How to Get a Job Unrelated to Your Degree

If you’re reading this article, chances are you hadn’t chosen your career when you started your degree. Or perhaps, you did and you changed your mind half way through.

Let us tell you why this is okay.

Firstly, your degree title doesn’t define who you are or your future. Secondly, a recent longitudinal survey of 2012/13 graduate destinations revealed that a massive 93% are in work or study nearly three and a half years later. And it’s likely a significant chunk of these graduates sought after a job unrelated to their degree too – so the future’s bright for you.

Here’s what you need to do now if you’re looking for a job unrelated to your degree.

Find out if you’re qualified

Once you’ve identified the career path you’d like to follow, you need to work out if you’re qualified enough to pursue it. Take some time to audit your skills, abilities and experiences and pair them with the occupation you’ve got your eyes on.  Then, work out if you need to top up on any specialised skills.

Chances are the last three years of studying won’t have been a waste because of the strong transferable skills you’ve developed. At entry-level, employers don’t expect you to have an accomplished skill set, therefore, it’s the soft skills that will get you places.

If you’ve found that you’re lacking some technical abilities, you may be able to make them up with an internship, work experience or a shadowing scheme. And since leading employers value work experience over grades among graduates, it’s unlikely that your degree in a different field will hinder you.

Tweak your CV to show relevant information

When applying for a job unrelated to your degree, you need to showcase the skills that are most relevant to that position.

Go through the job description of your dream role and identify common keywords, phrases and industry jargon. Then, inject them naturally throughout your CV to show prospective employers that you’re a decent match for the role.

In addition, make sure that the skills listed on your CV fulfil the requirements in the job description. For example, if the role requires someone with excellent written and verbal communication skills, and you have these, mention it!

Simultaneously, in order to make a great impression, cut down on the irrelevant info. For example, you may like to summarise your GSCEs in one line, rather than bullet point each one individually. This will create space for the more important details.

Focus on your transferable skills

Since you’re a graduate applying for an entry-level role, rest assured that employers don’t expect you to have a complete skill set just yet – they’re prepared to develop you. However, you need to demonstrate some ability, and this will primarily come from the transferable skills you developed throughout your degree.

Here are a few common graduate, transferable skills you could reference:

  • Teamwork: group presentations, seminars
  • Written communication: Tutors, essays, exams
  • Verbal communication: group projects, presentations, group discussions, seminars
  • Self-motivation: coursework, revision, exams
  • Time management: multiple deadlines
  • Organisation: multiple deadlines, projects, revision, coursework
  • Flexibility: multiple deadlines, part-time job

Get some experience on the side

Another way to get a job unrelated to your degree is by getting some work experience on the side.

So many graduates assume that work experience has to be a full-time project and that it’s hard to obtain – but it doesn’t have to be.

Start with checking out suitable volunteering and work shadowing schemes. If you’re still hanging around your university throughout summer, you might be able to find a placement on site or in the nearby area. In addition, look for placements that are only one or two days a week. That way you can fit in a part-time role to keep your funds topped up.

Remember, all experience is good experience. Therefore, don’t get caught up in finding placements with big names and brands. You stand a much stronger chance of securing a placement by keeping your search small-scale and local.

It’s not as impossible as it might seem to gain a job unrelated to your degree. After all, just think of the people that didn’t go to university and have made their way up the ladder. Simply keep your ideal job in prime focus and work out what you need to get there. You’ll quickly see that it’s possible to get that dream job after all.

About the author: Laura Slingo is digital copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.

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