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 Politics graduates on Prospects and Targetjobs but keep in mind that these are not a comprehensive list of all the careers related to your subject.
  • Search the Political Studies Association for more information and careers resources 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.

Broadcast / print journalist

Researches and presents information for different news media including television, radio, print and the web. While many journalists cover a wide variety of stories, it is possible to eventually specialise in politics and international relation.

The route in for most people is via a relevant qualification in journalism plus work experience, although direct entry traineeships can occur. Related roles in current affairs media include programme researcher and production assistant.

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

Charity fundraiser

Charity fundraisers are employed primarily to increase the contributions of individuals and groups to a charity by building relationships and exploring new fundraising opportunities from various sources.

The ability to network is paramount for this job, since success in the role depends heavily on being able to forge positive relationships with supporters. Fundraisers also work to raise awareness of the charity's work, aims and goals.

Use our Occupations section Charities and voluntary work for more information and links to useful websites.

Charity officer / campaigner

Related to general administration, charity officers work in the management of charities, campaign groups and other NGOs. The work can include marketing, volunteer co-ordination, and fundraising, as well as project management and support.

A background in volunteering is vital in order to secure paid employment, and is especially valuable if you have worked with groups related to your area of interest.

Use our Occupations section Charities and voluntary 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.

Diplomatic services and foreign affairs

Specialist roles exist in the implementation of national governments' foreign policy and diplomatic services.

The purpose is to protect and promote their national interests, with diplomatic staff working both in their home country and abroad. Jobs for new graduates may exist within the relevant departments of individual national governments, but this can vary country by country.

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

Intelligence / security work

Employed by national governments to identify, assess and counter threats to national security.

Other employers include the military, police forces and specialist security consultancies. Routes into work with national governments’ intelligence and security services will vary according to the country concerned, while security consultants will usually need to have existing experience in security issues.

Use our Occupations section Defence and public protection for more information and links to useful websites.

International aid / development worker

A career as an international aid/development worker focuses on meeting the needs of people and communities in the developing world by setting up long-term sustainable solutions to problems. Work in this sector is diverse and support is provided around many areas including healthcare, human rights, education, environment, economics, forced migration and infrastructure.

Types of work include research, consultancy, project management/delivery and administration. Many positions require specific expertise although opportunities do exist for graduates. Volunteering abroad to build experience and contacts is usually necessary while relevant postgraduate study can also be helpful.

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

Manager / administrator

Management and delivery of an organisation's services, including management of staff and resources, development of policy or services, and project management. Graduate level roles exist in National and Local Government (eg the UK Civil Service and local councils), other public sector bodies (eg health and emergency services), private sector businesses and not-for-profit organisations (eg charities and campaign groups).

Entry is via trainee management schemes or individual jobs and internships.

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

Politician / politician's assistant

Campaigns for and represents particular political views or groups at local, national and international level. Politicians come from a variety of professional backgrounds but are usually active in a political party or a representative body (eg a trades union or a campaign group).

Politician’s assistants provide administrative support and help with research, publicity and campaigning, and may also be referred to as parliamentary/constituency assistants, personal assistants, or research assistants.

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

PR and communications

Working in this sector involves using advanced verbal communication skills to contact media professionals to communicate their organisation’s news, represent their organisation at public forums or when their organisation needs to give a statement or comment. It may also involve writing press releases, writing in-house magazines and newsletters.

A PR officer or communication officer may be employed 'in-house' by the organisation you are representing or you may be employed by a PR agency/consultancy who then work on behalf of the organisations.

Entry can be via graduate schemes, internships or following related experience in the media or marketing.

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

Public affairs consultant

Provides information and advice on public policy and political issues. They research social, economic and political issues and monitor developments using personal contacts and the media. Clients may be businesses, not-for-profit organisations, trade bodies, and national governments.

It is possible to enter the work via graduate schemes or internships.

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

Risk analyst / political risk analyst

Gathers information on the political, social and economic conditions in different countries or regions, to advise on issues which may affect business or investments in that location. Provides the findings to clients and may advise on solutions for overcoming any risks.

Risk analysts work for international organisations, financial services companies, commercial businesses, or specialist research and business consultancies. Political risk consultancy often requires a Master’s qualification and initial entry is often via an internship.

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

Social / political researcher

Designs and conducts social, economic or political research projects, preparing and disseminating reports, and making recommendations to influence relevant policy or action. Employers include national and local governments, intergovernmental organisations, universities, research institutes, market research agencies, polling organisations, trades unions etc.

Entry-level posts for graduates exist, especially if your degree or master’s has a social research methods component.

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