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5 Ways to Switch Your Career Focus During University

Careers AdviceStudentsUniversity

Ever felt like your vocation is unrelated to your degree? Do you love what you're studying at university, but just can't see yourself going down the career path it leads to? If you are a student hoping to switch your career focus, then I am here to let you know that there are ways out of it...

Your current situation does not dictate your future, and in many cases, neither does the discipline you choose to study for your degree: a life lesson I have only just figured out myself.

I am a second-year English Literature, and Film & Theatre student, and no, I do not want to be an English teacher, a scriptwriter, or an actor when I leave university. As conflicting as it seems, I want to be a creative marketing director in a fashion or technology firm. Strange, right? Yet I know I am not the only one who wants to steer away from the stereotypical careers that define their degree.

According to the Guardian, "Around 40% of people transitioning from first degrees to postgraduate study opt for a different subject area", and this proves that it is not unusual, nor a new trend, to want to change career direction. The difficult part is, how do you get a career in an industry that does not directly correlate to your degree?

Here are five tips that may help you on your way:

1. Research the industry and its opportunities

Boy photographer career change

Remember: although you may be interested in one, or even two plausible career paths, there will be many job positions within them. Hence, research is key. The internet, if not already, will become your best friend in finding out what role is right for you.  

2. Note down the skills you have already gained from your degree  

Yes, your undergraduate course, no matter how distant it seems from the career path you desire, has given you skills that are easily transferable to any field. 

Soft skills, such as communication, problem solving and organisation, are some of the main personal attributes that can help you get your foot in the door when you have limited to no experience, and these are also vital for your CV. Read more about graduate employability skills and understand how to articulate the abilities you already have.

3. Talk to a careers advisor, relatives, or even friends about your career switch

Every university has a careers centre with staff members willing to lend you a hand and give you advice, so make sure you take advantage of that help. However, friends and family are also important when in a position such as this, as they can offer personal support while you are on this career-discovering journey.

4. Try and get as much experience in that field as you can 

Girl laptop career change

In short, be proactive. We have all seen that one line on job applications: "must have experience", so whether it is a week of work experience or a summer internship, get yourself out into the world of work. The more experience you gain, the more likely you are to be employed to do your dream job. 

5. Network

Nowadays it is all about who you know, and this will help you to get that dream career in the future. You can make new friends and meet employers by going to networking events, or even by simply setting up a LinkedIn profile and connecting with companies around the world.


Remember: your degree does not define your career, so do not be afraid to follow your curiosity. 


ashley faith fontaine grb author

Ashley Faith Fontaine is an English Literature and Film & Theatre undergraduate at the University of Reading. She has been a Junior Online News Writer for 'This Is Local London,' and as a Study Abroad Ambassador has created a blog for her university's 2017 Summer Scholarship to China.

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