Image via Vogue
It’s not easy to get a job without rigorous training, but it’s not impossible to get a job without a four-year degree. If you can’t (or would prefer not to) get a degree in the field you’re looking to move into, there are ways around it:
Pick a direction and set goals based around it.
If you’re going to jump into something without having studied it, you’re going to need clear goals. What do you really want to do? Deciding this might not make the path to that career any easier (careers aren’t ladders, they’re jungle gyms) but it will allow you to decide smaller, manageable steps to make the leap into the new career you want. Steps like identifying companies you want to work with, reaching out to people who have the job you want, and what you need to learn to become a competitive candidate, are all very important!
Be prepared to work really, really hard.
Dreams are worth nothing without putting your pedal to the metal. In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell argues that anyone—the Beatles, Bill Gates, even you—becomes who they become because they invest 10,000 hours in their craft. If you are going to get by with an unrelated degree (or none at all) you’re going to have to work much harder to prove yourself. It’s not enough just to make lists of things to do; you need to put in the hours. You can’t afford to be lazy!
Put 10% of what you have back into yourself.
10% of your salary should go into savings, and 10% of your time should be invested in yourself. As mentioned, you need to be working hard, and part of that will be bettering yourself to jump into a job you want. Find out what technical and soft skills are desired in the role you want, then develop them. Take an evening course, watch lectures online, take out books from the library. Do whatever you can to become the ideal candidate a company would want.
Change the conversation.
If you’ve got a degree, but it’s not in the field that you want to move into, you’ve got to make your experience applicable. If you’re an assistant at an accounting firm and you want to move into PR, think about how you can make yourself a desirable candidate, you talk more in-depth about your work with clients, the memos you’ve drafted in your role, or how you use social media in your spare time. Simply by researching what you would be doing in the role you want, you’ll be able to convince employers you can do what they need.