How to pivot your career direction mid-degree
If you’re midway through your studies and you’re thinking about working in a different industry or specialty than the one you’re studying, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
It’s common to start thinking about different career pathways while you’re studying, and university is the perfect time to explore your options. Besides, just because you’re studying one thing doesn’t mean you can’t have a kickass career in a different field (so long as said field doesn’t have strict entry requirements, obviously – you can’t study business then jump straight to a nursing career, for example).
So how do you start exploring options outside of your current major or degree?
If you’re thinking of changing majors or degrees to pursue a different career path, first do some research. It’s very common for people to end up in positions that aren’t directly related to their initial education, so make a list of job titles you could be interested in and start looking into the types of people who are in these roles, and what they studied.
An easy way to do this is through LinkedIn (and if you don’t already have a LinkedIn profile set up, you should definitely consider creating one). Log on to LinkedIn and search for a job title you’re interested in, select ‘People’ and you should see a list of people who are in that role. Have a browse through their profiles, see what they studied and potentially consider reaching out and expanding your professional network.
Look for some career direction
The next step would be to reach out for some career guidance. Depending on the type of advice you’re looking for you, the first step here would be to book a free ten-minute express appointment with a Peer Career advisor. Appointments can be online or in-person, and the Peer Career Advisors are uniquely positioned to help you find career resources and plan your next steps.
It’s also a good idea to jump on over to the Professional Mentoring Platform and start reaching out to mentors in the field you’re hoping to work in. The platform is free and easy to use, and you don’t need to sign up for any lengthy commitments. Just jump on, find a mentor (or a few mentors) who work in your desired industry and ask them questions about what their industry is like to work in, what they suggest your next steps are, and how your current studies and experience might translate to your chosen field.
Build your network and experience
Exploring your options while you study is a great idea. Depending on the type of work you want to go into, check out the different clubs and societies at UTS. For example, if you’re studying law but are interested in learning more about banking or finance, you could look at joining (or even just speaking to) someone in the Banking and Finance Society. These groups are great options to meet and chat with other students who may have similar aspirations to you, so you can learn about new opportunities to advance your career options.
You could also investigate getting work experience in the industry you want to work in. Many companies are open to hiring students from broader backgrounds, especially in entry-level roles. Check out CareerHub to explore current job opportunities with employers looking to hire UTS students.
Register for events
Throughout the year, there are a number of career-centric events available to students – either hosted by clubs and societies, UTS Careers and other UTS departments, or employers themselves. These events are often open to a wide variety of students, so you can attend to gain a greater understanding of the field you’re thinking of pivoting to.
In particular, employer events are great if you have an idea of the sort of organisations you might like to work for in the future. Employers often host Q&A or panel events about their graduate programs, and attending one can give you keen insights into the types of candidates they hire, their recruitment practices and how you can land a job with them. Keep an eye on the events page of CareerHub and the UTS Careers newsletter to stay up-to-date with what’s coming up.
To conclude, deciding to pivot your career direction mid-way through your studies is definitely not the end of the world. Before deciding you need to ditch your major and start over, try some of the suggestions above and see how far a bit of time, effort and your transferable skills can take you.
By Mia Casey