How to find a Career outside of your field of Study

Guest blog by York graduate, Dan Weston, Senior Consultant at TRM Recruitment

Are you coming towards the end of your time at the University of York? Have you got that sinking feeling that you have enjoyed your course, but you just don’t know what to do next? That was me back in 2014, exactly like you, coming to the end of my degree and thinking “what next?”

As a Law student with no interest in pursuing the legal route I was at a loss, eager to find work but with no idea of what to do, I began applying aimlessly to various grad schemes. After a number of notable failures (I was rejected from a well-known retail chain for being too money motivated) I found myself in the world of Financial Services recruitment. Fast forward almost 5 years and I am a specialist Graduate recruiter and am asked every day by those coming to the end of their studies “how do I pick a career?” My advice is clear – KEEP IT SIMPLE. Reflect on the 3 questions I’ve outlined below, and you can’t go too far wrong.

What motivates you?

After being rejected from the well-known retail chain graduate scheme for being too money motivated, I realised that long term financial benefit really was the most important thing to me. Having grown up without the privilege of financial stability around me, this was the first thing that I wanted to achieve and was ultimately how I would determine my own success. I know this is not the case for everyone, so if you’re reading this thinking you don’t care about money that’s fine! Everyone is motivated by something, and that something is personal and comes from the experiences you have had in your life so far. Reflect on the things that motivate you, the things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning. Money, progression, helping people, making a difference…whatever it is, use that as your starting point. When you understand what motivates you, the rest should follow.

What do you enjoy doing?

As a teenager I was pushed into being my school’s public speaker because I loved talking, preferably really loudly and in a way that convinces other people that I’m right. I knew by the time I got to University that this was my real passion. This is an interest shared by some, but not by others. Again, if you are reading this thinking “but I really don’t like speaking to people” that’s fine! This is all about what matters to the most important person, YOU. Focus on what you DO enjoy, and you can’t go too far wrong. Some people will naturally feel a fire in their stomach when they think about something that they enjoy doing, but this isn’t the case for everyone. From my experience people broadly fall into 2 camps, those that enjoy words and those that enjoy numbers. Think about what camp you fall into and from there begin to narrow it down in a funnel like process. After doing this you should get to the heart of what you really enjoy doing.

What skills do you have?

During my time at York I had an infamously bad experience as the Goodricke football team captain. Between 2010 and 2014 my team didn’t manage to score a goal from open play in the College Cup. It was at this point I realised I was not destined for a career as Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man. Think about the strengths that you do have and really focus on them, there is no worse feeling than arriving at an interview to find you are not an effective skills match for the role. If you are at a loss for what your skills are, speak to those around you. Your course leaders, housemates, friends from home and family should all know you well enough to give you a solid overview of the skills they believe you have. Whatever route you choose to follow, you will be given training so if you are lacking in some of the skills for the job you think you want, don’t panic because there should be time to fix this. There will be multiple skills involved in most jobs, so it makes sense to pick one which does fit at least part of your skillset.

This three-step process will equip you with the tools to begin your search. But remember, this is YOUR career and no one else’s. Place importance on your motivations, reflect on what you enjoy doing and think carefully about the skills that you have. Now you’re ready to find your career outside of your field of study!

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the Recruitment industry, please do reach out to me directly at