Steps to Securing a Job with a B.A. in Psychology
Although graduate training in psychology is highly desirable, not all graduates in psychology at Cedarville University will pursue graduate studies. Realizing this fact, this communique is an effort to help individuals secure employment with an undergraduate degree in psychology.
Early planning for securing a job is critical. Waiting until the Spring Semester before graduation to initiate a job search is much too late. In reality, preparation for a job is a process - not just a one-time activity that is engaged in sometime during the Senior year. (See the four phases of career planning under the Cedarville University Career Services section heading in this document. Note that there are steps to address in each of the four academic years. This document highlights information that the psychology major can use in various phases of the process.)
Cedarville University Career Services Office
Get involved with this office early in your academic life (freshman year) at Cedarville University. Mr. Lew Gibbs and his staff are eager to service you in the job search process. Secure the following brochures from this office:
- Cedarville University Career Services. This is a general informational source outlining the programs offered by the Career Services office.
- Focus on the Future: A Career Strategy Handbook. This handbook gets specific on the various services that the Career Center provides. These services include:
- Career Assessment
- Career Testing and Counseling
- Post Graduate Practice Tests
- Resume Writing
- Career Fairs
- Resource Library
- On-Campus Recruiting
In addition, the CU Career Services Department will provide guidance to psychology majors in working through the four phases of career planning.
These phases are:
- Self-assessment (Freshman year)
- Career Exploration (Sophomore year)
- Reality Testing (Junior year)
- Job Searching (Senior year)
This fourth phase involves the key factors of:
- Determining the type of organization (agency, business, etc.) that will best suit one's needs.
- Constructing an effective resume.
- Developing an effective interview technique.
In sum, psychology majors who are serious about securing jobs in their fields after graduation need to work in conjunction with the quality services provided to them via the CU Career Services center. What you need to be successful is available to you. It is a matter of taking the time and exercising the character to avail yourself of the resources.
Specific Activities to Pursue
You can become involved individually in exploring the following sources of information concerning potential jobs and other activities related to career planning. These activities can be explored in any phase of the career planning process.
- Keep connected with employment listings via Cedarville's Career Services. Regular job postings are available through their office and contacts.
- Visit the online database of job listings at JOBTRAK.
- Call Inter-Cristo at 1-800-426-1343. This is a Christian job placement organization.
- Reference the book, Great Jobs for Psychology Majors. This resource can be perused in the psychology department office. The book identifies job opportunities for B.A. Psychology graduates in the areas of:
- Residential care
- Community and Social Services
- Human Resources
- In the Psychology Department office are the results of a survey given to recent graduates of the Cedarville University Psychology program who have obtained jobs with the B.A. in Psychology. This survey will give you some idea of what positions some of our graduates have secured.
- Contact the following governmental departments in the state where you anticipate working. These departments are located in the all state capitols. They can provide you with the federal, state, county, and local human service organizations which typically hire psychology majors in region(s) for which you want to secure a job.
- Department of Mental Health
- Department of Youth Services
- Department of Human Services
- Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities
- Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections
- Department of Aging
- For generating a high quality resume, see the Career Services office for usage of Resume Expert Systems. This easy-to-use system enables you to create the highly professional resume format that employers demand.
General Considerations Related to Career Preparation
- Keep your GPA as high as possible. Having a high grade point average will not, in and of itself, land you a job; but having a low one may result in someone else being picked for a job over you.
- Do an outstanding job in your internship. Numerous CU students have had job offers on the basis of their internship performance. Start thinking early in your academic career about the type of internship you want to experience. Consult with your advisor about this matter.
- Consider minor fields of study outside the psychology major (e.g. business, criminal justice, political science, public administration, TESOL, etc.).
- Start building your resume early in college. Each year you need to update your resume and ask yourself, "What am I doing this coming year in order to build a strong resume and obtain a job after graduation?" Engage in activities which will add resume lines annually. Keep the end in mind; that is, turn down involvement in good and fun activities in order to make room in your schedule for resume-building ones.
- Gain some volunteer experience during college. Christian ministries such as AWANA, teaching Sunday school, etc. are valuable. Psychology majors, however, most often should channel their ministry energies. See the Cedarville Christian Ministry Department for particulars, but there are normally ample opportunities to gain experience in milieu such as crisis pregnancy, youths-at-risk, MR/DD, tutoring, elderly care, hospital, big brother/sisters, etc. The more experience you gain with various populations, the more clear you are likely to be in your post-graduation job search.
- Make two decisions. You need to figure out, as soon as you can, two important factors: (1) in which particular human service field you wish to work; (2) in which geographic area(s) are you willing to work. Most of your job search will relate to these two issues.
Human service jobs include diverse populations such as youths-at-risk, developmental disabilities, geriatrics, children, psychiatric individuals, etc. In addition, jobs are available in milieu such as community mental health centers, hospitals, detention centers, youth facilities, etc. You need to assess which type of setting(s) and which population(s) have the greatest and least interests to you.
Also, some graduating seniors are willing to move away from home; others insist on working in specific locales.
In sum, determining the type of population, milieu, and locale of where you wish to be will provide the target of human service jobs for which you will be searching.
- Begin networking early. Each year when the psychology department has Cedar Links on campus, you should be getting to know various people running the booths. Gather and read literature from each agency. Attend some professional conferences where you will likely meet people who hire psychology graduates. Type follow-up letters to people after you meet with them. Becoming "connected" involves some work and aggressiveness on your part by making yourself remembered and standing out as a sharp, future potential hire.
- Get faculty guidance. Each of the CU psychology department faculty are willing to invest time in helping you with the job search process. They will not find jobs for you (it will require effort on your end), but they are willing to mentor you and provide some guidance in the process.
Psychology majors graduating from Cedarville University typically find ready employment. However, you need to be willing to follow the steps outlined here and be willing to do the hard work of a job search. Most fields for new college graduates involve taking early and aggressive steps as the norm for landing initial jobs after graduation. The results are rewarding; and when you diligently do your part in the process, be assured of the assistance of Cedarville personnel along the way.