How to Pursue a Career Not Related to Your Degree

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Congrats, you graduated! Or you’re close to it, like me. If you are also like me, you might be thinking about shifting your career path from what you thought you might do when you first declared. Or maybe you are well into your career, and you’ve only recently realized that what you want to do is something you never expected. Maybe your degree is on this list, and you’re just finding nothing fun about being broke anymore. Us changers have to stick together because making that leap can be very, very scary.

Depending on the field, it may seem that your qualifications are not up to par. You might feel like you’re behind, or that no one will even look at your resume without a relevant degree. However, with what Work Life Group calls a “volatile” job market, this might be an ideal time to seek out a career irrelevant to your degree. In fact, as of a year ago, about 1/3 of Americans have a job unrelated to their college major. With that in mind, use your winter break time and these tips to get the job you want.

Learn New Skills

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Step 1: Get up and do something. Or, sit down and do something. As long as you’re doing something to add relevant skills to your resume to enhance your qualifications for the job that you do want.

Too broke to take more classes after graduating from a very expensive institution from whence the problem stemmed? No problem! Free courses are everywhere if you spend a little time looking. Udemy is a hub for inexpensive and free online courses taught by people that know what they’re doing, ranging from professors to employees in the field that have mastered their craft. Additionally, your local library or media may offer free classes in technology.

Network for Your New Career Field

Time to pull those family-friend/mom’s colleague/acquaintance from college strings! If there’s a connection you have in an industry you’re

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looking to join, use it. Contrary to what you might believe as per normal social conduct, reaching out to inquire about how someone got to where they are or ask for advice, is not at all weird to do. Who knows? There might even be an opening at their company that you could snatch up, or they, at least, know someone else that might be willing to take an outside hire.

Find Resume Overlap

AOL Jobs suggests finding appropriate parallels between the career you had, and the one you want, so that an employer would easily be able to see the ways in which you would suit their mission. Sit down with your resume and a pen. Circle all the descriptors that might fit a candidate for your desired job. Then, edit your resume to highlight those qualities.

Remember Your Minor

If your major was no help, maybe your minor was. Think back awhile to your dearly departed college days: did you take classes for your minor that are now relevant? Did you make any contacts within your department that you could put to use? Were you a part of any project of which you were proud?

Make a List of Your Passions

Someone in the supermarket recently told me that you should “just pick [a career]” and eventually learn to love it, keeping things “like art and music” on the side as hobbies.

Pardon me while I cough “bullshit” loudly over my shoulder.

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Demand is only part of the problem; the other part is a lack of drive. Make a list of things you’re passionate about, try out new things, or maybe even volunteer. Whatever the action you take, it might help you a) get some additional field experience or b)figure out what you love.

I suppose some of my credibility is lost, a Millennial writing to other Millennial about how to succeed in this incredible feat. Though other generations think we’re insane for taking these kinds of leaps, I give us credit for at least trying to achieve all of which we are capable. Props to us, Gen Y. Let’s continue taking these steps to build the futures we all want and deserve.

How have you pursued a career outside your major? Tell us in the comments!


AOL Jobs, Work Life Group, Recruiter

Tips on Pursuing a Career Not Related to Your Degree
Photo Credit: Principia School via Compfight cc

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