SGPsychStud: Career Planning for a Psychological Career (Part 1)

Image Credit: http://scitechconnect.elsevier.com/career-planning-best-fit/

"A job is very different from a career.  A job might be something that you may change from time to time, but a career is something you do for a lifetime."

Disclaimer:  Instead of discussing about jobs, this post will be discussing about one's career development, with tips interchangeable for both one's choice of career and jobs.

To have a good (and even wonderful) career, the best way is to have a good career fit, as illustrated in the figure above.  It is a combination of having a good fit between a "right amount" of education, having good information about the jobs outside, and critical self-awareness, which requires good career planning.  I hope that through these posts, it can help to educate psychology students and graduating students to help understand themselves better and do better job research and planning, in order to have some planning for their future careers.

We must understand that the situation now is unlike the past situations of our parents' generation that having "Good grades = Having a degree = Good job / career = Good life".
From "Fear of Failures in our Journey of Studying":
Though the formula can be commonly found and proven right in some people, it does not mean that this is absolute truth and can be applied to everyone.  This is because at any point of the above formula, it can be proven wrong.  A person can have excellent grades, but may not want or need a degree to reach his/her life goal (thinking of how an engineering degree would do any good for someone who desires to be a chef).  With a degree, it does not guarantee a good career; that comes with sheer hard work in the job, with the degree probably being a good stepping stone towards getting the job at the very most.  A good career does not equate to a good life, as a good life comprises of too many other things, e.g. family, friends, etc. 
Why are so many people are complaining that they cannot find jobs (or their ideal jobs)?
There are 3 main reasons (please read Jobs Part 4 for more details):
  1. Psychology degrees are general degrees. 
  2. Lack of experience in the field.
  3. Disparity of job expectancies and salaries
With worries arising from these reasons, recent graduates may have this question:
"So which job should I choose??" "Can I even choose?"
I have actually answered this in a previous post (Jobs Part 3 from 2011).  The conclusion from that post was "It also depends on your level of skills and knowledge which you have gained through your degrees, and your past work experience."  Many do not know this, but only having a degree is not going to give you an edge over other competitors for that same job that everyone is applying.

Due to the above reasons, it is typical and reasonable that recent graduates have a general psychology degree, and lack of psychological-related work experience.
However, everyone is different, equipped with different skills!  
We need to know and understand our own knowledge, skills, abilities, and strengths such that we can use that to our benefit towards getting our ideal jobs.  Hence other than the general psychological knowledge that you obtain from the degree, I would advise that you obtain or have another specialty (which is based on your current interest, skills or abilities).  This will help in guiding you towards finding your ideal career!

Your Career =  Your psychological knowledge and skills + Your speciality


The next Career Planning post will guide you on the steps towards finding and taking action to get your ideal career! Read Parts 2 and 3!

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