Earning a degree in Psychology is an exciting endeavor but can oftentimes leave recent graduates a bit stumped on where to begin their job search. This is because the field of Psychology is so diverse that there is no one place for finding psychology jobs. Depending on your degree, your area of interest and your previous experience, your job search will be a fairly unique experience compared to others in the field. By matching your search to your uniquely qualifying package, your search will be a much smoother process.
Understanding the Field
Finding a psychology-related job after graduation depends on the exact degree that you have earned. The more education that you have the better chances of landing a job related to the field. In fact, in 2003 the National Science Foundation reported that only 5 percent of graduates with a BS degree in Psychology actually got a job in the field. This does not translate to “unemployable,” however, as your BS degree in Psychology actually proves that you have a lot of valuable and transferrable skills.
Just as important as understanding what your degree may warrant it is also important to understand the area of Psychology that you are entering. Clinical Psychology is vastly different from Counseling Psychology, which is also, coincidentally, very much different from mental health counseling. By the time you have earned the degree to match the name you will surely know the difference, but as you are taking steps to begin your job search in Psychology it is important to be very specific as you apply.
Job Search Tips
Searching for a job related to Psychology can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. There are thousands of positions scattered all over the country and it can be difficult to suss out which postings are best for you. Here are some easy ways to focus your attention during your job search:
- Connect with your personal contacts – Your job search actually begins well before the moment you send out your resume because it begins by building your support network. Every step of the way to earning your degree—and landing that job—should be treated as an opportunity to network. Whether it’s the pastor’s wife at church, your best friend’s mother, the supervisor of your volunteer program or an actual employer makes no difference in the world of networking. All are potentially connected to your next gig and so it is important to treat your relationships as such. Maintain good contact with your network and don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Though this is true in any field it is especially true in the field of Psychology as positions generally open before they make it to the online job postings that you are likely scouring.
- Head to your campus career services office – Even if you have already graduated the career services office is invested in the success of the university’s students. They will likely have a list of local organizations in your field along with information on upcoming job fairs and graduate events. Don’t be afraid to use their help; that is what they are there for!
- Make a list of potential positions – By the time that you have your degree you likely have an idea of what kind of organization or structure you would like to apply to. Make a list of potential employers, such as universities, mental health clinics, local schools, etc. and go directly to their Human Resources office for job postings. Many of these places likely have this information online already so that you can easily do it from home.
- Internet job listings – While job-hunt sites are a bit overwhelming with the amount of information they provide they do provide a valuable big-picture view of the field that you are entering. By searching for one job you are likely to discover many others that are closely related and possibly a good fit for you as well. When this comes up short, however, then it is time to turn to the specialty job listings for a more focused search.
Specialty Job Listings
Luckily, there are some online specialty job listings that can help facilitate your job search in Psychology. Here are some of the most widely used—and updated—listings online:
- American Psychological Association
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- Association for Psychological Science
- Social Psychology Network
Finding a job in the field of Psychology is a big task by itself but if you break it down as outlined here then it will be much more manageable for you. Even better than manageable is that it will likely be much more successful as well!