We’ve compiled these helpful tips to help students in the psychology department at UW-Platteville to increase opportunities to pursue graduate school or careers in the field.
- Don’t assume a bachelor’s degree in psychology will automatically land you a job or secure a position in a graduate program. You need a degree, good grades, and work and volunteer experience that is relevant to psychology and the human services.
- Be active; make connections. The old adage is true: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!" How can you make connections? Volunteer (learn more about volunteer opportunities); get a job relevant to psychology (learn more about job opportunities). Do an internship (learn more about Cooperative Field Experience and see Dr. Wruble or Dr. Gates about how to get involved).
- Get to know your professors. Talk with us about your career goals. We are here to help you! Advising appointments should be about more than just picking out classes.
- Take Careers in Counseling and Human Services (Psychology 2010). This one-credit course meets for eight weeks during the spring semester and can give you great information about potential careers in human services.
- Get involved on campus. Join Psychology Club. Be a resident advisor. Play a sport. Be a campus leader. Employers are especially interested in leadership roles you take in an organization.
- Be willing to accept a part-time or temporary position. These types of jobs frequently turn into full-time positions.
- Be willing to work fewer desirable shifts. Working evenings, weekends, and overnights can open up new work opportunities.
- Focus on gaining experience, not getting your "dream" job. Start with getting your foot in the door. Your dream job will come.
- During the summer, volunteer or work at a camp. Communities like Madison have day camps for children of all ages, or you can sign up for an overnight camp.
- Consider holding two part-time jobs—one that pays the bills but is not related to psychology, and the other that provides you with the psychology experience you desire.
- Learn to speak Spanish. You will greatly increase your chances of finding a job in the human services field by being able to speak Spanish.
- Do an internship or volunteer with a large agency (such a Four Oaks or Hillcrest in Dubuque). Make as many connections as you can during your internship. Chances are good that they may have openings after you have completed your internship.
- Be prepared to ask questions during a job or graduate school interview. The most commonly asked question during a job interview is, “What questions do you have?” Ask questions that highlight your knowledge of the organization or graduate program. Spend time researching the organization or school prior to your interview.
- Always send professional emails to potential employers and professors. Do not use slang. Use capitalization properly.
- Do independent research with a professor or get involved with a professor’s research project. To learn more about research opportunities, contact Dr. Enright, Dr. Parsons, Dr. Riedle, or Dr. Shiverick.
- Send a thank-you note after a job or graduate school interview.
- Proofread your resume. Have a friend, professor, or the Career Center proofread your resume for errors.
- Update your privacy setting s on your Facebook page. Be sure to update your privacy settings so that only you and your friends have access to your Facebook page. Employers (and professors) check out your Facebook pages, so be careful about what you post.