Steps to take to transfer your degree to different industries
So, you began university three or more years ago with a dream. Everything was sorted. Your future was panned out. You were finally envisaging a life plan. However, this doesn’t seem to be as rosy now you’re nearing the other side of graduating.
Unfortunately, for some of you your vision may have altered a little over these years. The passion may have dampened, or new ideas could have cropped their head. This is completely natural, so if this applies to you – stop freaking out now. If you were to be someone who has stuck to the same goal and vision your whole life, you would make up >0.00001% of the population. Growing up is all about working out what works for you, and some of our initial guesses will inevitably turn out to be inaccurate. This is what your young adulthood is all about – trial and error.
So, you’ve either finishing your degree, or you are near finishing, and you have hit the question mark in the middle of the road that goes something like, “How on earth do I use my degree to access a completely different industry?”. This sounds a whole lot scarier than it is, and we’re about to talk you through why.
1. Be realistic. There is a difference between shooting for the stars to waste your time, or shooting for the stars to transfer your skills. Unfortunately, some industries do require relevant qualifications (such as medicine or engineering) where you will need to gain additional education. However, as long as you distinguish between the ambition and time-wasting, you’re going to be okay. For those which are a little out of reach, consider the available courses or training you can opt for to become more qualified in these specialised areas.
2. Employers are a lot more open than you think. In growing trends across today's graduate market, many leading employers are offering a flexible perspective on which degree backgrounds they accept, particularly to their commercially-orientated programmes, such as Marketing, Sales and Operations. While programmes such as Engineering, IT or Technology may require a relevant degree, don't be put off - have a look and you may be pleasantly surprised!
3. Identify your strong, transferable skills. What praise have you received from your academics, friends, employers and colleagues? What does your degree enable you to bring to the table? What qualifications, including those outside of your degree, do you hold? What have you accomplished before that is seriously impressive? How do you deal with downfalls or criticism? Consider all avenues and write these down.
4. Improve your CV. If you are still in university and are not currently employed or involved with any extra-curricular activities, you need to take action to expand your profile. If you are a graduate and are struggling to find your perfect role, do the same! Get involved with things that will allow you to stand out. You must work to appeal to your employers, which will make transferring your degree even easier.
5. Outline what is required of you in your desired role. What do the most successful people within this role do? What skills are needed? What is the working ethos of this role? If possible, talk to people you may know who are associated with a similar role. This will help you to understand fully what the role entails, and you can apply yourself to this. Do your research well!
6. Compare your traits to the role requirements. Now you will be able to see if you are a candidate eligible for the role, regardless of your degree discipline. You should also be more aware that most employers, unless they are specialised roles such as medicine, are open to non-stereotypical degree backgrounds! Use your identified strengths, experiences and knowledge of the role requirements to go ahead with considering the avenues of your choice.
7. Commit to the leap. We know its scary. But once you’ve got your finger on the kind of thing you would like to do in the near future, no matter how frightening it may be to think about, commit to your goals and stay resilient. It may take a couple of tries, but if you put your mind to it you will see great results. Determination will get you a lot further than the discipline of your degree!
Remember, you don’t always need to have a solid answer to what you want to do with your career. If you make a wrong move, take responsible action to make the right changes for you. You live and you learn – stay cool.
And... Our Strategic Lead for Emerging Talent (a.k.a. King of Recruitment Expertise) Simon has the following advice to give:
“The great thing about UK graduate recruitment compared to mainland Europe and the US is that on the whole employers don’t mind what degree you have done (unless you want to be an engineer or doctor of course!) In fact, a global FMCG company we recruited Sales and Marketing grads for have not hired a Business graduate in five years, they had hired graduates from backgrounds such as History, Languages, Psychology and more.”