up of being asked if you are going to be a teacher or a translator, you may have begun to regret not taking a more 'vocational' and 'lucrative' course of study. Although its non-vocational status as a subject means that you do not have your career path mapped out, it is this uncertainty that gives you a blank canvas- language skills can lead to anything! Surely that's better than finishing an Accountancy degree only to realise you don't really want to be an Accountant?
So what can you do with languages? Although fairly accurate, 'ANYTHING' isn't a particularly helpful answer. So here are a few more productive ideas:
"Everyone tells me to be a language teacher, it's just not for me!" I hear you cry. True, explaining the virtues of the Spanish subjunctive to a room of apathetic teenagers isn't to everyone's taste. But how about thinking outside the box: Teaching to adults? Private Tutoring? Teaching via Skype?
2. Move Abroad
Ok, so it's not really a career suggestion but when it comes to languages very little competes with living in a country where it's spoken. Do you have a particular skill or experience in a certain field? Why not take it abroad? Even if you don't have a particular line of work in mind, doing a basic job in another language will be more beneficial than doing the same job at home. The possibilities to speak the language outside of work, to travel, and to meet new people mean that the benefits are endless. Furthermore, with English a leading language in many global industries you may find that as a native English-speaker you are more in demand abroad than at home!
3. Find English/American (etc) companies abroad
Many English-speaking companies have offices abroad and as such are crying out for bilingual staff. Working in the tourism industry can be particularly appealing: how about being a bilingual Administrator for an English ski company in the French Alps? There are certainly worse places to work in an office.
4. Find international companies at home
When businesses set up offices abroad they need people that speak their language but who also have an understanding of the local market...that's you. Perhaps research what companies are nearby and approach them with a bilingual CV?
5. Teach English as a Foreign Language
Although on the surface it doesn't use the language you have learnt, teaching English could be a great way to use your skills. Studying a foreign language gives a greater understanding of grammatical concepts which are vital when teaching English. Knowing your prepositions from your gerunds may be handier than you thought. It is also an opportunity to travel- English teachers are in demand in almost any country in the world.
So although you may not find the riches you were promised straight away, a language degree can in fact open more doors than most others. Not only does bilingualism instantly make you cool, it means that the world is truly your oyster.