|Psychology Career Exploration Made Easy |
|Betsy L. Morgan and Ann J. Korschgen, |
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Opportunities for career explorations in psychology via the Internet have exploded in the last couple of years. Nothing made this "revolution" clearer to us than our recent work on the second edition of our book, Majoring in Psych? Career Options for Psychology Undergraduates. In the first edition, published in 1998, we somewhat cautiously discussed Web resources, and carefully defined the World Wide Web in language for novices. Now, the Web is an integral part of most students' educations and is an indispensable career-exploration tool. The Internet provides information in a convenient, fast format--and it also allows you to access information that previously might not have been available. In this article, we want to point you to some excellent sites, map out smart reasons to use the Web, acknowledge a few downfalls, and remind you of some Web rules of thumb regarding searching. We will highlight general career searching sites, psychology-specific sites, and graduate school information. SO DUDES—LET'S SURF!
General Career Searching on the Web
General Career Searching: Caveats & Tips
- Most of these sites do not involve a cost to you to post your resume or search for positions. Employers bear the cost of the service.
- There is considerable variation in the format requirements for resumes across the various sites. However, it will be helpful for you to start or convert your resume to a Web-friendly format for easy posting.
- These sites offer the ability to search for jobs by title and region, the ability to post your resume, and often a service that automatically sends your resume to jobs where there appears to be a "match."
- IMPORTANT—Many of the sites are still best for industry-based jobs. Often human service and nonprofit jobs are still listed primarily in newspapers. Therefore, psychology majors will want to search the sites that have links to the job listings of major newspapers. For instance, JobTrak and CareerBuilder, which are listed above, both have access to newspaper listings. Currently, research suggests that businesses use the Internet in about 30% of their recruiting activities. We recommend posting your resume on several sites.
- There are a few drawbacks to these websites. Namely, in the more corporate-oriented sites, it may take several layers of clicking to get to the actual job postings. Additionally, sometimes employers can get pesky by pursuing you for a position too aggressively.
- American Psychological Association (APA)—check out the material from the Research Directorate as well as the areas designed for students: www.apa.org
- American Psychological Society (APS): www.psychologicalscience.org
- Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology: www.psichi.org
Some Additional Great Sites for Psych Majors
- Scott Plous's site at Wesleyan is devoted to general psychology and social psychology—including links to graduate programs. One of the best sites for psychology undergraduates: www.socialpsychology.org
- Linda Walsh's site at the University of Northern Iowa: www.uni.edu/walsh/linda1.html
- Psych Web by Russ Dewey: www.psychwww.com
- Hanover College offers good information and important links: psych.hanover.edu
- WebCT offers good career information and gives you the chance to "ask a pro" questions: www.webct.com (You need to register, but its free!)
Psychology-Specific Sites: Caveats & Tips
These sites are pretty phenomenal and have caring, knowledgeable folks behind them. We'd start with the sites above.
Graduate School Searching
- One of the best sites lets you search by subject and by school name: www.gradschools.com
- Also bookmark one of the sites that index colleges and universities for an easy way to explore the schools in which you are interested: www.clas.ufl.edu/CLAS/american-universities.html. (It may save you time to use the search engine for the specific university's site after you access its homepage.)
- Peterson's (petersons.com) allows you to search for graduate schools and also has good general information regarding graduate work. Testing information is also available for the GRE (www.gre.org), and you can register online to take this computer-based test at a site near you. Those of you who need to complete the Miller Analogies Test can visit www.tpcweb.com/mat.
- Check out the graduate student groups associated with APA (APAGS) and APS (APSSC). Don't forget more career-specific sites such as the National Association of Social Workers (www.naswdc.org) or the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (www.aamft.org).
- Many of the psychology-specific sites offer good graduate school advice—including material such as what kinds of questions are asked at interviews and how to know if a school is right for you.
Graduate School Searching: Caveats & Tips
- Many graduate schools now allow for online application submissions.
- The Web is also a good way to explore the research interests of the faculty at the school in which you are interested.
- The gradschools.com site lists schools who use the service free and those who pay for it. You should note that those who pay receive a more in-depth description and a link directly to their site so students may explore the program further.
Helpful Internet Search Tips
- When using a search engine, use quotation marks to keep terms together. For example, typing in the words experimental psychology will initiate a search for sites with both words somewhere in the site, whereas typing "experimental psychology" (in quotes) will narrow the search to only those sites in which these words appear next to each other. Try it both ways and you'll see a reduction in the number of hits with the grouped wording. Usually a reduction is a good thing.
- When using a search engine, type in an asterisk (*) to truncate a word (e.g., psych* would pick up psychology and psychologist.
- Some website addresses change fairly often, so don't be surprised if one of the addresses is no longer correct.
- Please remember that the Web is not authoritatively reviewed. Information gained from the Web may be unreliable or worse. It will benefit you to check out the sponsor of any website that you are going to use for academic or personal reasons.
Overall, if you haven't started to use the Web to pursue career exploration, we strongly recommend it. We think you'll be disadvantaged by not learning about what it has to offer, and we think it will only continue to grow in its ability to aid career strategies and exploration. So, happy surfing and "hang ten." (The latter comment is a relic of many decades ago and refers to dangling one's toes over the edge of one's surfboard—the first author was raised in California!) For more wave surfing lingo . . . visit www.balix.com/surfing/glossary.html.
Betsy Morgan, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UWL), where she serves as chair of the department and as Psi Chi faculty advisor. She received her doctorate from the University of California, Irvine in social ecology. Her research interests focus on gender and attitude measurement, and she teaches Social Psychology, Group Dynamics, Psychology of Women, and General Psychology. Betsy also runs the Honors program for the department, and she enjoys taking groups of students to present research in the Psi Chi program at the Midwestern Psychological Association meeting in Chicago every year. Her involvement with the UWL Psi Chi Chapter has included initiating a yearly 24-hour "swing-a-thon" to raise money for local charities involved with children's well-being.
Ann Korschgen, PhD, was recently named vice provost of Enrollment Management at University of Missouri-Columbia. She was the director of Career Services at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse for many years prior to this career change. Her doctorate is from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her research interests focus on strategic planning and presidential search and screens in higher education. She is proud to say that she used her own job search advice when she was in the job market. In her role as director of Career Services, Ann was responsible for counseling and providing career programming for psychology majors and other liberal arts majors.
Betsy and Ann were both psychology undergraduates and wrote Majoring in Psych? Career Options for Psychology Majors (1998) to provide students with a quick and easy guide to many of the issues surrounding career choices for psychology majors. A second (2001) edition is now available from Allyn & Bacon. As indicated in the article, it was the preparation of this new edition that prompted their expanded interest in the use of the Internet in career exploration.
Copyright 2001 (Volume 5, Issue 3) by Psi Chi, the
International Honor Society in Psychology
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