Tips for Graduates with the “Wrong” Degree

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Many of us graduated college with a degree that we were passionate about, only to discover that our area of study was difficult to apply to the job market.  Perhaps you majored in Philosophy or Creative Writing, leaving you to feel a bit hopeless when applying to jobs in the Finance or Technology sector.  But there are always exceptions to the rule, as well as steps you can take to turn yourself into a great candidate.  Read ahead:

Gain Experience

Sure, it’s great to come in armed with the proper knowledge right out of college, but as many will tell you, real world experience is actually more valuable than book smarts.  If you’re gunning for a job that’s out of the realm of your college degree, find ways to gain experience in that field.  This may mean taking a lower level position or an internship (which you may be able to parlay into a career), or even volunteering.

Research

Some individuals lament over their lack of familiarity with a particular subject matter, and consequently rule out jobs before they even consider applying.  But there is nothing to stop you from learning the ins and outs of a particular field on your own – familiarize yourself with the industry, keep up with relevant literature and current events, and teach yourself some pertinent skills.  This kind of self-education will make you more qualified and display great initiative on your part.

Transferable Skills

Don’t dismiss the importance of transferable skills in helping you land your dream job.  There are many skills that transfer nicely from industry to industry, and you should identify yours and make sure to highlight them on your resume. Companies love diversity, and candidates that garnered desirable skills in new and different ways are often far more attractive than the cookie-cutter applicants that companies receive day in and day out.

Network

You’ve heard that it’s much easier to get a job if you know someone on the inside.  One of the reasons this is so important is because this person can vouch for you and cover questions that may arise in regards to your knowledge or experience.  Though you may not have the right educational background for a job, there are probably reasons why you can do the job as well as (or even better than) other qualified candidates – reasons that, unfortunately, may never come up on your resume or cover letter.  If you know someone in the right industry who is aware of this fact, they can advocate on your behalf and inform the company about your talents and qualifications.

Not everyone has the foresight at 18 to know exactly what they want to do with their life and to properly pick a major that will catapult their career.  And some of us stuck more to what captivated our attention than to what seemed practical.  But if you play it right, your unorthodox degree can become a great asset for you in the job search.

Until next time,

The Doostang Team

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