If you’re reading this article, chances are you are considering changing your career path from your chosen degree. Or perhaps, you have found your papers are not as marketable as you thought they would be.
Let us tell you why this is okay and there is much you can do to change the trajectory of your career.
Your degree title doesn’t define who you are or your future. Here’s what you need to do now if you’re looking for a job unrelated to your degree.
1. Choose the right position
There are quite a few positions out there for recent graduates that don’t require specific university degrees. Choosing which ones are the right ones for you can be more of a burden than actually breaking into that field.
Figuring out what types of roles you’d excel at or want to excel at can make a world of a difference.
2. Identify the skills you need
Once you’ve identified the career path you’d like to follow or job you’d like to secure, 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 your years of studying (and work experience) 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.
3. 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 summarize your KCSE results in one line, rather than bullet point each one individually. This will create space for the more important details.
4. Focus on your transferable skills
Since you’re 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 and work experience if any.
Here are a few common undergraduate/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
5. 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.
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.
6. Build your network
Although you don’t have a degree in the field you’re pursuing, you don’t have to build a network from scratch. Tap your university’s alumni database and go on informational interviews to learn more about the industry.
You can also reaching out to friends or family with at least five years of experience in the field you are interested in. Joining professional associations and attending industry events can also help build your network.
7. Hone your industry knowledge
To show employers you’re worth hiring, you need to prove that you’re knowledgeable about what’s going on in the field. And while that’s a good idea for every job seeker, says Kennedy, it’s especially crucial if you don’t have relevant education or internship experience. Stay current by subscribing to company newsletters, reading industry media outlets, and following prospective employers on social media.
8. Get an internship
This is the most surefire way to transition into an entry-level role. Internships, by definition, are supposed to provide you with real-world experience in a role. They shouldn’t ever require that you have any existing experience.
9. Find a Mentor
The internet can be a great resource when researching career options or starting a side project. However, there’s another fantastic resource at your immediate disposal: people who are already in the career you’re looking at.
Having a mentor is great way to learn more about a particular role and gain exposure to what the people in that role (the ones that will be hiring you) are looking for in candidates. The more you can use their connections to meet other individuals in the field, the better.
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.
This article was originally published in Bridge Water UK.