Picture this: you’ve finally achieved your life’s dream of graduating from your pre-med course. You’ve been dreaming of becoming a doctor since you were a kid, after all – from your choice of toys to the medical TV series that you’ve been binge-watching up to your choice of STEM strand and college course, you’ve made up your mind that med school is the ultimate goal after putting on that toga.
But right after you’re done enjoying the graduation euphoria and are thrust back into reality, things started feeling different. Doubts surfaced and questions arose. You started to love reading literature more instead of medical reports. You started writing stories more than brushing up on your math and science.
Not to worry – choosing a path different from your college course is perfectly normal. According to Monster, pursuing a career path outside your major happens a lot and oftentimes employers don’t mind if your course is different from the job you’re applying for. With that being said, take that major leap and learn from these tips:
Choose your career. Before you start sending out your resumes, you’ll first have to figure out what you want to do. Do you want to write, for example? Or are you naturally good at persuading people to sell something? Aside from knowing your strengths and skills, check out in-demand industries or those sectors experiencing massive growth.
Check the qualifications. Remember the skills you’ve learned from your previous course? After you’re done figuring out the field you want to pursue, get to know more about that field and determine what basic skills are needed there. Some fields might need more units that you still need to take; if you’re taking a literary major but you want to take up medicine, you’ll need to rack up a few more science courses so you can qualify for the NMAT, for example. But most of the time, such occupations don’t require you to retake courses.
For additional experience, you can also try volunteering or taking internships that require more training in the process. Although oftentimes these are unpaid, such opportunities will still give you the right skills that will give you a glimpse of what it’s like working in that particular industry.
Widen your network. Instead of creating a brand new network, you can always start from who you know in school! Reconnect with alumni from your school (or you can start with your batchmates) and gather information about a specific industry you’re interested in. You can even reach out to employees who currently have at least five years worth of job experience in the industry you want to be part of.
Broaden your knowledge about the industry. You wouldn’t want prospective employers to know that you’re unaware of what goes on in the industry, right? Keep yourself updated by reading news outlets about the industry you intend to break through, follow key figures from the industry, or talk to others who are more experienced in the field.
Use whatever skills you already have to your advantage. Surely you’ve taken a lot of general subjects during your initial years in college, right? Use these to your advantage! Being an officer in one of your orgs or leading your class for a group project during your college years can be considered as an equivalent job experience.
The same goes for instances where you need to apply to other more specialized fields. If your course is science-related and you want to join the business sector, you can instead focus on problem solving or analytical skills you’ve acquired in college through your general subjects and market your CV around that.
Ultimately, pursuing a career path outside your major is not a foreign concept at all. It is completely normal and doable!