Your degree is more versatile than you think

Focused on finance after graduating in Economics or chasing consultancy with a Business degree? 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. Here are five reasons why you should consider all the possibilities...

1. 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.

For example you don't need to study Law to join a law firm. In fact most firms hire an even split of law and non law graduates and are proud of their diversity. Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May claims to have 126 different degrees among their lawyers.

Your unusual degree could even give you the edge in some industries. Engineers and scientists have crucial skills they can bring to the realm of intellectual property law.

2. 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.

One of the fastest growing areas in the already booming Professional Services industry is Technology Consulting. These consultants help other businesses successfully implement and take advantage of new technology, from gathering and interpreting Big Data to Cyber Security initiatives. You don’t need a computing degree to make it here; all subjects are considered and business and people skills are just as important as an affinity for technology.

In fact, the reason graduate schemes don’t tend to take students who have been out of university for more than a couple of years is that they want to work with graduates who don’t know everything. The most important attribute is a willingness to learn.

3. 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.

Skills such as research, presenting and written and verbal communication are the foundation of most academic disciplines and also the basis of a great career. A university education teaches you how to learn and how to work, which can take you nearly anywhere.

4. 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 than 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.

Instead of looking for a job with employers that only fits your degree, find a role that suits your strengths and preferences and a company whose values line up with your own. Factors such as company culture, location and salary are far more important in the long term.

5. 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.

More than two thirds of Britain’s top employers provide paid internships to penultimate year undergraduates and more than half offer work experience to first year students – either via paid internships and vacation placements or through open days, short introductory courses or insight schemes.

Employers will also visit campuses to show you what they can offer. Don’t pass up these opportunities; every meeting or experience is a chance to learn more and even if you decide a role isn’t for you are still one step closer to a bright career you may have not considered.

Next: Six firms that don't mind what you studied