The following section contains affiliate links. If you click through to this product and make a purchase, I receive a small fee at no extra cost to you.
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.
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.