Careers With a French Major

by Alain-Philippe Durand (
Dean, College of Humanities, and Professor of French, University of Arizona

French Majors and Minors Occupy or Have Occupied the Following Positions:


  • Line Producer/Project Manager
  • Office Assistant at Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development
  • Manager of Business Development
  • Assistant Operations Manager in Germany
  • CEO of 1-800 Dentist
  • Wine and Champagne Sales Representative
  • Audit Analyst
  • Senior Licensing Coordinator at The Joester Loria Group
  • Financial Analyst in corporate and investment bank
  • Financial Consultant
  • Vice-President, Relationship Manager at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Mutual Fund Annuity Group
  • Broker
  • Product Marketing Specialist at Swarovski
  • Marketing Coordinator
  • Marketing Program Manager at ESS Group, Inc. / at Watermark Retirement Communities
  • Client Marketing Manager at
  • Marketing Communications Specialist
  • Chargée de Mission
  • Quality Assurance Analyst
  • Account Supervisor
  • Corporate Auditor
  • Buyer
  • Business Development Ambassador in Asset Management Services at Vanguard
  • Assistant Baker Manager
  • Sales Representative at Alexia Moore Wine Marketing
  • Human Resource Assistant
  • Account Executive at / Account Executive at Yelp! Inc.
  • Commercial Sales Manager at Advance Auto Parts
  • Strategy Lead, Mergers and Acquisitions at Raytheon Missile Systems
  • Management Assistant at Enterprise Rent-A-Car
  • Business Analyst at Travelers
  • Senior Digital Marketing Strategist at Digitaria, a JWT Company
  • CEO at Terrra Dotta, LLC
  • Sales Operations Manager at Concept One Accessories
  • Assistant Vice President - Prime Brokerage Middle Office at BNP Paribas
  • Tax Accountant at Hood & Strong, LLP
  • Commercial and Balance Sheet Leader at GE Aviation
  • Manager of Business Development at Sesame Workshop
  • Supply Chain ESG Program Manager at Intel Corporation
  • Director & Owner of Cross-Cultural Services LLC
  • West Region Finance Manager for AECom on the Central Subway Project in San Francisco, CA 
  • Senior Product Marketing Specialist at Swarovski


  • Employed by Charles River Apparel
  • Associate Merchant at Talbots
  • Employed by Preserve, a textiles company
  • Merchant Assistant at Bloomingdale’s
  • Retail Manager
  • Assistant Technical Designer at Jade Marketing Group
  • Sales Associate at Nordstrom
  • Sales Assistant at The Jones Group Inc.
  • Concession Operations Manager at Christian Louboutin
  • Office Manager & Customer Service Specialist at Preserve
  • Associate Marketing Manager at The First Years/TOMY International
  • Online Fashion Editor for BCBG Max Azria
  • Assistant Buyer at Macy's Herald Square
  • Licensing Coordinator at Converse


  • Customer Service Coordinator at FEDEX
  • Wine Consultant and Social Media Specialist at the Wine Library
  • Analyst at consulting firm in Virginia
  • Conference Manager
  • Creative Writer on site company
  • Administrative Associate
  • Project Manager
  • Employed by Security Software Company
  • International Resources Committee
  • Career Specialist
  • Media and Telecom Specialist
  • International Customer Service Representative, Trek Bicycle
  • Consultant at OECD
  • Applications Specialist at MEDITECH
  • Sales Consultant at Travelex
  • Senior Consultant - International Benefits at Lockton Companies
  • Associate Editor for The Jane Dough at Abrams Media
  • Junior Consultant in Change Management at Burson-Marsteller
  • Senior Media Strategist at Goldin Solutions
  • Translator at Edery Film Inc.
  • Communications Specialist at Schneider Electric - Volt Workforce Solutions
  • French to English Translator at American Translation Partners
  • Communications and Government Relations Associate, Higher Education at Association of American Publishers
  • Sales Enablement Manager, Workstation Products at NVIDIA
  • Graphics Editor--Report on Business at The Globe and Mail
  • Philanthropy-Communications Assistant at Plan International USA
  • Technology & Design Advisor at FourZeroOne Business Advisors
  • Client Services Manager at GreenRope 
  • Event Coordinator and Assistant at Gilded Events LLC 
  • Writing Coach; and Fiction Editor at Kore Press
  • Co-Chair of the Board of Directors at Kore Press
  • Interpreter at CyraCom
  • Consultant at the World Bank
  • Writer, Communications/VIP Liaison, Bodywork


  • CEO of Northeast Sensors Inc.
  • Lab Researcher
  • Traffic Engineer
  • Supplier Quality Engineer
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer at General Dynamics C4 Systems
  • Computer Engineer
  • Associate Technical Support Engineer
  • Biochemical Engineer
  • Engineer at Bentley Systems Inc.
  • CEO of FarSounder
  • Oceanographic Engineer
  • Development Planner at ExxonMobil
  • Sales Engineer at Wescor Associates Inc.
  • Operations Leadership Program Associate at United Technologies
  • Engineer II at Electric Boat
  • Process Automation Specialist at Siemens
  • Systems Engineer at Cisco Systems
  • Product Development Engineer at Toray Plastics America
  • Transportation Engineer 2 at Connecticut Department of Transportation
  • Software Engineer at Cerner Corporation
  • Pipeline Engineer at Subsea 7
  • Associate Scientist at AstraZeneca


  • Professional Volley-Ball player and coach
  • Bellman and Boathouse Supervisor at Pompano Beach Club Bermuda
  • Assistant Acting Coach
  • PA for VH1’s “The Best Week Ever Show”
  • CEO of Providence Ghost Tours
  • Professional Artist and Photographer in New York City
  • Chief Steward at Nantucket Lightship WLV-612
  • West Coast Operations Manager at Bonjour USA
  • Owner, TerryTours Travel Insurance
  • Head Tennis Pro, New York Tennis Academy
  • Model 


  • Employed by MedImmune Biopharmaceutical Company
  • Physician Assistant
  • Registered Nurse
  • Administrative Assistant at Hospital
  • Oncology Pharmacy Resident
  • Lead ICU Pharmacist at Yale New Haven Hospital
  • Dental Assistant
  • Medical Assistant/Research Coordinator at South County Orthopedic Specialists
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist at Rhode Island Hospital
  • Associate Scientist at Medimmune


  • Attorney at Law
  • Assistant to the Cultural Attachée, Consulate of France, Boston
  • Visa Specialist, French Embassy in DC
  • Assistant Coordinator for Media Relations at Foundation for AIDS Research
  • Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa
  • Research Analyst at PA House of Representatives
  • Case Manager at Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida
  • Contract Specialist, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Law Clerk
  • Associate Director, Global Business and Economics at Atlantic Council of the United States
  • Commercial Counselor at the US Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Commercial Counselor at the US Embassy in Tripoli, Lybia
  • Deputy Principal Commercial Officer (DPCO) at the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, China
  • Commercial Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan
  • Senior International Trade Analyst at the Department of Commerce’s Office of Import Administration
  • Legal Assistant


  • Academic Advisor at NYU in Paris
  • Admission Officer for French, Prague, and India Programs at AIFS
  • High School Math Teacher
  • Middle School and High School Teacher of French
  • Elementary School Teacher
  • Assistant, Associate, and Full Professor of French
  • High School English Teacher in France
  • High School English Teacher in Spain
  • College English Teacher in Japan
  • Administrative Assistant at French private school
  • Undergraduate Advisor at Department of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Art and English Teacher at French American private school
  • Program Administrator
  • On Site Assistant Director to the University of Minnesota’s Learning Abroad Program in Montpellier, France
  • Program Coordinator/Manager at Embanet
  • Associate Director, Student Center & Campus Life at Quinnipiac University
  • Project Manager/Business Analyst - Tours Business Solutions at EF Education First
  • Admissions Officer at American Institute for Foreign Study
  • Dean of Students, Institute of American Universities (IAU)
  • Operations Coordinator for Camp America at AIFS
  • Pre-School Teacher at the International School of Macae
  • Yale School of Nursing Lecturer 

They all majored in French

French majors are indeed marketable for many different careers. The first thing I recommend is not to concentrate on trying to only find jobs where knowing, speaking French is required as part of the job. There are very few of these jobs. You will greatly increase your chances if you look for job postings in the following industries/areas:

  • Banking
  • Insurance companies
  • Human Resources
  • Publishing and Bookstores chains
  • Media
  • Wine and food industry
  • Restaurants Chains and others
  • Retailing
  • Consulting and Public Relations firms
  • Computer/software firms
  • Communications, Phone, and Cable companies
  • Any industry/companies that deal with customers and customer service
  • Non teaching positions in universities and colleges (various offices and departments on campus)
  • Non profit organizations

I would also consider applying for positions in French/Canadian/Francophone any company/organizations that have offices in the United States. Similarly consider American companies and organizations that have offices in Canada, France, and the rest of the francophone world.

Finally, here are the few industries that currently look for and hire people with the ability to speak, write, read, and translate French:

  • Government agencies such as the CIA, FBI, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and Foreign Service
  • Tourism industry
  • Airlines and Resorts

I recommend you start looking for ads on the web and schedule an appointment with Career Services on the UA campus. However, when you go meet with career services, ask them to help you identify the databases where all jobs are posted and have them help you with writing a competitive CV and letter of application. While you may ask them as well for any suggestions of jobs where French is needed, most likely they won’t have many, except for the usual: teaching, etc. So only use them to improve your CV and letters of applications and, most importantly, to show you how to access all jobs listings and databases for any fields.

All of the industries I mention above have positions where they will consider and even like French majors (or any other language) even if they never have to use that language for the job. They like the other very important skills that French and other foreign languages majors master: adaptability to function in and adapt to stressing and unfamiliar environments and situations; ability to evaluate, communicate, and understand people from any background and any personality; great writing, communication, and analytical skills; higher than average memorization skills; capacity to speak in public anywhere; capacity to handle heavy loads and difficult/abstract tasks; sense of initiative and creativity.

The following are introductory comments by Dean Mary Wildner-Bassett for Jacquelyn and Bennett Dorrance, the College of Humanities' "Alumni of the Year" for 2012.  

Jacquelynn and Bennett Dorrance have lived a life rooted in the humanities. They met while studying at Ecole Internationale in Geneva, Switzerland. They continued their education as French majors at the University of Arizona. They received Bachelor of Arts degrees from the College of Humanities in 1969.
“What can you do with a French major?” In this case, Bennett Dorrance co-founded DMB Associates, a real estate development firm in Phoenix. He currently serves on the Board at Campbell’s Soup … the The Nature Conservancy … and TGen – a medical research center.
Jacquelynn became an avid community volunteer and leader. She is a founding member of the Phoenix Women’s Board of the Steele Children’s Research Center. She is also on the board of the Phoenix Art Museum and is the campaign co-chair at Ballet Arizona.
Today, the College of Humanities would like to honor Bennett and Jacquelynn for sponsoring the Dorrance Scholarship Program. This program is different. The Dorrances seek out and support students who will become “first-in-family” college graduates. They also help young people who postponed their education to care for young children.
In the last 13 years, 484 students have received Dorrance Scholarships. 85% of them graduated or are on track to graduate soon. 80% of them studied abroad. 35% attended graduate school.  And, following in the Dorrances’ footsteps, Dorrance Scholars contribute more than 2,000 hours of volunteer time each year to their communities.
Dorrance Scholars can be found at Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, Maricopa Community Colleges and the University of Arizona. This year alone, the Dorrance Scholarship Program is supporting 130 students in our state. 33 of these students are enrolled here at U of A. 
“What can you do with a French major?” Bennett and Jacquelynn are making a difference in the lives of young people throughout our state. The University of Arizona Alumni Association and the College of Humanities would like to say “merci beaucoup!” And we are proud to honor Bennett and Jacquelynn Dorrance with our Alumni of the Year Award.