What actions should these folks take?
They must first understand that career planning:
(a) begins sooner rather than later (e.g., immediately upon starting college); and
(b) demands significant time and effort. In some respects, career planning is an ongoing process until one becomes fully entrenched in a particular professional path (e.g., attends graduate school). It is unclear if these people believed a profession would be thrust upon them.
Once a person realises that career planning is a process that needs significant time and work, they should follow the title of this blog article and actively participate in their career planning. There are others who can assist with career planning, such as lecturers and career counsellors, but a person is ultimately responsible for their own career planning. A planned approach to career planning, in my opinion, involves traversing a sequence of stages. Remember that these processes are not consecutive and in some instances overlap. Here we go:
(1) Complete Specific Courses
Whether you are taking formal classes on a college campus or completing online courses, there are some courses you should consider that go well beyond traditional psychology courses (introduction, research techniques, and statistics) and that group together depending on your career choice. A individual interested in a profession in mental health, for instance, may choose courses such as personality, abnormal psychology, and child psychopathology. Those who are interested in Law may choose forensic psychology, psychology & law, and other law-related courses within other degrees (e.g., political science, criminology). Note that if you want to attend graduate or professional school, admissions committees will also be interested in seeing that you have taken tough courses (e.g., math and science courses).
(2) Do Well in Your Courses
Whether for graduate school or employment, screening committees look for strong academic performance. Who would you choose, the one with the better or lower GPA, if you had to make a decision? Remember that your record is examined based on a variety of grading factors: grades in specific courses, overall GPA, psychology GPA, minor (if applicable) GPA, last two years of college GPA, and maintaining a high GPA from freshman year forward. In addition, if you do not get an A or B in a course, you should likely retake it, particularly if it was a psychology subject.
(3) Don’t Simply Attend Class
You must emphasise your passion and interest in psychology outside of the classroom or workplace. Participating in research is one approach to do this. Some of you are now contending that treatment, not research, is what you want to undertake. Participating in research (even if it is not in your primary area of interest) demonstrates your motivation and interest in psychology. Furthermore, you should never forget that psychology is a discipline wholly committed to study, including clinical psychology. Participating in research may also improve your GPA if the study is part of a course. By completing research, you develop a relationship with a professor who can give you a good letter of reference when you apply to graduate school or a job.
An internship, participation in extracurricular activities (e.g., volunteering), joining a psychology organisation (Psi Chi—the National Honor Society in Psychology or any psychology club), and/or psychology-related work experience are additional ways to participate in activities outside the classroom.
(4) Develop Critical Competencies
Regardless of the employment route you choose, you will need crucial abilities in addition to general knowledge. It will be essential for you to acquire more computer, writing, and vocal communication skills to complement your existing knowledge. These talents are crucial for any future endeavour. Start acquiring these abilities immediately!
(5)Access the Internet.
We are all aware that the Internet is our ally. Regarding career planning, it is your greatest ally. There is just so much material on the Internet that you should devote a considerable amount of time to looking for career-related data. First, you may peruse a variety of online job sites, including my own, scoutiescareersinpsychology.org. There are a range of different internet resources, but be aware of those that stress for-profit institutions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is an example of a government website that provides a wealth of information on numerous job pathways. Thirdly, each institution with a graduate/professional degree programme will have its own website.