How to get a job in a different field from what you studiedKhe Thai
It is quite common these days for graduates to be working in a different field from what they have majored in in university. For example, it is extremely common for those with engineering backgrounds to be working in banks and those with science background to be working in sales. Assuming you have already made the choice to switch fields upon graduation or intending to switch to a different field in the near future, here’s how to get there, properly:
Get a postgraduate degree
One of the best ways to get a job in a different field from what you studied is to get a postgraduate degree such as an MBA, MA or MSc. Every university will screen and evaluate every applicant to ensure that the candidate will be able to adapt, undertake and succeed in the chosen field of studies. Successfully enrolling into an MBA programme for example, should serve as proof that you are on your journey to a managerial position from a technical position. Postgraduate programme focuses on real-world readiness preparing candidates to survive and succeed in the field.
Identify transferable skills
Next, identify and focus on your transferable skills. For example, if you have a mathematics degree specialising in crunching numbers, then transitioning to a sales job might seem peculiar initially. However, when you slowly look into the transferable skills that you have such as leadership skills, analytical reasoning and oratory superiority, you will realise that you are able to switch to a different field from what you have majored in.
Networking with the right people
It all boils down to who you know and how you know them. Often, it is the people and connections that you know that really gets us that interview or gets us that golden opportunity in our careers. Start by having a good rapport with your university lecturers, friends, colleagues and even competitors. Networking is a never ending process – you can never know too many people.
Taking a lateral jump
Changing field requires the applicant to be somewhat experienced enough to be hired. Therefore, do not expect any increments or sign on bonuses when you join a company in a new unrelated field. Be prepared to move laterally, perhaps even experiencing a little pay cut. The most important point is to get your foot into the door first – then you can start proving yourself to earn the increments, promotions and bonuses.
Part time placements
At any time during the course of your study that you feel that you might want to work in a particular field apart from the field you are majoring in, then try doing some part time placement jobs – even if it’s for free. Try asking for a job as a junior data entry executive or an apprentice to a manager. The purpose is to gauge if you really intend to pursue a career in that particular field. An alternative to that is to do internships during your holidays.
Beefing up your resume
Realise that despite you have everything right for all of the above, it still boils down to your resume – the official document of which will be used by the hiring committee to evaluate your application. Therefore, be sure to put your best qualifications down, your best skills in writing and of course, the best referral contact you can get hold on. Also, in your application, be sure to state the reasons why you think you will be a good fit into the role you are applying for despite not having related experience in the field.
Of course, having said all those, it pays to be realistic. This means that you will need to know yourself enough to realise that there are certain fields you just can’t get into without proper qualifications. These include aviation, medicine and legal services to name a few. Therefore, it is best to get your foundation right and that you have the proper education background to embark in the career you intend to explore.