Use your subject

Sociological Studies

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 Sociological Studies 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.

Care manager

The position of care manager is a front-line leadership role within a residential care setting. You'll be responsible for all aspects of the day-to-day operations, including recruiting and managing staff teams, managing budgets and ensuring that the quality of the services provided meets national care standards.

Care homes are becoming more specialised services, especially for people living with dementia or those at the end of life, and you'll be responsible for homes that provide all year, round-the-clock care.

Use our Occupations section Community, guidance and social care 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.

Community development worker

Brings people together often from 'disadvantaged' or marginalised groups in society. As a community development worker you will help communities to bring about social change and improve the quality of life in their local area. You have goals to help to empower individuals, families and whole communities to increase positive health or educational outcomes. You will show a genuine passion for assisting others and understanding causes and ways to tackle structural inequalities. You may be employed by charities or local authorities.

Relevant work experience eg through volunteering or a related area of work is essential in order to secure a career in this field.

Use our Occupations section Community, guidance and social care for more information and links to useful websites.

Community education officer

This role involves working with diverse communities, often in deprived areas, to engage individuals in training, skills development and education opportunities.

You may work with children, young people or adults, and this will vary depending upon the target client group of your organisation. Resilience, creativity, flexibility, and excellent interpersonal and communication skills are essential.

Although open to graduates from any subject, a degree in education is advantageous. Experience of working with communities, either paid or voluntary, is required.

Use our Occupations section Community, guidance and social care 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.

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.

Police officer / detective

Policemen and women work in partnership with the communities they serve to maintain law and order, assist and protect members of the public and their property, prevent crime, reduce the fear of crime and improve the quality of life for all citizens. You'll use a range of technology to protect individuals, identify the perpetrators of crime and ensure successful prosecutions against those who break the law.

Use our Occupations section Defence 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.

Probation officer

Probation officers manage offenders in order to protect the public and reduce the incidence of re-offending. They work with offenders in courts, in communities and in custody to make communities safer. Probation officers interact with offenders, victims, police and prison service colleagues; collaborating with relevant statutory and voluntary agencies.

You may manage enforce the conditions of community orders/alternatives to prison sentences. You will motivate offenders to engage in components such as unpaid community payback work or run alcohol and drug rehabilitation programmes.

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

Social researcher

Social researchers plan, design, conduct, manage and report on social research projects. You will use a variety of methods to collect, analyse and organise information and data, which you then present to others, either in a written report or as an oral presentation.

A range of methods, such as interviews, survey questionnaires and focus groups, are used to investigate the attitudes, behaviour and experiences of population samples on specific issues. Research findings may be used to shape policy or to examine the effectiveness of existing policy.

Employers include national and local governments, intergovernmental organisations, universities, research institutes, market research agencies, polling organisations, trades unions etc.

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

Social worker

Social workers work with vulnerable people and families to support them through difficult times and help ensure they are safeguarded from harm. This role involves providing emotional and practical support, guidance and advocacy to improve people's life outcomes.

Based in a range of settings; service users own homes, schools, hospitals or other public sector or, increasingly third sector organisations, they comply with a framework of relevant legislation and procedures. They tend to specialise in either working with children & families or adults/older people.

They maintain professional relationships with people, acting as guides and advocates. They sometimes need to use their professional judgement to make tough decisions that might not always be well received by those they are trying to help.

Use our Occupations section Community, guidance and social care for more information and links to useful websites.

Volunteer coordinator

Working as a volunteer coordinator, you'll manage all elements of volunteering either within your own organisation or on behalf of the organisation for which you are recruiting volunteers. The role involves assessing and meeting an organisation's needs through the recruitment, placement and retention of volunteers.

You'll manage volunteers and their relationships with those they come into contact with, including employees and service users of an organisation. You'll also monitor, evaluate and accredit volunteers.
Volunteer coordinators work across the public and private sectors but are concentrated in the third (voluntary, charitable and community) sector.

The role of a volunteer coordinator has gained increased recognition as a profession within its own right, although in smaller charities it is sometimes combined with another role.

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

Youth worker

Youth workers guide and support young people in their personal, social and educational development to help them reach their full potential in society. You'll generally work with young people aged between 11 and 25 in a variety of settings such as colleges, faith-based groups, schools and youth centres.

Use our Occupations section Community, guidance and social care for more information and links to useful websites.