Q: Does my field of study matter when it comes to job search?
A: Of course it matters! But instead of asking whether the field of study matters when it comes to job search, the question should be how much impact and to what extent does my field of study affect my chance of getting hired?
Suppose that you study software engineering and you are applying for a marketing role at a company that specializes in building software for other businesses. You may actually have a competitive edge against other candidates since you have an adequate understanding of software!
Now imagine that you want to apply for a marketing role at a retail company that sells baby products. In this case, your chance of out-competing the other candidates are probably lower because software engineering is completely unrelated to baby products. However, you can still secure the job if you do have an abundance of marketing experience up your sleeve. When you have previous marketing experience, you nullify the disadvantage of not having a marketing degree. Note that your degree is not the main factor that employers look at; your degree is only an add-on advantage. Your experience in the field always come first.
Q: What if I still want to have that add-on advantage?
A: Using the same scenario as above, you can easily fill the marketing degree gap through workshops, online courses, acceleration courses, boot camps, etc. You could check out free webinars hosted by marking companies, read marketing books, or simply go online and sign up for marketing blogs and tutorials written by senior marketing leaders from around the world. The thing to note here is that your college/university courses are not the only place you can obtain knowledge and expertise. A marketing certificate and recommendation letter obtained from completing an intensive marketing course could be as valuable as a marketing degree. In some cases even more so as traditional academia can be quite focused on the theoretical while certificate courses and webinars are geared towards professionals that need the knowledge and expertise to run and streamline day-to-day operations and processes.
Q: Where can I accumulate relevant experience if it’s unrelated to my field of study?
A: Again, using the same scenario. You could always utilize the resources around you to obtain relevant experience. If you are looking for experience unrelated to your field of study, volunteering is a good place to start. Try applying for the volunteer marketing positions of software engineering clubs, or volunteer at software conferences and workshops for events marketing experience. Volunteers are always in high demand and usually less concerned about your academic background.