Many opportunities are open to graduates of any discipline and what you’ve studied doesn’t necessarily dictate what you do afterwards. If you’ve decided on a job that’s not related to your course, what are the key things you can do to position yourself well?
Even if the job you’re applying for doesn’t require you to have directly relevant experience, you’ll need to show you’ve done your research and understand the role and why you are a good fit for it. It’s also a good idea to research the industry as a whole and keep yourself up to date with current developments, changes and any current issues that may be impacting on the sector. This will help your confidence as you apply and allow you to illustrate your motivation, interest and fit.
Assess your skill set
Look again at all the experience you have. Consider your degree/s, work experience, voluntary work, student society involvement, interests – anything you’ve been involved in over the last few years and assess what skills and knowledge you’ve gained that will support you in the job you’re applying for. You’ll probably find there’s more crossover than you expected and shaping your experience around the role and changing what you emphasise at the application and interview stage can make a big difference to how an employer perceives you. Don’t underestimate the value of what you’ve done already no matter how different it is – many of the skills employers require will be similar and can be developed in different ways.
Although having directly relevant experience may not be a formal requirement for the job you want, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get some. It’ll help you make a decision about whether it’s the right job for you and also boost your application. Experience can take many forms so don’t rule anything out! Volunteering, internships, temporary work, part-time jobs, working for a student society – it all counts.
If the job you’re applying for is new to you, think about building your network. Start reaching out through friends, family, your network at LSE and find out whether you’re connected to anyone who has experience and see if you can arrange to talk to them. Talking to people can give you an excellent insight into the role, a good idea of what employers are looking for, what will make your application stand out, and help you at the interview stage. It may also be possible to arrange some work shadowing or work experience. You can also meet people via LSE Careers events, through relevant student societies, and search for alumni or people you’re connected to via your contacts on LinkedIn.
Investigate relevant qualifications
For some areas of work/sectors (for example law, teaching, accounting) you may need to undertake further study or a conversion course in order to realise your ambitions. Research the course providers and application timelines in good time so you don’t miss any deadlines. Also bear in mind that some employers will fund you through the relevant qualification or incorporate it into your first few years on the job.
There are many postgraduate and professional qualifications available that focus on certain jobs or areas of work (for example, Human Resources, Public Relations, Information Technology) and the options here are many and varied. If the qualification is not a formal requirement of the job you want, then remember to do your research before taking this step. Ensure the course will include what you hope to learn, find out where previous students are now working (for example, via LinkedIn), and look at what opportunities there will be to gain experience or connect with employers. When you’re talking to people about the job you’re interested in ask them for their views on postgraduate study and how it might benefit your application. It’s also a personal decision and depends on how you like to learn – some people prefer to study first to help them with the transition to a new area and others prefer to learn on the job.
How we can help
Exploring your options is exciting but it can also be daunting, especially if an area of work is new to you! If you want a job not related to your course and would like support with your job search strategy, mapping your skills across or investigating different qualifications then we’re here to help! You can book a one-to-one appointment with us and we’ll be happy to discuss this with you.