Choosing a career that’s different from your degree

Lots of us come to uni looking to enhance our employability and gain experience for future careers – but what happens when we discover that the career we really want is wildly different from our degree course?

The Accountancy Partnership advises us on how to focus on new career options, and put these plans into action!


Try not to panic

Lots of people panic when they realise they want to do something different, but it’s important to remember that university is about more than training yourself for the perfect career. Through completing your degree, you’ll dabble in different activities and discover so much about yourself, your likes, and your dislikes. Use this information!

We’re all in a cycle of Discover, Focus, and Action – and the Discover phase (being unsure of what career you want to pursue) is a really exciting time for you to learn about yourself!

Look at your transferable skills

The good thing about any university course is that there will be transferable skills, no matter which subject you’ve studied. Those skills can be used elsewhere, in a completely different career than the one you’ve studied for.

Take some time to note down all the skills you’ve picked up. You should find many are useful regardless of the career path.


Remember, your employability is made up of your Knowledge, Attributes, Skills, and Experience. You can develop all of these through university studies and work experience. 


Be strategic with your work experience

If you’re trying to get into a career that other people have been to university for, then the competition will be tough. However, where you can make yourself more appealing as a candidate is to be strategic with your work experience. Internships and volunteer experience are popular ways of getting into the industry and shouldn’t be overlooked. Hobbies, or even passing interests in things, are also a valuable way of demonstrating that you have passion, intellect, and motivation.

When thinking about work experience, consider the full spectrum, including internships, volunteering, part-time work, and student society involvement.


Research thoroughly

One thing that a lot of job candidates don’t do enough of is research the particular company they’re applying for, and the industry as a whole.

That’s why nowadays you see more job applications and interview questions which ask you for your opinion on specific topics. For example, a job application for a marketing position may ask you about your favourite advertising campaign.

Google is your best friend. Make sure you’re doing all you can to research your chosen industry!


Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash


Build your network

As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Your professional network could be key to your success.

Make sure you’re on LinkedIn and optimise your profile according to your chosen industry and skills. Connect with those in your industry, share news, thoughts, articles or projects on your chosen subject. Try to network with influential people in the business. It shows that you’re enthusiastic to learn and be a part of their world. Plus, LinkedIn is a great place to find job opportunities.

While it may be difficult to get your foot in the door, take heart – it is for everyone starting out.  Make sure you put the time in, do your research, network where you can and, most importantly? Be yourself.


We’ve got some great advice on networking and setting up your LinkedIn on our KEATS pages, and don’t forget to watch our LinkedIn Learning courses!