How to Apply for a Job If You're Coming from an Unrelated College Course

Below, Communications Manager Pia Gajasan shares how high school graduates, college undergrads, and even fresh grads can land a job if they are coming from a different field.
by Ysabel Y. Yuzon   |  Feb 20, 2021
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A lot of people often feel pressured to choose the right college course, assuming their career path will be entirely dependent on this monumental decision. But while four years of studyng something will definitely give you an advantage, so can your unique take on the job because of your diverse background. Besides, you can always find other ways to make yourself more qualified, as Pia Gajasan, Communications Manager at TELUS International Philippines, shares from experience. "We have former nurses who are supporting healthcare accounts, but we also have team members with medical backgrounds involved in IT, learning excellence, HR, and sales."

5 Things we learned about landing a job in a different industry

Below, Gajasan shares how high school graduates, college undergrads, and even fresh grads can land a job if they are coming from a different field.

1. Tell a story with your resume.

"Adding opening remarks or an objectives section is a good way to communicate your general idea of the work experience and career development path you want to have with this role you are applying for," says Gajasan.

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"The same holds true when sitting in front of an interviewer. Take that opportunity to talk about what motivates you, and present your credentials so that they highlight not just your technical skills, but your soft skills and values as well."

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2. Put yourself out there.

Sometimes, the best opportunities come just by being at the right place at the right time, but that doesn't happen if you remain where you are, and we don't mean physically. Virtually, you can still attend talks or workshops, join interest groups that can expand your horizons, and even listen to podcasts by industry experts.

"The bottomline is, don’t turn down opportunities for learningeven if the experience or skill you will pick up is not necessarily related to the role you are currently doing. That also includes taking advantage of training, upskilling, or mentoring programs available to you and the organization you applied to," says Gajasan.

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3. Work experience is not limited to a 9-5, or paid gigs. Take it one step at a time, just make sure you move forward.

"For fresh grads or undergraduates, a lot of them also struggle with what to answer when the work experience question pops up because they might have limited to no work experience yet. It’s important not to forget that there are other opportunities you may have had to learn and grow, such as participating in internship programs and extracurricular activities, having a side hustle, or doing volunteer work.

"If you’re targeting to land a role that might be unrelated to the degree you completed, there are a number of ways to compete with other applicants.

"Starting and completing/maintaining a related project might be worth exploring. Want to apply as a Customer Service Associate for a social media company but you studied BS Economics? Why not start your own blog, or keep your personal social media accounts active and invest more time, thought and effort in the content you produce. Or, if you want to work in the IT and Digital Solutions industry but you graduated with a degree in Communications, apply for an entry level position in that industry, find workshops or even online tutorials to boost your technical skills, build your network, keep yourself updated on relevant tech news, look for a mentor, and volunteer for projects that can help you pad your resume towards your dream job."

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4. Find a company that will allow you to be your *best* self.

Remember that the employer-employee relationship goes both ways, so aside from thinking about whether you're right for the job, consider if the job (or company) is right for you. Every company has its own work culture, and finding one that suits your lifestyle and personality will make a huge difference in your day-to-day life.

According to Gajasan, TIP is often a good fit for those seeking longevity and career growth. Aside from offering tuition assistance, they also invest in their team members' futures. "Having a company that promotes lateral career advancements as well as the traditional hierarchical, climbing-the-ladder career path allows our team members to explore growth opportunities they may not have discovered if they didn’t look beyond the opportunities that are related only to their educational background."

Of course, you could have different priorities (proximity to your home, flexible hours, a good mentorship program, health benefits or insurance, etc.), and that's totally okay. Just make sure you factor these in when choosing which job to take.

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5. Be adaptable.

If there's one quality employers will look for now, it's adaptability. And you can only be adaptable if you're informed. "I can’t emphasize enough the importance of becoming a lifelong learner. If you think about it, after you graduate from college, the need to grow and to evolve your capabilities becomes even more significant once you enter the workforce.

"The leaders of the future, in what would be the post-COVID era, must possess the skills and grit to deliver results, but also be adaptable enough so they learn more competencies, and technical and soft skills to deal with constantly-evolving challenges."

*The interview was condensed for clarity.

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Ysabel Y. Yuzon
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