What Can I Do with a Major in Spanish?
Some Spanish majors will want to pursue the types of careers that are more typically associated with foreign language majors such as teacher/professor, translator, or interpreter. Although these are wonderful occupations, there are many other possibilities- Travel Writer, Intelligence Specialist, Foreign Correspondent, International Trade Specialist, Museum Curator, to name but a few- in the corporate, nonprofit, and government realms.
Do you want to know how to make the most of your Spanish major at the UW? This brochure (PDF) from the Career Center outlines many helpful tips.
Employers are usually more interested in your skills and strengths than in your particular college major. Because you will be qualified for many career paths, your biggest challenge might be narrowing down your options.
As a Spanish major at the University of Washington, you have developed many skills that employers view as essential. You use some of these skills so often that they have become second nature, so you might not even realize that you have them.
Here are some examples*:
Speaking to groups
Collaborating as part of a team
Reading/writing another language
Explaining complex concepts
Reading critically, and for content & structure
Interpreting, compiling & recording data
Working with original sources in many fields
Determining the needs of others
Understanding cultural diversity
*Additional examples can be found at the UNC Wilmington Career Center website.
Spanish is considered to be a "liberal arts" major. A Liberal Arts degree is extraordinarily valuable in today's world:
- Quintessential Careers: Ten Ways to Market Your Liberal Arts Degree
- The Role of Liberal Arts in Your Future
In addition, many recent studies, including a 2006 research study entitled How Should Colleges Prepare Students to Succeed in Today's Global Economy?, indicate that business executives, when evaluating the skills of potential hires, place the greatest emphasis on the following (which you have developed as a Spanish major!):
- teamwork skills
- critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills
- communication skills
Visit the Modern Language Association site http://www.mla.org to view the following brochures:
- "Knowing Other Languages Brings Opportunities" (pdf format)
- "Language Study in the Age of Globalization: The College-Level Experience" (pdf format)
The UW Career Center in Mary Gates Hall assists with all aspects of your career development:
- Discovering what career(s) you're interested in
- Refining your resume and interviewing skills
- Finding internships
- Identifying activities you can pursue while in college that will enhance your resume
- Learning salary negotiation skills
- Applying to graduate or professional schools
The UW Counseling Center in Schmitz Hall offers two career inventories:
- Strong Interest Inventory
- Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Visit the Washington Occupational Information Service for lots of information about various careers including:
- What people in various occupations actually do for a living
- Salary information
- Expected demand for certain occupations in the future
- Networking resources
- Self-exploration tools
The activities in which you choose to participate as a student can play an important role in setting you apart from other job applicants. There are many things you can do while still in college to enhance your resume:
- Get experience through internships and/or volunteer work. There are many ways to find internships, including through the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies and the UW Career Center.
- Get involved with a Student Organization. Student organizations are an excellent venue for developing and demonstrating skills that you'll want to include on your resume and job interviews such as leadership, planning and implementing, teamwork, and organizational skills.
- Engage in research. Assist a professor or initiate your own project! Check out the UW Undergrad Research Program for more information.
- Meet with a UW Career Counselor to work on your resume and design a plan to fill any "gaps".
Networking can help you explore career options and make connections that will likely help with your future job (and internship) searches. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- The Husky Career Network is a great place to start your networking. Sponsored by the UW Alumni Association, this network includes over 5000 UW alums who want to help you with your career path.
- The Seattle Networking Guide is a website that was designed specifically for the purpose of helping people who want to work in the Seattle metropolitan area to network.
- Join a professional association to meet other people in your field(s) of interest.
- Consider doing some Informational Interviews with people who are already working in occupations that you are considering.
- Attend the UW Career Center's workshop on "Making Connections".