Alternative Career Options for UPSC Aspirants

Joanna Tresa

Last Updated: June 18, 2024
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I’m sure it’s been a chaotic couple of months for our aspirants who have been burning the midnight oil for months preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam. While more than 5-6 lakh students appeared for the UPSC Prelims on June 16th, 2024, the sad reality is that only about 1,056 candidates got through. That’s like less than 0.2% of the lot.

It’s no secret that the UPSC exam is known to be one of the most challenging yet most prestigious competitive exams in India. We’ve seen the youth tirelessly preparing with frequent burnouts and lack of sleep. We’ve seen them spending a fortune on coaching classes and study materials, which in most cases has created a financial burden but the passion is what keeps them going. And despite the effort and dedication, the success rate is as low as 1% of candidates who actually make it. 

Given this extremely high level of uncertainty, aspirants still strive towards getting into the top ranks which really shows their grit and ambition. But there’s an underlying factor that isn’t frequently addressed. The glamourous idea of telling the world, “I work in the Army,” or “My daughter is an IAS officer” is often the reason why we want our aspirants to take the plunge and go all out for the UPSC exams. 

But what if they don’t make it? What next? 

Let’s face it – it’s not the end of the world. There’s a plethora of alternatives they can explore. Given aspirants stick with a strong mindset to prepare for the best, it’s also essential to prepare for the not-so-best situations. Simply put, let’s call it Plan B.

While it’s good to cheer them up with a best-of-luck to get through the UPSC exam, we need to help them explore other great options too. Let’s explore a few career alternatives that a UPSC aspirant can pursue, regardless if they’ve made it through or not. If you are a UPSC aspirant, this is for you. And if you know someone who is, share this with them. 

two students studying together for an exam

Career Alternatives in the Government Sector 

In the government sector, you can explore some alternatives that don’t necessarily require a UPSC exam qualification.

State Public Service Commissions (State PSCs)

The State PSCs exams can get a UPSC aspirant into this career. The State Public Service Commissions hire a majority of Group-A officials for state governments, recruit officers for the Group-B cadre, and hold exams for positions in the military, engineering, medicine, and civil services. If an aspirant wants to serve their nation, they can do it by joining other segments of the government too. It might not be as glamorous as clearing the UPSC exam, but it’s a splendid opportunity to serve people differently. So, with the knowledge of UPSC preparation, they can appear for many government examinations like State PSC, SSC CGL, banking, or even government teaching to serve the country in a beautiful way. 

Click here to know more about State PSCs.

Staff Selection Commission (SSC)

The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) conducts the SSC CGL exam every year. There are several SSC CGL posts one can explore: 

  • Assistant Audit Officer  
  • Assistant Accounts Officer  
  • Assistant Section Officer  
  • Railway
  • Assistant  
  • Inspector of Income Tax
  • Assistant Enforcement Officer  
  • Sub Inspector  
  • Junior Statistical Officer  
  • Auditor Offices 
  • Accountant/ Junior Accountant  
  • Senior Secretariat Assistant/ Upper Division Clerks  
  • Tax Assistant 
  • Upper Division Clerks  

The registration window for this exam is still open – it continues till July 24, 2024.

Indian railways

Railway Recruitment Board (RRB)

The Indian Railways offer a great number of job opportunities in the government sector. Typically, the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and the Railway Recruitment Cells (RRCs) are the ones who administer hiring of employees via the RRB exam. Here are a few job roles one can explore in the Indian Railways:

  • Railway Protection Force
  • Accounts Service (clerical and commercial)
  • Assistant Loco Pilot and Technician (best for engineers)
  • Junior Time Keeper
  • Trains Clerk

Career Alternatives in the Private Sector

Who said that an aspirant shouldn’t look for jobs in the private sector? While the government offers an ocean of opportunities, the time and effort one has taken to study for the UPSC exam can certainly apply their knowledge and climb the corporate ladder. Here are a few areas an aspirant can explore:

A woman in a black suit working on her desk

What’s even possible is that one can open their own coaching/tuition centre for future aspirants. It could also be in the form of influencing the masses via social media by being a content creator or influencer. Getting to the point, we’re trying to say that every UPSC aspirant out there has the chance to thrive extremely well in the private sector too. The knowledge and experience gained over time will definitely pay off in fields that go beyond the government sector.

Here’s where you can access a huge library of careers that you can explore.

Exploring Options Beyond

While a UPSC aspirant’s journey can be one filled with intense stress and peer pressure, having a Plan B is the smartest option. We know that some of you would disagree that having a Plan B is for the ones who can’t deal with failure. But honestly, it’s a great way to leverage the skills and knowledge gained during UPSC exam preps into sectors that actually need dedicated and strong-willed professionals. So if you’re a UPSC aspirant or know someone who is, let them know that their UPSC scores do not define them, but they can definitely carve out a successful career path because of their passion to serve the country. 

And if you’re unclear about your options, Mentoria is here to help. If you need some career clarity, we provide a holistic approach that will help you discover a career you’ll absolutely love. 

And lastly – got any questions? 

Feel free to reach out to us: