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 History 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. Tom is a History and Politics graduate, now working for the Civil Service.


Involves development, management and implementation of procedures to ensure the smooth running of an organisation. Opportunities exist in the public sector (Civil Service, local government, universities and NHS) as well as the 'third sector' (charities, NGOs and other not-for-profit organisations) and private sector. Jobs for graduates include (trainee) management positions, as well as junior administration roles.

Similar roles exist in the European Union and international organisations such as the United Nations, although entry-level opportunities with the latter are relatively rare.

Use our Occupations section Business, administrator and public sector for more information and links to useful websites.


Archivists acquire, manage and maintain documents and other materials that have historical importance, and make the information contained in them available to a range of users. They are employed by national/local government organisations, universities, libraries, museums and other public and private sector bodies. Entry is usually via a postgraduate qualification after a period of related work experience.

Use our Occupations section Culture and heritage work 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.

Heritage manager and museum / gallery officer

Heritage manager posts involve conserving, developing, and promoting an historic building or site. Museum/gallery officer posts involve acquiring, caring for, developing, displaying, and interpreting a collection of historical artefacts or works of art with the aim of informing, educating and inspiring the public.

Entry is usually via a mixture of voluntary work, work experience, temporary positions and increasingly a postgraduate qualification (many of which include work placements) in a related subject is very useful.

Use our Occupations section Culture and heritage work 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.

Librarian / information officer

Procure, manage, organise, evaluate and disseminate information, and provide support regarding information retrieval to the organisations’ users.

Librarians/information officers can work in universities, public libraries, schools, commercial companies, professional practices and a range of other organisations. Entry is usually via a postgraduate qualification after a period of related work experience.

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

Marketing and public relations (PR)

Marketing includes research, liaising with clients, planning, advertising, public relations, event organisation, and product development. Entry is usually through internships, a graduate scheme, or direct entry post at a junior level. PR involves the communication of key messages about clients (organisations, companies and individuals) to the public and media to maintain a positive image of their client. This includes providing clients with advice, and using a range of media eg press releases, statements, newsletters, the internet, and other corporate communications.

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

Solicitor or barrister

Solicitors provide expert legal support and advice to clients including members of the public, public sector organisations or private companies. Barristers provide advocacy for individuals or organisations in court. Many law firms actively seek non-law graduates such as those with a History or Philosophy degree not least because of their ability to analyse and interpret large volumes of text and form coherent arguments. Graduates need to do a one-year ‘law conversion’ course in order to commence vocational training in either profession.

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

Teacher / lecturer

Teachers engage students in learning by designing interesting learning activities, monitoring progress and preparing students for examinations. Patience, subject knowledge, organisation and communication skills are essential. You need to complete a postgraduate programme resulting in Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) to teach in primary school (ages 4-11) and secondary school (ages 11-18) - both require experience of working with young people in a learning environment.

Lecturing in HE normally requires a PhD plus postdoctoral research experience.

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