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From engineering to fintech: Here's how I successfully landed jobs unrelated to my degree

From engineering to fintech: Here's how I successfully landed jobs unrelated to my degree
PHOTO: Pixabay

I remember it was the last year of uni when it all started.

“So… where are you headed?”

“What are you planning to do after graduation?”

“Which industry are you looking at?”

At that point, I was almost finishing my four year degree in Chemical Engineering, a field I found fascinating, yet not something I was ready to embrace as my career.

While I knew it wasn’t something I was particularly keen on, it was definitely not easy harbouring the thought that something I’ve slogged for four years could possibly go down the drain.

It also felt like I was supposed to make this HUGE life decision at the prime age of 23, and this decision could potentially cause a ripple effect on the rest of my life.

All of us choose our degrees for different reasons.

Some for passion, some for practicability.

Regardless, there might come to a point where we do not want to do what we studied in school.

For me, I was an engineering graduate who went into the arts & heritage sector before dipping my toes into the FinTech industry.

Here’s how I managed to secure jobs that were unrelated to my degree.

1. Be committed to your own decisions

It can be very intimidating venturing into industries that are unrelated to your field of study.

This is because it can feel like you’re starting from scratch again.

Do know that you’re not alone in this!

In fact, a YouGov study showed that over half (53 per cent) of Singaporean graduates work in jobs unrelated to their degrees.

While it is great that what you’re studying is what you want to do, know that your degree does not define your future path.

There will also be a lot of well-meaning comments from the people around you during your journey of discovering what you want to do next.

What is important is to know what you want for yourself , and stay committed to your own decisions.

And keep your mind at it once you’ve selected your direction.

One important thing I’ve learnt during my decision-making process is that I can never be 100 per cent prepared for this switch as well.

But what I made sure I did was to identify what I want and stick to my decision afterwards.

2. Recognise that your inexperience could be your edge

Instead of thinking that your degree is trash, you’ll be heartened to know that more employers are becoming more aware of the beauty of diversity within a group.

A group of employees with similar backgrounds and experiences could result in a lack of creativity.

Your unique set of skills that were picked up from your field of study could complement the team well, providing insight and crafting strategies in different ways which could potentially create breakthroughs.

In short, your perceived inexperience could very well be your edge instead!

3. Focus on your transferable skills

One biggest worry when we do something entirely different is the lack of relevant skills.

If you’re a fresh graduate who is looking for an entry-level role, rest assured that employers are not expecting a full range of skills from you.

Most employers would recognise that time and experience is required to develop certain skill sets.

That being said, it is important to focus on the transferrable skill sets that you have developed over the years through your studies and work experiences.

For instance, being an engineering student has taught me a lot in areas like being a quick problem-solver, paying attention to detail and being creative with solutions.

These skills would not only help me in engineering roles but also in other types of jobs as well.

My internship experiences and previous part-time work experiences were also handy when it came to job applications.

Transferable skills can come from different areas, even from volunteering experiences, leadership roles, co-curricular involvement, interpersonal skills and activities, or side hustles.

4. Know how to sell yourself

With the current society getting increasingly competitive, the more difficult it is to stand out from the crowd.

Which is why it is super important to know how to sell yourself.

If you’re clueless about where to get started for that, one way you can do so is through your resume .

It is commonly said that an average hiring manager spends six seconds reading a resume.

Yes, six seconds.

Which means a super short time to make an impression.

For me, I usually tailor my cover letter to the main requirements of the job description of roles I was applying for.

This includes showcasing the skills I have that are most relevant to the position.

Also, one tip I’ve learnt is to identify common keywords and phrases used in the industry and try to include them whenever possible.

In addition, I would customise my resume to fit the company for roles I’m highly interested in.

The visual difference could be eye-catching and refreshing for hiring managers who have been through hundreds of similar ones.

Whatever you’re bringing to the table, make sure to showcase how your skills are an asset for the position you’re after.

It’s almost like a good first date – gotta sell yourself and make it count!

5. Get started on your interests

For me, I had the luxury to pick a career that I am genuinely interested in.

In fact, one of the reasons why I was hired for my current role was through a side project which I’ve started purely out of personal interests.

Which I never ever thought could one day aid me in my job hunting process.

Given how unexpected this was, something I’ve learnt is that if you have something that interests you and you have been procrastinating for the longest time on whether to get started, just get started.

Stop! Holding! It! Off!

You wouldn’t know when it’ll benefit you in the strangest, yet most surprising ways.

And one very good way to prove your interest (if you’re going for a role you have an interest in) is through side hobbies, side hustles and projects that you can present to prospective employers.

Because it’s not exactly possible (or logical) to fake your interest if you have a solid track record to prove yourself.

6. Be genuine

Another thing I’ve learnt through the job interviews that I had was the importance of being genuine .

While it sounds like a no-brainer, this is something I find incredibly important and useful in my success with job applications.

It is common for us to want to impress prospective employers and put on our ‘best’ fronts for them.

But do remember that an interview is a two-way street.

Being yourself would allow the company to see whether you’re a good fit for them and whether your goals do align with one another.


Since I’ve been interviewing for positions that I have a genuine interest in, it was easier for me to be confident and excited during my interview process, which are things that companies do take note of and are able to tell.

It’s almost as if hiring managers could sniff out whether you’re being authentic.

With that, I was also able to be more precise with what I like about the job roles that I applied for, as well as my knowledge of the industry and company.

If you’re interviewing for a role that you are not too familiar with, one good way to gather more information is to sign up for industry-related newsletters to be updated on the latest news and information.

All in all, always be gracious, humble and eager during your interviews!

This article was first published in Seedly.

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