Getting a job unrelated to your degree subject

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The current situation can seem incredibly daunting to many graduates whatever their degree discipline. But for those that have graduated in subjects where job demand is reduced, it can seem even more scary. The prospect of getting a job unrelated to your degree might seem confusing but it is very common and may be the main choice right now.

I’ve seen a lot of graduates posting on social media about whether it’s possible to get a job within x industry when they’ve got a degree in y. Or asking how they go about it. It is totally possible to get yourself into a different industry to the one you studied, apart from a few that will require you to go back to some form of study – it’s always worth a look on Prospects about essential qualifications.

So, I’ve put together a few tips to start with to show you how to get a job in a different field to your degree. This may differ for certain industries, and as ever please remember to seek professional help with your career if you’re struggling.

Learn the basics of the industry (plus a bit more)

Wanting to get a job in a field unrelated to your degree may make you feel worried, especially as some people will have three years’ worth of knowledge in the subject that you don’t. But that really doesn’t matter a lot of the time.

Here’s where books and the internet are your best friend. If you think back to your degree, a lot of the information you learned was from books and online resources that you could access quite easily. If you’ve got a friend within that industry, see what books they swear by and would recommend for you to learn the basics.

If you want to go into an industry that you don’t have the background knowledge for but know you’ll need, you’ll want to try and get your understanding on a good level. This shows passion to a recruiter too, opting for self study and getting yourself up to speed on your own terms.

getting a job unrelated to your degree - text reads do what you love
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

Promote your transferable skills and mindset

For a lot of jobs, your transferable skills and mindset are a lot more important than experience and specific knowledge. Anyone can be taught an industry skill, but not everyone has the right mindset for the job.

I’ve been reading Put Your Mindset To Work which stresses the importance of mindset and the competitive edge it gives any job applicant.

As a result, it matters what transferable skills and work ethic you’ve learnt from your degree. You’ll have accrued skills of time management, organisation, written and verbal communication, and so many more which are important in any job.

Network within the industry

Reach out to professionals within the industry or specific roles you want to go into. You could take a look on LinkedIn as to what is trending in that field and see what people are saying about it.

Engage in forums and conversations with other professionals and politely seek advice and experiences from them that could help you out. You could ask what knowledge is really crucial within the role and identify how to gain that.

Assess the job description

One thing that’s really important, even when looking at jobs in the industry you do have a degree in, is browsing through job descriptions. You can learn a lot from a job from the description (I know, that seems pretty obvious). But some things to look at/use are:

  • Are the responsibilities listed something you can imagine yourself doing everyday? There will be more things that you’ll do than those listed but it’s a good start for making a decision.
  • Does the salary match up to the amount of responsibility, or how much experience you’re expected to have? If the role is advertised as junior or entry level but you’re asked to have 3+ years of experience, it can be a bit of a red flag
  • When looking at the essential or desirable experience, don’t get put off by what you don’t have. If it says you need a good knowledge of Excel but you don’t, take a quick course. It’s always worth seeing if you can get the experience online for a job. Although you probably won’t be able to magic up five years of experience overnight, there are a lot of ways you can become more qualified for the job.

Try to get an internship

Another way to build up experience in a field is through internships and other forms of work experience.

It can seem like there aren’t many of them, but always make sure your time is paid for. You might not be qualified or have years of experience but you should still expect compensation for your time.

Getting a job unrelated to your degree doesn’t have to be a scary thing, and can be quite simple to manage. You aren’t expected to stick to a certain industry, not least because most of us chose our degree subjects at 17/18. So don’t panic if you decide you don’t want a job in your degree industry or try something out and it really isn’t for you.

If you’d like, here you can find some tips on how to get experience for a job without actually having one.

This Post Has 25 Comments

  1. Alice Myles

    This is so helpful! I’m graduating this year and I know that I don’t want to work in my field of study to these tips are very useful and some that I will definitely be applying in my graduate job search

    1. Maddie

      I’m so glad you find it helpful! I hope the tips can help you with your search 😊

  2. itsjustjessie12

    This is a great post, really helpful and also gives a lot of hope for those who were or are nervous for the process of getting a job outside their degree, myself Included, this was really helpful and an internship is something I’m going to start looking into, great post thank you for sharing!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you very much – I’m glad think so! Good luck in your search to find an internship 😊

  3. Amber Page

    This is such an important post! I have a year left of my university degree and then begins the job search and I am not entirely sure if I will going into something that requires me degree!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you! Hopefully you can use these tips and ideas for finding a job after you finish uni 😊

  4. Rohan

    Such a great post Maddie. When I graduated I certainly dipped my fingers in many pies until I found the right role and those pies weren’t related to my degree. Best thing is get yourself on LinkedIn and network!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you Rohan! 😊 it’s definitely all about trying new things out to see what you like!

  5. Veronica

    I can definitely relate. This year I’m graduating in something I’m not willing to continue. But there ARE options. You just have to look for them

    1. Maddie

      Definitely! You’ll find something 😊 good luck!

  6. Emily Wyat

    This is a great post thank you! I am planning on going into a different field after graduate so I will definitely be using these tips 🙂
    Em –

    1. Dave

      Fully agree with what you’ve said here. Reaching out and networking with people in your preferred industry is key. This is very apparent within the programming world on twitter where people constantly get job offers through connections made purely online

      1. Maddie

        I’m glad you agree. That’s really useful to know, it really can be who you know not what you know!

  7. Clarissa

    What a scary time to be coming into the job market! I graduated during the last big one, but this one’s a whole different beast. I know a ton of people who have jobs in different industries than their degree is in. I’m one of them. Your tips are great, I especially like the one about promoting transferrable skills and mindset. I know when I’m hiring, this is huge for me! Thanks for the post!

    1. Maddie

      I know right, it’s not going to be an easy ride at all. That’s great to know that you like the tips, and something you use yourself when hiring 😊

  8. Lauren Kenny

    Once again thanks for sharing this really helpful post☺️ When you’re studying you definitely forget there are other opportunities outside of your degree subject.

    1. Maddie

      Ahh you’re very welcome! Yes definitely, but there are so many things you can do!

  9. Dave

    Completely agree. Networking within your preferred industry is vital. Twitter can be a great tool for getting to know others and potentially getting job offers through new contacts

    1. Maddie

      It’s interesting that twitter is good for networking for jobs, thanks for sharing that!

  10. Ellie

    Thanks for the great tips! I have a law degree but probably won’t be pursuing that career anytime soon and sometimes struggle with the stigma around that, people thinking it is a waste! Personally I agree with your points, especially the mindset and transferable skills! Thanks for sharing xx

    1. Maddie

      I’m glad you like my tips! Noo not at all, I know what you mean though, I think a lot of people thought I’d go into the police with my crim degree. You can pursue whatever career you want, regardless of degree 😊 thanks for your comment xx

  11. Jaya Avendel

    It is good to have skills in different fields, and I think internships are amazing for giving you learning and work experience. I have never taken an internship, but it is something I am still aiming to do. 🙂

    1. Maddie

      Yes definitely, internships are great for skills and real world experience!

  12. lifestyleseason

    Great post! Thank you for the advice! I’m hoping to get an internship sometime in the future!

    1. Maddie

      Thank you – good luck with that, I’m sure you’ll find one!

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