If you didn’t have a specific career path in mind when you applied to university, you probably picked your degree based on what you did best at or enjoyed most in school. Now you’re working towards a degree in biology, philosophy, music, history, or business… and you’re wondering what’s next. Learn more about the sectors your degree can help you get a job in:
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James Uffindell, Bright Network CEO & Founder, explains how your academic choices can open more doors than you think.
As James said, the good news is, for a lot of employers your degree subject isn’t important. They’re far more interested in your enthusiasm, intellect and transferrable skills. Here’s a taster of some roles that are open to all:
Want to know what you can do with your degree specifically? Here's what you can do with a degree in economics, law, maths, history, psychology, engineering, geography, computer science, languages, science and humanities.
Banking, accounting and tax graduate schemes always value diversity – humanities, science and art students bring a lot to the table. You need to have a real interest in business and finance. For investment banking, you’ll ideally start building contacts and experience in your first year.
If you’re a natural leader or organiser, a management training scheme will teach you everything you need to know on the job. Your options span all major companies, as well as the civil service and other public sector organisations. You can also work your way up in any organisation from an entry-level role.
Consultancy trainees start performing simple tasks for an expert team – and in the process, learn about their business sector in incredible depth. You don’t need specific knowledge to get started, but you do need first class analytical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Human resources roles combine law (without the law degree), management (without a management degree), consultancy and people skills. You’ll find routes into the sector in all kinds of commercial graduate schemes.
Marketing & PR
Many large commercial graduate schemes give you the chance to specialise in marketing and PR. As well as designers and writers, who tend to have specific degrees, marketing involves ideas people and analysts. To succeed you’ll need good business instincts and creativity.
The key to sales is caring about what you’re selling. Were you fascinated by drug trials during your biochemistry degree? Congratulations, you can begin your career with a role as a pharmaceutical rep. So long as you’re passionate, outgoing and commercially savvy you don’t need a business degree to go into sales.
One of the most effective ways to stand out to leading employers and give yourself a competitive edge among your peers is with a masters programme from a leading university. Further study not only develops your essential skills but brings you into contact with a network of leading employers, as well as academics working at the cutting edge of your field.
If you're still not quite sure about what you want to do or how your degree fits in, don't worry. Our Career Path Test matches you with roles and sectors that are in line with your values and interests.
If your dream career needs a degree you don’t have, don’t despair – there may be a conversion course option. Conversion courses let you build on the transferrable skills you gained in your first degree and compress the subject knowledge of another degree into a shorter timescale. Here are some that are especially popular:
The Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) is a one-year conversion course that puts anyone with a graduate degree in the same position as a law graduate. Once you complete it, you can take up a training contract to qualify as a solicitor, or you can move into barrister training.
With modules designed and delivered in partnership with Jake Schogger and leading law firms - Clyde & Co, Herbert Smith Freehills, Macfarlanes, Covington, Burges Salmon and Osborne Clarke - this is a great place to gain the knowledge and application advice you need.
A huge number of teachers – particularly in secondary education – get into the profession via the PGCE. The one-year course includes university training and real teaching experience. Usually, you’ll qualify to teach subjects related to your undergraduate degree. However, for some in-demand subjects, you can take a two-year course combining subject knowledge and teacher training.
Learn everything you need to know about teaching with this Bright Network Academy Teaching Sector 101 module, led by Ark Teacher Training.
Medicine is a fast-paced, prestigious career that challenges you to constantly build your skills and grow professionally. It's an amazing opportunity to really help people in a hands-on and incredibly rewarding way. As a graduate, you can qualify as a doctor a year earlier than you could if starting from scratch. Depending on the university, you may need to have studied a science subject. Some accept graduates from any discipline.
Your degree is more versatile than you think
There are a plethora of careers out there and the subject you studied shouldn't limit the breadth of your search; many degrees are a real asset in sectors they're not traditionally associated with.
- Companies want diversity: Companies look for a flexible and diverse workforce that can respond to a range of challenges. By employing people with a variety of degree backgrounds, they ensure everyone brings something unique to the table.
- Graduate schemes give you extensive training: During a graduate scheme (and beyond), employers provide full training and support for you to succeed in your role – no one expects you to walk in the door having mastered the job, no matter your degree.
- You learn more than just your subject at university: We have spoken before about transferable skills – the competencies you pick up while completing your degree that can be applied across a range of careers.
- It’s not what firms are after anyway: Employers are generally much more interested in who you are than what, or even where, you studied. The right degree is no guarantee that you will suit their team, values or way of working. What they look for is motivation, eagerness to learn and soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and initiative.
- There have never been more opportunities to try new things: The best way to find out whether a career is for you and to impress an employer early on is to experience the role first-hand. Opportunities to spend time with an employer have risen in recent years as companies look to entice top candidates and find their potential future stars before they leave university.
Industry experience can be much more valuable than subject knowledge. If you have a clear idea of what you want, don’t waste time worrying that your degree isn’t relevant. Instead, search out internships and work experience placements. That’s what will make your CV stand out.
Whether you're ready to apply for graduate jobs, or you simply want to see what's out there. Browse graduate jobs in your industry and take the next step in your career.