Employers are quickly discovering that keeping employees happy, motivated and satisfied is the most effective way to increase productivity. This is why so many are finding money in their budgets to hire an industrial and organizational, or I/O, psychologist. As an I/O psychologist, you’re responsible for understanding the relationship between employees and the workplace, but successfully completing any number of industrial organizational psychology masters programs isn’t going to prepare you to find job openings in your area. The key to landing your first postgraduate career is to understand what a potential employer is looking for, knowing where to find job listings and giving serious consideration to furthering your education.
Take the Time to Make Contacts
When it comes to landing that illusive “dream” job, it’s often times more about who you know than anything else. Making contacts is far and away one of the best and most underutilized methods to find a great job. Think back to everyone that you’ve met along the way that may have a hot lead or know a company that is hiring. Your college professors, instructors and fellow students are all excellent candidates, but joining a professional organization is often the best way to rub elbows with a potential employer. The Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology is your best option, and incidentally affiliated with the American Psychological Association.
Hit the Pavement
There’s nothing like slipping on a good pair of walking shoes and hitting the streets to find a job. You could wander around aimlessly and land at your local job center, or head straight back to your old alma mater and attend a job fair. Job fairs allow you one-on-one interaction with potential employers that you may not have had access to any other way. While at the job fair, put yourself out there and interact with the employer. Shake the recruiter’s hand, introduce yourself and come prepared to hand out a resume or other pertinent contact information such as a business card.
Heading to a job fair or speaking with a corporation’s recruiter allows you to seek employment in your own backyard, but what if you want to relocate or find a position in your old home town? This is where the internet comes in handy, and no matter if you’re looking for work five blocks or 500 miles from your present location; online job boards, listings and search engine sites are the largest and most diverse tools at your disposal. A great place to start is by typing a company’s name or the job title into a search engine. Narrow your search by keyword and location before creating a list of potential employers.
Expand Your Search
Earning a degree in industrial-organizational psychology has provided you with the unique opportunity to work in a variety of fields. When it comes to finding that first all-important job, don’t limit yourself and instead be creative and expand your search well out of your comfort zone. For instance, you may have your heart set on working in a college or university setting. Apply to those jobs, but don’t forget to send a resume out to a local non-profit, hospital or large corporation that is also hiring.
When in Doubt, Head Back to the Classroom
It’s taken you at least two to four years, but you’ve finally got your industrial-organizational psychology degree in hand. You’re ready to hit the proverbial bricks and find a way to start paying back your student loans. Before you get too excited, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary education to land the job of your dreams. You must ask yourself if your degree is enough, or if it’s wise to continue on and earn a Ph.D. or any number of other online psychology degrees? Obtaining various certifications and continuing your education are both excellent ways to make your resume stand out from the crowd and secure a few helpful contacts.
While looking for that first life-changing career out of college, don’t forget that finding employment in a related field is another option. Not only will it help you begin lowering that massive student loan debt, finding a similar position in the fields of psychology or industry will help you gain that important work experience that could ultimately open the door to your first position in industrial-organizational psychology.
About the Author: Matt Bannister is a blogger and full-time student. Matt is currently earning his Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Leadership. He is already making contacts and working on his resume.