9 Tips for Getting a Job in a Field You Don't Have a Degree in ...

Finding yourself without a job after graduating college may have left you looking frantically for tips for getting a job anywhere you can, even in a field you have no experience in. I know the feeling girls! I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics after initially being very interested in health, even though my lifelong dream career and talent has been writing. I minored in journalism but changed routes last minute, which probably wasn’t the smartest thing, but I’m grateful to have a background and interest in two areas I’m passionate about. I also found that getting a degree in one field doesn’t mean you have to base your career in it if you can’t find a job in the field. I spent three years searching for a local job in nutrition and came up empty. I found the only options out there were mainly government based jobs that were underpaid positions for the amount of work I’d put myself in through school. I also found that the jobs didn’t match my personality at all. This left me looking for jobs in areas I had no experience in, until I could finally find a job in a field I was passionate about, which was of course, writing! If you’ve found yourself in a similar situation, then I’ve got some great tips for getting a job in a field you have no experience in. I worked various odds and ends job in areas I had no expertise in for three years, even in the midst of a hard economy. No, they weren’t my dream job that I have now, but they did pay the bills for the time being. Check out these tips and let me know if you have any!

1. Networking

One of the best tips for getting a job you’ll ever receive from anyone is what the power of networking can do for your career search. I’m sure many of you have heard the saying, “It’s all in who you know”, and there is great truth behind that statement. It can be challenging to get a job in a field without experience, especially if we're a stranger to the company, and to the people who work there. Start your job search with the people you know. Where do they work? Is there somewhere they work that interests you? Or, does someone you know have a connection with another person at a place you're interested in working? Make connections and make everyone you know aware that you’re looking for a job. Then, tell them directly face to face if you’re applying at the company and have them put in a good word for you.

2. Researching

One excellent tip I learned while interviewing for jobs many years ago was to research the company before I applied. Do a little background work, an Internet search, and then go for your interview. Be sure to include information you learned about the company into your interview. By being aware of the company's history and their business goals, policy, etc., they will see you've done your homework and that you’re interested in more than just an interview. Employers come across tons of applicants. The ones who know more and seem interested always stand out.

3. Learning Skills

If you’re heading into a field you have no background in, it never hurts to learn a few skills in the area you’re applying for first. For instance, if you’re applying for a secretary job, try to brush up on your typing skills before you apply in case you have to take a typing test. Or, if you’re applying for a customer service position somewhere, be sure you brush up on your people skills and that you’re familiar with how to use all basic office equipment. Another tip I’ve found useful is to make sure you know the basic formats behind all word processing systems like Microsoft Office programs, and even Mac programs like Pages, and Keynote, for example. Then, put this on your resume so the employer can see you have experience in a wide range of computer systems. Before I landed a job at a local newspaper as a journalism major, I worked on my grammatical skills, interviewing techniques, and even revamped my wardrobe beforehand to make the right impression. Good skills will show employers that although your degree isn’t in the field, your skills most certainly are.

4. Being Personable

Everyone likes someone who is friendly! Don’t go overboard, but put on a smile, stick out your hand and greet your potential employer with a firm, confident handshake. Say “Yes Ma’am” and “No Sir” like your mama taught you to, and always remember someone’s name. When you call back to follow up on your interview, it always helps to know the interviewer's entire name, and even get the secretary or office assistant's name while you’re at it. Trust me, an office secretary can make all the difference in getting you into see a future employer or getting them on the phone. Make friends with them! Also, notice something in your interviewer’s office. A certain sport’s theme, a plaque of where they got their degree, a flower on their desk, etc. Give them a compliment, or take interest in something you see. A great example is “ Oh, I see you’re a Braves fan; my dad always loved that team.” This won’t sound fake since you can genuinely see they have an interest in the team, as long as you don't lie either. Don't say your dad liked the team if he didn't, for example. They could ask you who is favorite player is and if you come up blank, it'll be a dead give away. Notice an item and make a casual, honest comment about it. It will break down barriers and create a conversation to lighten the mood. It also gives the impression that you're aware and observant, which employers always like.

5. Getting Social

Immediately before or after you interview with a company, you should connect with them on all social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. If they have a newsletter, subscribe to it, and if they hold local events, attend them. This is very important because the more familiar with you they are, the more likely you could land a job. Even if the job is in a field you know nothing about, or have little interest in, social media can make a huge difference in connecting you with a potential employer. You should also consider posting your resume to Craigslist and let everyone you know on your LinkedIn page be aware that you're looking for a job. LinkedIn is career networking central, and if you're not a part of any social media sites other than this one during your job search, be sure you join now!

6. Revamp Your Resume

Revamping your resume is always a good idea, no matter what job you’re interviewing for. Whatever you do, keep your resume honest. Job employers are smart and they will find out if you tweaked the truth, or just downright lied on your resume. Instead, fine tune your resume to fit what the employer is looking for in an honest, creative manner. If it is a social or customer service job you're interviewing for, be sure to state all areas where you have been able to exhibit customer service or social skills. If it is a leadership job, reword your resume to show how you lead others in any other jobs you had previously. For example, I once interviewed for a office administrator position and I made sure to emphasize past jobs I held where I had to regularly perform administrative tasks, and lead an office team of 10 people each day. Though my job position wasn’t an administrator, I still performed tasks that were related. My future employee was impressed by these skills I had to partake in as a basic secretary, and I got the job as the office administrator. If you don’t tell your future employee what your experience is, they won’t know. Be sure and fill them in with your resume. You’ll also want to keep it brief and only list the last three to four jobs you have to keep things concise.

7. Take Interest

You should genuinely have some type of interest in the field you’re applying in. I know what it is like to have to apply for a job that barely paid the bills, but would just have to do at the moment. Those days are some of the hardest I ever had, and it was difficult at first to take an interest when things seemed so desperate. No matter how hard it is to find a job, one of the most important things to do wherever the job ends up being, is to take an interest in the place you’re applying. Be nice to customers there, the employees, walk in as though you're proud to be there, and be proud to have a job, even if it isn’t the one you dreamed up or went to school for.

8. Apply for More than One Kind

If you’re out and about looking for jobs, don’t apply for just one kind. Branch out a little and step out of your comfort zone. Apply for jobs you never considered before. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and to step out of the box a little. It is here you might discover your new found passion! Also, apply for as many as you can that are convenient for you to travel to or commute from. Don’t be too picky when applying for jobs. With all the applicants out there, it is important you put as many irons in the fire, so to speak, as you can.

9. Be Open Minded

Lastly, try to embrace this opportunity with an open mind. Something you never thought about doing before could be right at your fingertips. Take out every judgement you’ve ever had about working in a certain area, and then remove the idea that you have to work in your degree field. What are your opportunities? What could you learn through different fields? What other interests do you have? How could you go about finding jobs in this area? Embracing an open mind can lead to a world of possibilities and you'll never know until you try!

It can be so scary to look for a job you have no experience in. One last tip I have is to look towards what you’re passionate about. What could you do in your free time when you’re not doing anything else? Is there a career you could work in with this same interest at heart? Then, go for it! Have you ever held a job in a field you had no experience in?