7 Tips for Getting a Job Unrelated to your Degree

Jan 21, 2022

If you are thinking about getting a job in an industry unrelated to your degree, you may be unsure about how to approach this problem. Fortunately, it is very common for people to take on a job that has very little to do with their studies, with just a little bit of direction. Most people will have friends who are working in an industry unrelated to their degree. For example, a recent graduate who studied biology is now a software engineer. Another recent graduate who read history at university is now working for a green tech start-up. Not only is it quite common; however, in many circumstances, it is expected due to the nature of studying highly specific degrees. To put it simply, your degree does not always determine your choice of career! In fact, only 10% of graduates get a job related to their degree.

So, what does determine your career path? What can you do to get a job in a different field than your degree? In this article, we take a look at some top tips for moving into an industry or role that you have no experience in.

Understand Your Career Typology

Understanding your career typology will allow you to narrow down your job search and send out more high-quality applications. It is common for many students and graduates to feel overwhelmed by the number of graduate job titles. This results in many graduates applying for numerous different roles that are unlikely to be suited to their skillset or interests. This approach has proven to be ineffective as graduate recruiters have specifically been trained to identify the extent to which a candidate is suitable for the role they have applied for. However, there are only three types or categories.

Specialist

A specialist role is one where you are hired principally because of your core expertise. For example, engineer, scientist, doctor, coder, translator, etc. These graduates may be required to have studied a specialist subject such as medicine.

Knowledge Architect

Knowledge architect roles are jobs where you are employed principally for your ability to interpret data and deliver insights from that data. Examples of this category include those in Finance, Consultancy, Logistics, Marketing, etc. Typically, job titles will include the term ‘analyst’ or ‘consultant’.

Do you enjoy working with data, providing insights, and identifying trends? If so, you may be a knowledge architect.

Communicator

If you are a communicator, you will be principally employed for your ability to forge strong relationships with either external or internal clients. You may also be hired for your ability to effectively communicate complex information to stakeholders in comprehensive way. Examples include advertising, account managers, public relations consultants, salespeople, hospitality employees, etc. 

Did you enjoy the more social aspects of university life? Were you an active member of university societies? Did you relish building relationships with internal and external stakeholders? If so, it is likely that you are a communicator.

Still confused?

Here are some more questions to consider when figuring out your graduate career typology:

  • What did you enjoy most about your course at university?
  • What did you enjoy most in any jobs or pastimes you had at university?
  • What are your interests?
  • What kind of person do you think you are?
  • What sort of person do your friends and family think you are?

Figure Out If You Are Qualified

Once you have established your graduate career typology, you will be able to create a shortlist of graduate job roles. Next, you must assess whether you meet the job requirements of the role you wish to apply for. Depending on the role, you may have to complete some more years of study or complete the relevant courses. For example, if you are looking to be a trainee solicitor, you will need to complete the SQE. Alternatively, some roles ask candidates to have some relevant experience in the field so you may need to find an internship (see point 6).

Leverage Your Transferrable Skills

Over the years, you would have picked up a diversity of transferrable skills whether it is from your extra-curricular activities or your part-time job or even your degree. Think back to the times when you led a project at school or participated in a debating competition. What did you learn from these experiences? For example, from playing a football match, you may have learned to work under pressure or work in a team. Next, compare your skills with the required skills listed on job descriptions. This will be a good indicator of whether the role fits your current skillset and where the gaps are.

Hone Your Industry Knowledge

If you want to work in a specific industry or field, you must demonstrate to future employers that you understand how the industry functions and you are knowledgeable about current trends. This is also known as commercial awareness. There are several ways to show commercial awareness to future employers. For example, you can stay up to date with the news or subscribe to industry related news outlets. For example, Watson’s Daily is a great way to keep on top of business news. If you are interested in working for a particular company or firm, do not forget to follow their social media pages. This will help show your commitment to getting a job unrelated to your degree.

Start Networking

Although the term ‘networking’ sounds intimidating, meeting people from different walks of life gives you an insight into their differing life and career experiences. Personal anecdotes from both experienced and young professionals can help you figure out whether you see yourself enjoying a typical working day in the life of a consultant, solicitor, and so on.

Networking with leaders and peers in a particular field will give you the much-needed exposure to the corporate world. Take advantage of your university careers team and any events organised. Whilst at university, attend as many open days and networking events as possible with leading companies and firms to broaden your horizons. These events will allow you to consider options beyond the subject you are studying.

You will be surprised that many professionals you meet during these events will have studied something completely different to the career path they are now pursuing. These networking events are eye-opening experiences to the endless opportunities you could potentially pursue.

Find An Internship

To help you get a job unrelated to your degree, employers are looking for experience that will help you stand out from everyone else as the graduate market continues to be increasingly competitive. Internships are a great way of showing future employers that you are passionate about the role you are applying for.

When searching for the right internship, keep in mind that the length and type of experience is less important than the quality of the experience. This is because such opportunities give you transferrable skills which set you up for your future career. Most importantly, it does not matter whether these experiences are related or unrelated to your degree. Instead, you should consider opportunities that are not directly related to your degree as this will enable you to broaden your horizons and learn more about yourself as a person.

Where can you look for internships?

University is an excellent time to build up a variety of skills. Visit your university careers website or Bright Network to search for internships, part-time jobs or voluntary work that pique your interest. The majority of opportunities advertised are actually likely to be unrelated to your university course and that is a good thing!

If you are struggling to find opportunities, Forage offers virtual internships (no application required!) with leading companies and firms from different industries. There is no limit to the number of internships you can take up and once completed, you can also list and share your certificate on your CV and LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can show your interest in a particular industry by taking initiative. For example, if you have studied history at university but now you want to start a career in marketing or content creation, starting a blog or doing some freelance writing can help show future employers your commitment to the field. On the other hand, if you are interested in coding, there are several virtual courses you can take up. 

Do not forget to keep a note of all your experiences and jot down the skills you picked up. This will help form the crux of your CV and make it easier to write better quality job applications.

Tweak Your CV

When you are looking for a job unrelated to your degree, your CV will be your first impression. This is where you can showcase your experiences and transferrable skills to your future employers. Not sure if your CV is looking good? Check out this course on Future Learn.

Summary

Your degree does not limit or restrict your future career options and this comprehensive guide will enable you to begin your graduate job search on the right note. It is very easy to be overwhelmed by the diverse range of career types and job titles; however, the key is to find your career typology followed by your experiences and the network you create.

Still not sure how to get a job unrelated to your degree?

Our professional coaches provide career advice and coaching for new graduates, helping you to achieve your full potential. We are experts in full career and 1-2-1 interview coaching, conducted face-to-face, via video calls or online.

Written by Nina Chatrath

Featured photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The Seven Secrets of Success

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  • Learn seven things you can implement today to enhance your job search strategy.
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