Do you know an idea that many old-school Filipinos don’t particularly subscribe to? It’s this: Your career doesn’t have to be aligned with your degree to be successful. Even the boxed ideation that a college degree is a prerequisite to propel one to success is obsolete. In this age of the internet, there’s much room to expand your horizon and work your way up.

If you happen to land a career that’s far from your major, here’s the first thing you should do. Don’t panic. The only thing blocking you from your pursuit of success is Imposter Syndrome. This is the internal experience of doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.

How many times have we heard success stories where their fortune didn’t come from their education? Possibly too many to count. But that’s exactly the thing. There’s no link between your success and your college major, or lack thereof. Below, we’ll look into tips to help you succeed in a job that has nothing to do with your major.

6 Tips to Help You Be Successful in Job Unrelated With Your Major

See, college students worked their bums off to secure their degrees. This gave them the training and credentials required to fulfill the position related to their education. Succeeding in an unfamiliar environment and foreign workplace responsibilities requires the same grit from you. Nobody magically shifts careers and happens to succeed right off the bat. You have to put in the same effort. Here are some ways to do that:

If you’re wondering if I have the audacity to share these tips, know that I am a BS Accountancy graduate who first entered the world of an auditing firm before making a drastic shift to contrasting careers such as marketing a local resort, banking, and steel-selling.

1. Read

Think of colleges and universities this way. They’re institutions that relay dissected, digested, and interpreted information from books down to the students. Everything your professors know came from a set of publications (and personal experience).

Reading is one of the best solutions to succeed in a job you’re unfamiliar with and under-qualified for. For example, you have a degree in Agriculture. You spent 4 years of your life, possibly more, dealing with plants, fertilizers, and all the scientific concepts surrounding them. Then you found a particular proclivity for content writing so you applied and landed a job in an advertising agency. Books can help hone your skills to fit more snuggly in the position. For instance, fiction books can open your eyes to better ideas and otherworldly story-telling angles. Regardless of the position, books are always a great go-to for some learning!

2. Find A Mentor

Like I said above, professors relay information that came from two things: publications and experience. In other words, reading books is one thing, but learning from experience is another thing entirely. Experts who have come before and have gone through the same spot you’re in can help.

When I had my first mentor who taught me how to create and navigate a successful blog, one of the first things I looked for were his track records of building a lucrative blog and if he had already reached the crossover point (having passive income greater than living expenses)

Your mentor can either be within the company or someone external who has extensive experience in the industry. There are tons of communities where you can connect with one like Facebook, Reddit, and LinkedIn, to name a few. Since you’re the one in need of them, be bold enough to shoot them a message and engage.

3. Get A Certification

The only thing that degree holders have that you don’t is credentials. For most people, this could be the deal breaker that secures or loses the job for you.

Qualified but no civil service? Job’s not yours. Equipped but no P.R.C. license? The position’s not for you.

Stings, doesn’t it? But you can’t argue with the rules. Getting certification from approving bodies can help prop yourself up for success. Of course, the certification you get should be related to your line of work. For instance, getting a Google Ads Certification means Google recognizes you as an expert in advertising. Not all jobs, however, have certification courses.

4. Engage in OJT Training

One thing that B.P.O. friends mentioned briefly that somehow stuck onto me is that the companies always offer training to get you geared up and ready for the job. Call centers in particular have a month-long onboarding session to immerse you into the culture and the industry.

During this period they’ll teach you everything you need to know to GET STARTED. Naturally, your industry may be different from B.P.O. The point is that, if there is training made available, avail them. 

5. Develop New Skills

Building from the previous point, OJTs are meant to help you get started. What you do beyond that point is your call. If you decide to outgrow what you learned and improve your skills, you’ll reap the benefits. Otherwise, remaining stagnant will only make you suffer the pitfalls.

Skills are applied concepts. You want to put everything you learn into physical practice. Therefore, the only way to develop a skill is to actually do it, and do it repeatedly. This includes whatever things you learn from books and every training you received.

6. Expand Your Network

Let’s cut the crap and be real. In this society, success remains equivocal. We can blabber about skills and talent all we want, but without the right people to see us through, it can be a rocky way up top. Expanding your network means engaging with the right people—building relationships with people who “can get you there,” if you catch my drift.

Because this year when people are fighting for equal rights and opportunities, sadly, the workplace abides by the same principles: It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.

So are tip numbers 1 to 5 all BS? No. You need the skills to succeed. Having a strong support system and knowing the right people adds the cherry on top. So when you get where you want, you’ll have the skill set to make up for it. Succeeding in your career is possible, even if it’s unrelated to your major or you don’t have a formal degree. The only problem is that it will take a much deeper effort on your part to get there. The question is: do you have what it takes?

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By Ameena Rey-Franc

Recognized as one of the Top Finance Blogs in the PH. Ameena Rey-Franc (founder of TTP) is a former Banker and BS Accountancy graduate turned Blogger, Keynote Speaker, and entrepreneur. Currently an RFP delegate, she is also the Author of a book about Financial Resilience and has held seminars for reputable companies like GrabFoodPH, Pru Life UK, VISA, JPMorgan Chase& Co., Paypal, Fundline, Moneymax, and many more. The Thrifty Pinay's mission is to empower women to LEARN, EARN, and be FINANCIALLY-INDEPENDENT no matter what life stage they are in.