It’s increasingly common for college seniors to realize that the major they selected years ago and have been working hard towards completing has no direct path into the workforce. For example, if you majored in History, Philosophy, Anthropology, or Art History, you probably don’t have many obvious career paths. Fortunately, there are plenty of recent grads who have gone on to become wildly successful in roles outside of anything their college major focused on.
Here are 5 actionable tips to help you break in to a role unrelated to your major:
1. Choose the Right Positions
There are quite a few positions out there for recent grads that don’t require specific college degrees. Choosing which ones are the right ones for you can be more of a burden than actually breaking into that field. If you’re not sure how to go about choosing the best positions for you, we have a guide to help you start your search.
Otherwise, figuring out what types of roles you’d excel at or want to excel at can make a world of a difference.
2. Get an Internship
This is the most surefire way to transition into an entry-level role. Internships, by definition, are supposed to provide you with real-world experience in a role. They shouldn’t ever require that you have any existing experience.
Sites like WayUp aren’t only there to help current students find internships. Even if you’ve already graduated, internships can be great opportunities for you. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’ve already graduated that an internship will be easy to get. They’re becoming more competitive all of the time and you’ll want to look at doing some of the other tactics mentioned in these tips if you want to ensure you lock down that internship.
3. Start a Related Side Project
Side projects aren’t just for engineers and designers. If you’re looking to get into marketing, start a blog or some social media accounts that aren’t personal to practice representing a brand.
Another way to get some side project experience is to offer your skills for free. Find a small, local company near you and offer to help them run their social media campaigns for free. Want to learn more about sales? Find a local business with a sales team and ask if you can listen in on some of their calls.
4. Learn to Sell Yourself
Don’t focus solely on your skills. If employers are going to take a chance on a recent grad, they want to know that you’ll be passionate, driven, trustworthy, and respectful. Look back into your life experiences and figure out ways in which you can relate them to the position you’re applying for.
Don’t assume that your coursework is completely irrelevant. You may not immediately see how taking that ‘5th Century Greek Theater’ course could possibly help you excel at a ‘Volunteer Coordinator’, but it just might be your ticket. It’s possible that the morals of the plays were important life lessons to you and show that you can take away nuggets of helpful information from every context. Seek to make every experience an asset.
5. Discover a Mentor
The internet can be a great resource when researching career options or starting a side project. However, there’s another fantastic resource at your immediate disposal: people who are already in the career you’re looking at.
Search on Meetup for individuals or groups related to your career interests and get involved. Meeting people is a great way to learn more about a particular role and gain exposure to what the people in that role (the ones that will be hiring you) are looking for in candidates. If you can, try and get one of them to mentor you. The more you can use their connections to meet other individuals in the field, the better.
Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as What is an Entry-Level Job? and find answers to common interview questions such as Tell me about yourself.