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  • 3m.
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    Landing A Job That's Unrelated To Your Major

    Skills like leadership and communication cut across all careers—and emphasizing these abilities in your cover letter and résumé is the key to getting a job outside your major.
    Updated: April 23, 2015

    What You'll Learn

    • What to emphasize on your résumé.
    • How to use your cover letter to explain your strengths.
    • What you should focus on during your interview.
    A man looking down and writing

    Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. Plenty of people graduate from college, and then pursue jobs that are completely unrelated to their degrees. Once you have your degree in hand, it doesn't mean that you're automatically locked in to a career in that field. If you want to try your hand at something different, you can absolutely do it!

    Your transferable skills—like leadership, communication, creativity, or problem solving—are your keys to changing career paths. Here are a few ways to show a potential employer that you have the skills they're looking for, and that you're qualified to do the job ... regardless of the degree you have.

    Highlight Your Qualifications

    Your résumé should prominently feature all of your skills that relate to the position you're applying for. One way to do this is by including a "Summary Of Qualifications" section at the top of your résumé. Use this space to highlight what you can bring to the position and the company. The employer should be able to read this section of your résumé and immediately understand what skills you can contribute to the role.

    Incorporate Keywords

    Many companies use tracking systems that search for keywords in applicants' résumés. Now that you know this, you can get your résumé noticed just by including the right words on it!

    In many cases, employers will actually tell you what words to use. Look at the job description for the position you're applying to and pick out the words that they use there to describe the candidate they want to hire. Then, just find ways to incorporate some of these words into your résumé. This video explains more about keywords and the importance of using them to your advantage.

    Move Your Education Section

    When it comes to your résumé, you always want to accentuate your strengths. If your degree doesn't support the job you're applying for, you can deemphasize that fact by moving your "Education" section to the bottom of the page. That way, a hiring manager will be more likely to see all of the reasons why he or she should hire you before seeing something that could be perceived as a negative.

    Use Your Cover Letter To Bridge The Gap

    Your cover letter is your chance to explain exactly how your skills relate to the job. Use this opportunity to leave no doubt in the hiring manager's mind that your transferable skills make you the perfect fit. If you need some help writing your cover letter, check out this video.

    Be Prepared For Your Interview

    Before your interview, be sure to take some time to prepare an explanation of why you'll be a great fit for the company and position. You can pretty much count on the interviewer asking why you're seeking a position that diverges from your major (especially if you're a recent graduate), so practice your response to this question with a friend or family member. This is a good idea for handling any tough interview question you may face.

    By making a few simple changes to your résumé, cover letter, and interview approach, you'll be able to score that dream job—no matter what field it's in!

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