You are not alone! Pursuing a career in a field that you did not study for is increasingly becoming a norm for college graduates. They tend to find out that the degree they acquired does not line up with what they want to do. Did you know that 73% of college graduates hold jobs different to their degree? Having to declare a major by your sophomore year is the main reason why this happens. At this stage, you are still too young to understand what career path you wish to follow fully. There is no need to panic; the future is always bright for you!
Here are a few guidelines on how to get a job in a field you didn’t study for.
Get an Internship
It’s good for you
Starting as an intern is an excellent first step. This is a sure confirmation that you need to shift gears. Reach out to companies that you hope to work for and try to intern for them. This can be a rough road in the beginning but worth the experience. It may be paid or unpaid, but you have to focus on your goals. Work for a minimum of 3 months to fully understand the elements of the new field. You can also shadow an employee of the company you wish to work for just to grasp all the relevant requirements. If an internship opportunity is hard to come by, you can look for suitable organizations to volunteer in.
It is not a surprise that you already know someone who works in this field. Networking is useful in any given scenario. Be it your school alumni or friends; either way, find someone. The advice you get from them can be invaluable to you. If you don’t have anyone to turn to, you can always request for an informational interview to learn more about the industry. You can also join professional associations in your preferred field and attend their events.
Focus on Your Transferable Skills
What are some of the transferable skills that you developed throughout your degree? Every employment role requires you to have them. These skills make you marketable to your future employers and might just be what will get you that new job. Regardless of the field that you studied, there are some skills that you picked along the way.
Popular graduate transferable skills may include:
- Time management – by meeting deadlines
- Teamwork – group presentations
- Written communication – essays
- Verbal communication – presentations
- Organization – projects, coursework, deadlines, etc.
Polish on these skills and highlight them to have an edge over your competition.
Gain New Industry Knowledge
Finally, you’ve identified the new career path that you wish to follow. The next step is to take some time to learn everything possible related to this field. This will demonstrate to your potential employers that you’re worth hiring. Come out as knowledgeable in the field where experience lacks. The internet is a great resource to help you achieve this. You can follow experts and read up on books and blogs to gain as much information as possible. Remember, this takes handwork, discipline and dedication.
Are You Qualified?
Right, this is the career path you wish to pursue, but are you qualified? It is recommended to take some time and audit your skills to see if they match up with the new job that you’re interested in. Some fields may require that you add on your specialized skills, e.g., law and nursing. In such instances, there would be no other option but for you to take more college courses. Luckily, with the emergence of MOOC’s, obtaining these certifications has become easy.
Get that interview
Go to all lengths possible to get an in-person interview. Once you’re in, make sure that you exude confidence and charm. Just because your degree is not relevant to the field that you wish to follow, that does not translate to you not being capable of learning new things. One crucial trait that can earn you that job is your personality. You will be surprised to learn that the right personality can get you your dream job regardless of your degree. Once you’re in that interview room, be sure to show them your true self.
Invest in a Side Project
You may be working fulltime already or failed to get an internship opportunity. Do you know what helps to keep your goals alive? A side project!
If you majored in a degree that’s not in line with your passion, then do a side project that defines you. Your degree may be in law, but fashion is your true calling; don’t be shy about starting a fashion blog. A degree in nursing but your passion is in interior design? Start decorating your home and friends’ offices and create a portfolio of this. You could be in tech but your passion is in literature; start by writing about the field that you’re in and gradually expand to other niches, for example, process analysis paper topics. This may not be official work, but sample work can impress an employer and land you that job. Remember, any experience is better than none!
Create an Impressive Resume
When applying for a job that does not match up to your degree, include skills that complement the position that you intend to apply for. Truthfully speaking, if you are a fresh graduate, then the employers are usually keen on your skills set. Make sure that the skills that you list in your resume go in hand with the requirements in the job description. Research on the job description required for your dream job. Use any phrases and keywords that stand out naturally on your resume. This will show that you are a decent match for the role.
Take a Gradual Approach
A famous quote says that from humble beginnings comes great things. When you’ve made that big switch to a different field, don’t be in a rush to be the new CEO in town. Start with lower positions and work your way upwards. Regardless of the post that you held in your previous employment, this is a new field and it’s highly likely that things don’t work the same way. This will as well speak volumes about your character, and you will come out as a passionate and cooperative employee. A good foundation on your new career path will enable you to grow to be great.
Optimize Your Current Resources
Did you know that you may be indeed at the wrong job, but you could be at the right company? This can happen if you’re working in great cooperation or organization with multiple departments. If the career path you wish to follow is in a different department from yours, try and work on its different projects. If you have time, join in on the departments meeting and have a feel of how things work. To fully dedicate your time to this, you can inform your department head on this and see if you can work out a schedule. You can also look for a mentor with experience in the department that you’re interested in, and they can help you follow the right path.
As much as this thought may be intimidating for you, take comfort in knowing it is a common occurrence. It’s not impossible to gain a job unrelated to your degree. By using the above useful tips, your transition to the next career path should be easy. The worst thing that you can do to yourself is stick to a job that you’re not passionate about. As they say, when you do what you love, then it’s not considered as work. Make that switch today!
Author Bio: Christina Battons is a creative writer and content strategist from LA. Currently, I write for various sites. My posts address the topics about self-education, writing, motivation, professional development. In my spare time, I prefer to read novels and crime thriller stories. Feel free to follow me on @battonschristi to ask questions or see my works.