Career Preparation

Gain Experience

When entering the job market with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, the most important aspect to helping you land a job is experience. While it is tempting to wait tables while in college because the tip money is good, you will need relevant experience on your resume in order to get the job you want. In order to gain that valuable, relevant experience, get involved!

Networking

What is networking?

Networking is basically getting to know people who can help you meet your career goals. Ideally, networking begins when you are a freshman. By the time you are graduating and looking for a job, you should have a list of professional contacts who can help you in your job search.

Why should I network?
  • You have probably heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” While this can be frustrating for recent college graduates looking for their first job, the hiring process doesn’t provide employers with much information to find the best candidate. From the employer’s point of view, it is very difficult to know if someone will be a good employee based on a resume and interview alone. If you had previous interactions with that employer through internships or volunteer work (and did a good job!) or if you know someone who the employer knows and trusts, your chances of getting the job are greatly increased.
  • Newspapers and the internet are more popular job search resources for job seekers than networking. However, employers use networking to find employees than newspaper and internet postings.
How do I network?

Tell everyone you are looking for a job!

  • Let your friends, family, former co-workers, neighbors, fellow students, everyone know what you are looking for (full-time job, internship, etc.) You may be surprised at how many professional contacts your parents have!
  • When a store clerk asks if you are finding everything ok, reply, “Yes, except for a job!” They just might tell you a management trainee position is available at their store!

Internships, part-time jobs, volunteering, job shadowing

  • Find a position using our Career Experience page.
  • Introduce yourself to everyone and ask what they do at the organization.
  • Ask for and save business cards or contact information from people you meet. Be sure to jot a note on the back of the business card regarding your interaction with them so you don’t forget!
  • Do a great job!
  • When your experience is over, ask your supervisor if he/she will be willing to serve as a reference for graduate school and future jobs. If so, be sure to keep them up-to-date on which schools/positions you are applying to so they are not caught off guard when the phone rings!
  • Send your supervisor a thank you letter for giving you the opportunity to gain this experience, and stay in touch after you leave.

Professional organizations

  • Join a local professional organization and attend their meetings regularly
  • Take on a leadership role within those organizations

LinkedIn

  • Create a profile on this professional networking site which will allow you to search for employers and allow employers to search for you!
  • Join the official University of Nebraska-Lincoln LinkedIn group to find alumni and reach out to them for advice on your job search.
  • Join LinkedIn groups related to your career field to learn more about the industry.

Student Organizations

  • Take on leadership roles
  • Before you leave the organization, ask the organization’s sponsor if he/she will be willing to serve as a reference for graduate school and future jobs. If so, be sure to keep them up-to-date on which schools/positions you are applying to so they are not caught off guard when the phone rings!

UNL Career Services

  • Attend Meet-the-Employer events
  • Set up an account on Husker Hire Link, an online job and internship research tool that allows you to search for opportunities, post and send your resume, and participate in on-campus interviews and career events.
  • Attend On-campus Interviews
  • Attend Career Fairs. Even if you are not ready for a full-time job, career fairs offer the opportunity for part-jobs, internships, and networking
  • Make an appointment with a career counselor as they are familiar with local employers and have professional contacts at different companies

Community Resources

  • Attend local Career Fairs
  • Attend local Employer Open Houses

Faculty and Advisors

  • Develop a relationship with one or more faculty members whom you can ask to serve as a reference for graduate school and future jobs. Again, remember to keep them up-to-date on the schools/positions to which you are applying.
  • Advisors often are familiar with local employers and have professional contacts at different organizations.

Networking Cards

  • Create a networking card, which is much like a business card. Low-cost student business cards are available through UNL Printing Services and they offer several UNL designs from which you can choose.

Resume

  • Keep your resume up-to-date and have copies readily available in case your new contacts ask for it.

Transferrable Skills

The basis of a liberal arts degree is to impart students with transferrable skills, which are knowledge and abilities you develop as a college student that are transferrable to the job market. For example, while you probably will not need to recite the steps of the scientific method for your future employer, you will need to communicate how learning the scientific method taught you to think critically and solve problems.

Below are examples of transferrable skills. Be prepared to discuss with a prospective employer which of these skills you have, how they will benefit you for that specific employer, and examples of times when you utilized that skill. Your ability to communicate how your liberal arts education prepared you for the job for which you are applying is what can land you the job!

Communication: the skillful expression, transmission and interpretation of knowledge and ideas
  • Writing concisely
  • Listening attentively
  • Expressing ideas
  • Facilitating group discussion
  • Providing appropriate feedback
  • Describing feelings
  • Editing
  • Interviewing
  • Reporting information
  • Persuading
  • Perceiving nonverbal messages
  • Negotiating



Research and Planning: the search for specific knowledge; the ability to conceptualize future needs and develop solutions
  • Creating ideas
  • Identifying problems
  • Imagining alternatives
  • Identifying resources
  • Gathering information
  • Analyzing
  • Defining needs
  • Extracting important information
  • Setting goals
  • Solving problems

Human Relations: the use of interpersonal skills for resolving conflict, relating to and helping people
  • Being sensitive
  • Listening
  • Conveying feelings
  • Providing support for others
  • Motivating
  • Cooperating
  • Counseling
  • Sharing credit for accomplishments

Organization, Management and Leadership: the ability to supervise, direct and guide individuals and groups in the completion of tasks and fulfillment of goals
  • Handling details
  • Coordinating tasks
  • Managing groups
  • Delegating responsibility
  • Teaching
  • Collaborative decision making
  • Selling ideas or products
  • Promoting change
  • Coaching


Work Survival: the day-to-day skills that promote effective production and work satisfaction
  • Cooperating
  • Enforcing policies
  • Being punctual
  • Managing time
  • Attending to detail
  • Organizing
  • Setting and meeting deadlines
  • Accepting responsibility
  • Enlisting help
  • Meeting goals

 

Finding a Career in Psychology - Career Preparation - Job Search Strategies