Use your subject


Think about what 'using your subject' means to you and what you're really looking for. Do you want to apply your subject-specific knowledge or skills to the real world? Or maybe you want to continue to practice and develop these skills? Maybe it's a broader interest in your subject that you want to keep alive by working in a relevant type of organisation?

As a start, use the resources below to create your own list of career ideas to research.

Remember that the vast majority of graduate jobs are open to graduates of any subject.

  • Look at what alumni from your department have done using the DLHE data we collect and through the University of Sheffield alumni page on LinkedIn.
  • Search for and contact alumni in your subject through our Graduate case studies database.
  • Browse the career ideas for English graduates on Prospects and Targetjobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Brainstorm ideas and do some initial investigation to find out about research, organisations, start-ups, government bodies and freelancers connected to your subject.

Some career options

Our information resources - Occupations section is a good place to start to explore the following occupational areas. However you are not restricted to these and you should also consider any other additional factors which are important to you for your future career using our Understand yourself and your options section.

Here is just one example of the diverse range of careers you can enter. Linnea is a graduate, now working for the Showroom Cinema.

Advertising account executive

Acting as a link between clients and the agency, they will work within an advertising or multi-service agency, managing campaigns and ensuring these run successfully and within budget. Will initially ascertain the client’s requirements and communicate this to colleagues to enlist their assistance eg with the creative work. Involved in negotiation with clients over the campaign strategy and evaluating its effectiveness.

Can be involved in working on multiple accounts at the same time and ‘pitching’ for new business.

Use our Occupations section Advertising for more information and links to useful websites.

Arts administrator

Manage activities events eg arts festivals or projects for community arts organisations, local authorities, arts councils. This will involve event planning, booking venues, performers, support staff and arranging catering, handling the finances and insurance. In addition the role includes marketing the event, liaising with the media, ticket sales and possibly arranging tours in the UK or abroad.

Other tasks to be undertaken include ensuring compliance with health and safety regulations and venue accessibility.

Use our Occupations section Culture and heritage work for more information and links to useful websites.


Involved in the retail of books and associated products through developing an in-depth knowledge of current books, reader preferences and the shop’s stock. Responsible for ordering and displaying stock; undertaking stock checks; liaising with publishing companies; serving and advising customers.

May also assist with organising book events, talks, signing sessions, reading groups and liaising with librarians and teachers. Additional duties include unpacking and replenishing stock and tidying the displays.

Use our Occupations section Purchasing, supply and retail for more information and links to useful websites.

Brand language consultant

There are three key aspects to their work - writing speeches, reports, publicity materials for clients; advising companies in a consultancy capacity; training staff in companies to communicate more effectively and to ‘build brand’ through their use of language.

The aim is to achieve consistency in an organisation’s writing style and so that they comes across to customers/clients as genuine. This helps an organisation to 'build their brand', to their employees happier and to build customer loyalty.

Use our Occupations section Public relations for more information and links to useful websites.

Civil servant

The Civil Service Fast Stream is an accelerated leadership development programme providing graduates with the experience, skills and knowledge to become senior leaders within the Civil Service. It recruits graduates into a variety of administrative and policy roles via the Fast Stream or the general entry routes.

Through a variety of different placements or postings in government departments and agencies you’ll get experience of working in front-line operational delivery, policy and corporate roles and depending on the role potentially working with general public or senior government advisers or government ministers. If you want to influence decisions or make a difference on government policy and public service at a national level, enjoy analytical work, presenting persuasive evidence-based reports, scrutinising the implications of public sector policy and are eager to take on responsibility then you might enjoy the Civil Service Fast Stream.

If you are a language graduate you may be particularly attracted to roles/departments such as the Diplomatic Services Operational Officer in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Trade, the Department for International Development and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which has a lot of links to Europe.

Departments of specific interest to scientists include Government Statistical Service, Government Operational Research Service, Science and Engineering Scheme and the Project Delivery Scheme, but there are many more.

Use our Occupations section Public sector administration for more information and links to useful websites.

Human resources (HR)

Roles in HR suit individuals who can develop relationships and communicate well with many different types of people. HR roles exist in many different types and sizes of organisations. Human Resources officers or advisers may be involved in developing,advising on and implementing policies relating to the effective use of staff in an organisation. They may also be responsible for developing staff and coordinate staff training and development. A HR adviser could be involved in disciplinary matters and negotiations with trade unions concerning pay, redundancy and staff performance issues.

Many graduates working in HR will work towards a professional qualification awarded by the CIPD.

Recruitment consultants are responsible for attracting candidates and matching them to permanent or temporary jobs with client companies. Previous work experience in customer service roles, sales, or marketing is useful for starting a career in the recruitment industry.

Use our Occupations section Human resources for more information and links to useful websites.

Literary agent

Involved in discovering new talent and managing a list of existing authors. The reading of new scripts will often be done out of office hours. Other responsibilities include meeting new authors, providing editorial feedback, submitting their work to an appropriate publisher, drawing up contracts, processing payments etc. For established authors this might even include handling the sale of translation, film and TV rights.

Routes in for new graduates is often through roles such as translation rights, contracts department, PR, marketing.

Use our Occupations section Writing, publishing and printing for more information and links to useful websites.

Marketing executive

Involved in planning and running campaigns to promote a specific event, product or service, handling the advertising, public relations and organisation, to communicate with the target audience. Liaises with product development teams, designers and printers, customers and the media to develops appropriate products and then create marketing campaigns to get the product to market.

You might be maintaining customer databases, organising photo shoots, involved in writing or creating and proof reading marketing materials, websites and managing social media profile, often in a fast-paced environment. You'll also evaluates the outcome of campaigns and assesses the success of competitors. Marketing roles can involve analysing data, evaluating market and commercial factors and finding creative innovative approaches.

Use our Occupations section Marketing for more information and links to useful websites.

Newspaper journalist

Researches and writes content for local, regional and national press on current events, politics, sports, arts and culture etc. Increasingly becoming a multi-platform operation requiring strong technical skills and effective communication. Uses a range of information sources and web analytics, to monitors new trends and reader interest.

May conduct interviews, investigate stories, attend press conferences, meetings, sporting events to obtain up to date content, although the role is increasingly desk based. Can be involved in on-line blogging for 'breaking news' stories.

Use our Occupations section Broadcast and journalism for more information and links to useful websites.

Publishing / editorial assistant

In this role you will offer support at all stages of the publication process eg administration, planning and commissioning, for magazines, journals, books and online content. Digital publishing will involve writing and editing web content, the use of social media and content management systems and familiarity with specialist software programmes such as QuarkXPress or InDesign.

Will be required to liaise with other professionals such as designers, photographers, printers and production staff, to agree timescales to negotiate and monitor timescales for the work to be completed.

Use our Occupations section Digital media and publishing for more information and links to useful websites.

Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL)

Involves teaching English to people of all ages who are not native speakers. This can take place in the UK ie to refugees or immigrants, or abroad. Classes may be conducted in schools, colleges or universities, often through interactive exercises eg language games and role-playing in English, even for complete beginners. The aim is to improve communication through listening.

Speaking, reading and writing. Work involves lesson planning, developing teaching resources, involvement in social activities, marking work and giving feedback.

Use our Occupations section Teaching English as a foreign language for more information and links to useful websites.

Theatre manager

Responsible for all aspects of theatre operations including handling budgets, recruiting, training and managing staff and customer care, as well as marketing productions. This includes planning a programme of events, to appeal to regular theatre goers, as well as liaising and negotiating with production companies and commissioning new pieces of work.

Adherence with health and safety legislation and licensing laws is of paramount importance. May be involved in bidding for funding from various sources eg Arts Council, charities, local businesses.

Use our Occupations section Creative and performing arts for more information and links to useful websites.