Linguistics Majors' Skills and Career Readiness

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Make the most of your major

  • Gain cultural competency by studying abroad and getting involved with the international community on campus.  
  • Research career paths of interest and seek to gain the skills and experiences necessary to work in that field.  
  • Conduct informational interviews with or shadow professionals to learn about various work environments. 
  • Join related professional associations such as the LSA as a student member.  
  • Gain relevant experience through jobs, volunteer positions, or internships. 
  • Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field and therefore good preparation for a wide variety of graduate programs in linguistics, cognitive sciences, English, law, journalism, foreign languages, etc. Learn about the graduate school admissions process and build a strong candidacy.  

Adapted from the University of Tennessee’s Center for Career Development What Can I Do With This Major?  

Career-Relevant Skills

Soft skills are non-technical skills that are essential in any workplace.

  • Strong written and verbal communication
  • Interpersonal skills in cross-cultural situations
  • Listening, clarifying, questioning and responding
  • Research, data management and analysis
  • Ability to formulate clear messages
  • Critical thinking and creative problem-solving
  • Ability to recognize trends and patterns
  • Ability to work well independently and in teams
  • Understanding local and global perspectives
  • Awareness of cultural diversity and social cues encoded in language
  • Excellent multitasking and problem-solving skills
  • Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Hard skills are those gained through education or training. They are objective, measurable, and specific to particular careers. 

  • Expertise in semantics, syntax, grammar and principles governing structure of language
  • Fluent in (language), Proficient in (language), Conversational (language) 
  • Office 365 Suite
  • Adobe Acrobat 
  • Recording and analyzing audio
    • Amadeus Pro
    • Audacity
    • Praat
  • Data mining and statistics
    • Python
    • R
    • SPSS

Learn more about skills important to linguists and employers:

  • SIL A topically-organized list of resources on the Internet that are useful for doing linguistics with computers. 
  • Indeed Linguist Skills To Develop for a Career in Linguistics
  • NACE Career Readiness Competencies 8 Core Skills for Career Success

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Email your resume to with the subject line "Resume Review." If you are applying for a specific position, be sure to include the job posting so they can help you tailor your resume. They will have someone look at your resume and send it back to you with feedback.

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