Coach’s Corner: Myth Busting Tip of the Week

Myth: It is more important to have the right degree type on your resume than the experiences to get a job in the field you want.

Often having a particular degree type is a frequent listing in the “Preferred Qualifications” section of a job posting. And it is just that…. “Preferred.” That does not mean that 1) having that degree will for sure get you an interview and 2) that it outweighs the opportunity to showcase the applicable and necessary skills that employers want you to have. Getting a degree is an accomplishment that already speaks volumes about your determination and ability to learn. What it does not alone show is how you apply what you learn or what you have done outside the classroom to gain the skills that will make you successful in a role.

Yes, there is a slight disclaimer is that sometimes a degree, or more often, certification will matter to move forward in a process (Completing a particular certification or course work to be a lawyer, or a teacher for example). But many times, and for a wide variety of roles, the degree title on your resume may not be as important as the outside experiences you gain while you’re in college. This can include volunteering, nuanced classes that you take outside of your major, part-time/full-time work, extracurricular experiences, and self-led projects that when shown on a resume can tell an employer that you do have the desired skill set.

So, want a coding job but not in the Computer Science program? Start to look at position descriptions and see what skills they are wanting and what tasks you’ll be doing in the role. Then seek out opportunities to gain those skills. Take LinkedIn Learning courses in the subject (it’s free for current UW students!). Create a personal portfolio of projects that you completed yourself. Network with other professionals in the field you are aiming for. Craft a strong resume and cover letter content that demonstrates your abilities that align with the role. There are so many ways to get the skillset that employers are asking for.

TLDR; It is absolutely doable to get a role in a field that does not match your degree. Myth busted.

By Brittany Gaalema (She/Her)
Brittany Gaalema (She/Her) Career Coach