How do you cope when your academic degree does not align with your career path?

When I was choosing my specialisation for my master’s degree, I didn’t put much thought into it. I just picked one that seemed exciting and had promising career prospects. However, as I delved deeper into the subject, I realised that I had developed a genuine passion for it and could see myself building a career in the field. Unfortunately, after I graduated, my first job had nothing to do with my degree.

I know of several cases of friends and colleagues whose careers may have started related to the degree earned but, over time, either evolved or changed into something unrelated to their degree.

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Entering a professional field that doesn’t match your educational qualifications can be daunting. After investing time and resources to attain a degree, learning that the associated career path doesn’t match your true aspirations or abilities can be discouraging. Nevertheless, this realisation is not merely a cause for worry—it presents an opportunity for personal growth and exploration.

The following suggestions may help you shift your career trajectory by capitalising on your current abilities and pursuing a new career path that satisfies you.

(1) Self-Realisation

First, it’s essential to grasp the reasons behind the misalignment of your degree and job fulfilment. Consider which elements of your present position clash with your passions or principles. Could it be the sector, the nature of the tasks, or the company culture? Pinpointing the fundamental issues will assist you in navigating towards a profession that resonates with your ambitions.

(2) Assessing your Skills and Interests

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Take some time to assess your competencies, including your technical and interpersonal skills, and consider how they could be applied to different positions or fields. Your academic journey may have equipped you with various skills that could be useful in multiple settings. Additionally, try to identify what genuinely excites you. What activities do you find invigorating? What subjects capture your interest outside of work? These clues can help you discover a career that inspires and energises you.

(3) Explore New Opportunities

Consider the idea of exploring new areas that you have not previously considered. Attend industry-specific events, connect with professionals from various fields, and engage in informative conversations to better understand alternative career paths. These explorations may reveal opportunities that you hadn’t previously considered.

(4) Upskilling and Reskilling

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In today’s constantly changing job market, it is crucial to prioritise ongoing education. This can involve taking advantage of opportunities to upgrade or learn new skills, such as attending online courses and workshops or obtaining additional qualifications if necessary. Developing a skill set that aligns with the career you hope to pursue is essential.

(5) Branding

Creating a personal brand can have a significant impact on your career transition. Take advantage of online platforms to showcase your expertise and interests. Write about topics that inspire you, share your thoughts on social media, and engage with content related to your desired career. This level of visibility can open up new possibilities and connections.

(6) Leveraging your Network

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Your existing network can prove to be a priceless asset. Reach out to old classmates, mentors, and coworkers. Inform them of your career goals and seek their guidance or recommendations. Often, the most unexpected sources can lead to new prospects, and your network can be instrumental in your career shift.

(7) Embracing the Journey

It is essential to embrace the career discovery process as a valuable experience. Every action you take, whether starting a new job, taking a course or attending a networking event, adds to the foundation of your ideal career. Be patient and understand that career paths often take a winding route. With each step, you refine your focus and move closer to a profession that genuinely represents your authentic self.

If your degree doesn’t align with your career goals, don’t worry. It begins a journey towards discovering your true calling and achieving professional success. You can create a fulfilling and rewarding career path by recognising your talents and passions, exploring new opportunities, and committing to ongoing learning. Remember, your degree doesn’t determine your job – your choices, efforts, and enthusiasm are what shape your professional future.

If you are ready to learn something new, certify what you know, network with professionals globally, or take on a new challenge, consider getting a globally recognised master’s degree. Take a look at our list of online programmes and see if we have anything that aligns with your new career path.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and the discounts we might offer.

Sahil Devasia

Sahil Devasia has a bachelor’s degree in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science with an MBA in Marketing. He has a wide gamut of professional experience, from the Merchant Marines to the Banking and Finance industries and has been associated with Robert Kennedy College since 2015.  His favourite song is Bon Jovi’s - It's My Life and his ambition in life is to be the “World’s best Dad”. 

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