Career Tips

How to Increase Your Chances of Finding a Job (Or Getting into Graduate School)

  • 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/volunteer experience that is relevant to psychology/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 (see the volunteer link on website); get a job relevant to psychology (see employment links). Do an Internship (Cooperative Field Experience); see Dr. Wruble or Dr. Gates about CFE program.
  • 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. Join Psychology Club. Be an RA. 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 less desirable shifts (evenings, weekends, overnights).
  • Focus on gaining experience, not getting your "dream" job.
  • During the summer, volunteer or work at a camp. Communities like Madison have day camps for children of all ages, or sign up for an overnight camp.
  • Consider two part-time jobs - one that pays the bills but is not related to psychology, and the other that provides you with the experience you want, but doesn't pay very much.
  • 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/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/graduate program. Spend time researching the organization/school prior to your interview.
  • Always send professional e-mails to potential employers and professors. Do not use slang. Use capitalization.
  • Do independent research with a professor or get involved with a professor’s research project (contact Dr. Enright, Dr. Parsons, Dr. Riedle, or Dr. Shiverick).
  • Send a thank-you note after an interview.
  • Have a friend, professor, or the Career Center proofread your resume.
  • Protect your Facebook page. Be sure to set your privacy settings so that only you and your friend’s have access to your site. Employers (and professors) check out your Facebook pages.

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