Attaining your degree in psychology can be an exhilarating experiencing. having put such a vast amount of work into your studies, you are finally at the point of graduation. You have made it through four long years (maybe more) of coursework, reflection, reading and exams. However, what do you do now? For some, the ideal position might be getting an Assistant Psychology job.

The percentages of people graduating in psychology that go on to work in psychology are very small. In part, it is one of the beautiful aspects of a psychology degree, you have the option to work in a variety of roles in numerous sectors not necessarily directly correlated to the field of psychology. What if you do want to work in psychology though? Well, arguably the best role you can go into as you start your journey in psychology, is becoming an Assistant Psychologist. In this post, I will give you my top tips for getting your first Assistant Psychology job from my own experiences.

You might find some value in viewing a video I put up on my YouTube channel GetPsyched about building a psychological CV here:

  • VOLUNTEER & GAIN EXPERIENCE

    • Volunteering can be a drag, fundamentally you work for someone for free. However, gaining experience in the right type of volunteering roles can equip you with skills and knowledge that can get you your first Assistant Psychology post. The world of graduate psychology is so competitive, Assistant Psychology jobs don’t come up very often and don’t be surprised to see two or three hundred applicants per position. You need more than just your degree, you need direct experience and one of the best ways to get it is volunteering. Why not call up your local charity of mental health care service? Perhaps you could call a volunteer helpline centre (these can be great as often you get free training and certificates as a result). If you know that in your city Assistant Psychology jobs are focused on brain injury, or mental health or children and young people, then try and reach out to services that focus in these areas to gain the most appropriate experience you can.

You need more than just your degree, you need direct experience and one of the best ways to get it is volunteering

  • TAKE INITIATIVE

    • Initiative is one of those things I stress for anyone looking to get ahead in psychology. In our degrees, we are taught how to read journal articles, develop arguments and create critical accounts of others work. We are taught the principles of psychological research and theory but we can struggle to learn how to get a job when we leave. Reaching out to organisations and taking initiative is something that is so over looked in psychology. Why don’t you get the contact details of all the organisations in your city that hold Assistant Psychology jobs and offer your services as a volunteer in some way? I worked with an Assistant Psychologist who, after her degree, simply called up the organisation and offered to work as a voluntary Assistant Psychologist, was given the role, worked voluntarily for one day a week for six months and then was offered a full time paid Assistant Psychology position. This just shows how initiative can help you on your way to getting that first position. Reach out, offer your services, create contacts and don’t be scared to go the extra mile.

Reaching out to organisations and taking initiative is something that is so over looked in psychology

  •  EMPHASISE MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAM WORK

    • This is one of those qualities that you want to make your potential employer aware of both in the application process and during your interview. As an Assistant Psychologist, the likelihood is that you will be working within a larger time with a variety of professions. Working with nursing staff, psychiatrists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are all very likely. You should ensure that you emphasise your experience of working in other multidisciplinary settings. In what ever context, make sure that you highlight your capabilities to work with a variety of different professions effectively. This is one of those key points that many organisations that hire Assistant Psychologists look for.

You should ensure that you emphasise your experience of working in other multidisciplinary settings

  • WHY?

    • Why is a very important question. Why do you want to be an Assistant Psychologist? Why do you want to become an Assistant Psychologist at the place you are applying to? I once worked with a Clinical psychologist who used to say that if an applicant doesn’t make it clear why they want the Assistant Psychology role then she just throws the application away. Regardless of your experience or your qualifications, you have to be clear why you want the job!

Regardless of your experience or your qualifications, you have to be clear why you want the job!

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