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I just graduated but don’t want to stay in my field. How can I pursue a career outside of my specific area of training?

Samina Azad, ACS Career Consultant
Samina Azad, ACS Career Consultant

Most employers are interested in hiring smart and self-motivated people fresh out of school and training them on-the-job to help prepare for the role. There are quite a few positions in industry that do not specify any major. Do your homework and search and analyze the job postings and network with people who are already in the career you are looking at. 

Your educational background doesn’t always need to match the job duties as long as you can convince the employer that you have some relevant work experience, the right set of behavioral skills, a lot of interest in working with them and many transferable skills that make you perfect for the role. A few common strategies:

  • Intern to get some work experience
  • Volunteer to pick up some relevant skills
  • Tailor your resume for the role

Maybe you want to pursue a career in marketing rather than the traditional bench chemistry. You can volunteer at a non-profit organization and help with their marketing efforts to pick up the relevant skills. College is not about training you in the exact tasks that match your future work - it’s really to help you build the problem solving and critical thinking skills that are essential in most jobs today. Understand your values, interests and strengths, and keep learning as you go!

This article has been edited for length and clarity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of their employer or the American Chemical Society.

ACS Career Consultants are experts and leaders working in the field of chemistry who have volunteered to support other ACS members’ career development through one-on-one career counselling. They can stimulate your thinking, ask important career planning questions to help clarify goals, provide encouragement, teach strategies for making meaningful career decisions, and aid you in your job search. Connect with an ACS Career Consultant today!

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