Where to turn if your degree is not related directly to what you want to do

Emma Seton·29 March 2021·5 min read
Where to turn if your degree is not related directly to what you want to do
Although many students will think carefully about the degree that they choose to study before they begin university, often it is the case that after three years of study, students will have a completely different opinion about their chosen field. Perhaps your degree just wasn’t what you expected, or perhaps you spotted a career path that’s got very little overlap with the discipline that you’re studying. Even those who choose a specialised degree such as law might find themselves looking at other options rather than progressing into the legal field. University is often a huge learning curve for both personal and professional development so it’s often the case that students change their minds along the journey.

If you’re looking to pursue a career that isn’t directly related to your degree, don’t worry. Your degree will open many different doors, not just the ones in a specific sector. It’s important to remember that your degree provides you with an array of different transferable skills, and at accommodation for students we’ve put together some handy tips and tricks to help you if your degree isn’t directly related to what you want to study.

So, what to do next?


If you already know which sector you’d like to transfer into then looking into volunteering opportunities is one of the best ways to get started. Although working for free might seem like a small step, many organisations are often keen to take on volunteers and this is a great way to help you get some industry specific knowledge. You don’t have to do this for an extended period of time, you might just want to stick at it for long enough to gain some valuable experience and to begin to find your feet within the sector. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door. It also shows potential employers that you’re serious about entering a particular industry and it will help your CV to stand out. As a volunteer you’ll also begin to establish your network and connect with people and organisations who might be offering more long-term positions.

Keep your mind and options open:

If you don’t already know which sector you want to enter, but you’re clear that you don’t want to stay in a field related to your degree, then it’s a good idea to keep your options open. Not all employers are after a degree in a specific field; for many employers it is simply a requirement that you have a degree. If you search for graduate schemes that do not require a specialism then you’ll have plenty of opportunities open to you. If you keep an open mind about entering different sectors, rather than restricting yourself to a few areas, then you’ll increase your chances of finding employment.

Don’t forget about the transferable skills that you’ve gained during your degree. Being educated to degree standard shows commitment and intelligence; skills which your future employers will value.

Consider temporary options and short-term contracts:

When conducting their graduate job hunt, many students are naturally drawn to long-term or permanent opportunities, however one of the best ways to improve your profile is to consider short-term contracts. This can not only help you explore different sectors, but also help you to decide what works for you without having to make a long-term commitment. Working in a role for a few months will help you to get an understanding of an industry and will also help to increase your prospects. Short-term contracts may be a stepping-stone between the end of university and the beginning of your career. Taking on short-term employment will also help to prevent you from having a gap in your CV later down the line.

Consider short courses or night school:

If you want to go into a specific field which isn’t directly related to your degree one of the ways to help improve your profile might be to consider doing some additional training in this field. You’ll find an array of short courses online, some you might have to pay for, but there are also many free options out there too. This will show potential employers that you’re serious about entering into a specific sector and will help to improve your industry specific knowledge. Completing a short course also shows commitment to the field and will increase your employability.

It’s important to remember that many students go on to pursue careers that aren’t related to the field of their degree. A degree opens up many doors - the hard part is choosing the one you want to go through.

Looking for your first career step? Check out https://www.jobsforgraduates.com/ to find the latest opportunities.