Degree Choice

What to do when your degree choice doesn’t match your dream career

For many of us, university is a chance to explore our true calling and broaden our knowledge before starting our careers. However, others might find that their degree choice isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and the thought of a lifelong career in the same industry isn’t very appealing.

Fear not – your degree choice won’t hold you back! Even if you still aren’t sure what you want to do, a few clever tweaks to your CV can make your degree work for nearly any role in any industry.


What has your degree taught you?

Transferable skills are very important, and you should always mention these in your job applications, regardless of the role. However, it goes without saying that a certain degree choice may be more suited for some sectors than others.

A maths-based degree could set you up as a data analyst or accountant, whilst humanities degrees will give you the communication skills for a role in public relations or marketing. These specific skills can really help to boost your chances in a field that’s related to your degree.
However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking your degree choice defines you. You can still be a journalist if you studied maths – you might just need to put a bit more spin on it, and most skills work across the board.

What else have you done?

If your degree choice can’t tell a great story on its own, then you should look out for opportunities to develop elsewhere. Whilst extracurriculars are almost essential for a strong application, targeting career-specific experience will give you a big boost.

If you have a career in mind, you may even be able to get student membership with a professional body. You can then get access to industry-specific information and events, which could give you the edge in interviews. If you go along to networking events, you may even get your foot in the door with your dream company!

Experience counts

It’s often easier said than done, but the importance of gaining experience can’t be understated. If you know the industry you would like to work in, then ideally you should look for placements there. However, gaining any sort of workplace experience, regardless of industry, will stand you in good stead.

Showing some experience in a professional environment will give prospective employers the confidence that you can work effectively with others, and be a successful part of their organisation. It doesn’t have to be your typical summer internship – if there’s an opportunity to shadow a member of your family for a few days, or volunteer at a local charity, then that will give you the workplace skills to include on your CV.

Your degree choice may not be your true passion, but you’re not stuck with it forever. Gaining extra experience, working in another industry, or even achieving professional qualifications can give you that extra step up into your dream career.

Remember that most graduate jobs simply want a degree, not any particular one. Even if your chosen degree doesn’t fit with your ideal career, there will always be a way to build those important skills to display at your next interview.

Still worried that you might not be able to twist your degree for your dream job? Ask us your questions below!

Photo: Flazingo Photos / Flickr

I’m Helena, a 21 year old recent physics graduate from Warwick university. In September I’ll be starting as a project management graduate with Transport for London. I love cooking, video games and writing, and I’m looking forward to taking the first step in my professional career!

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