Are you a Psychology graduate trying to get your toe in the door? Maybe your fed up with your current role and are looking for a new challenge. In this blog, I will try to help my fellow PsychGrads in obtaining that elusive Assistant Psychologist (AP) jobs and finally get the experience you have worked so hard for. I have been fortunate enough to work with some absolutely amazing clinicians and very competent Assistant Psychologists, and through our conversations, I have identified 5 recurring tips that have helped many psychology graduates get that all-important Assistant post. Now the only question is, are you ready for the next level?
Just Graduated? Check out the 6 Jobs for A Psychology Graduate straight out of university?
Don’t know how to Improve your application? Check out the 5 Application Mistakes by Psychology Graduates
Don’t know if your suited to being an Assistant Psychologist? Check out the 7 Commonalities of All Assistant Psychologists
Prepare for that Assistant Psychologist interview by Checking out the 7 Themes in any Assistant Psychologist Interview
1. Apply Apply Apply!
Now, this may sound very obvious, however, it is very fundamental. When I was applying for Assistant Psychologist posts I was applying to everything and anything (That was my mantra at the time!) because if you really think about it, if you bang on a door enough times, you’re bound to rip it off its hinges at some point right? the same applies here. If you look at my NHS Jobs account, you will see a whole list of AP roles that have unsuccessful next to them (and also some that still say submitted as I only assume they didn’t have the heart to reject me so left me in limbo). Believe me when I say that your time will come you just need to be religious in applying for jobs when you see them.
Extra Tip: Apply for AP roles in private companies or charities that employ a qualified psychologist. AP experience doesn’t have to be within the NHS and those other jobs will still hold the same weight for future applications whilst being less competitive than the NHS posts.
2. Tailor your Personal Statement
Yes ok, we’ve all done this at some point where we apply for 10 different posts by using the same personal statement, I get it. On the other hand, I’ll let you in on a little secret; the person reading your personal statement knows that it’s a generic piece of writing when you don’t even mention the client group that there advertising for! I know that it’s time-consuming and there’s the season finale of the real housewives of Orange County on, but you need to give as much time and effort into each application because you never know that could be your step onto the ladder. Make sure in every application you write, you mention how you best fit working with the client group and why you are drawn to the job advert.
Extra Tip: Go through the Job/Person Specification for the job role. Every employer is rating your application against that (you wouldn’t submit an assignment without looking at the marking criteria so why not on a job application). You don’t need to write pages and pages on this (Bullet point if you have to!!) but make sure you get as much in there as you physically can without waffling.
This sounds so much easier than it actually is. I had a young man recently contact me asking why he just couldn’t land an AP role and after 10 minutes of speaking with him, I soon realised the possible reason. Every question I asked him about his experience he answered with WHAT! he learnt rather than HOW! he learnt it. I advised him that if he ever mentions what he’s learnt you should always follow this up with how you learnt this (and if you can how this has now best informed your practice). This is absolutely key in any psychology related role you go for, you need to reflect on your experience and portray to the employer that you have learnt something meaningful and you have grown as a person.
- Need more experience before your ready for an Assistant Psychologist Job? No problem, check out the 6 Jobs for Psychology Graduates Straight out of University for guidance on the 6 most popular Jobs psychology graduates go into.
Now, this is assuming that you have implemented steps 1 to 3 to the fullest. This is a step that may sound very patronising for those that haven’t been successful with gaining that AP job (I heard from lots of AP’s that would say “oh relax you’ll get it eventually”, and it would drive me crazy!!). Nevertheless, it is true, most AP adverts will take approximately 4-12 weeks to reply. For my current role, I applied in June and never heard a reply until September (to the point that I forgot what it was I applied for lol). The message here is that once you click send, FORGET ABOUT IT!!, don’t stress about whether your get it or not because the power is out of your hands.
5. Take A Break
This final tip is by far the most difficult one. If you have applied tips 1 to 4 and still haven’t had any luck then honestly take a break from applying for AP roles. Now before you get upset and think PsychAssist is contradicting himself, let me explain. I personally know how disheartening it is to be faced with constant application rejection. It’s not a nice feeling and only you know your limits. The bottom line is life doesn’t revolve around your job role, take a break from the cycle of NHS Jobs and focus on you for a while. Trust me some of the most competent psychologists I have met, have spoken about times they took a break from anything psychology, only to come back with amazing life experiences to talk about in interviews (Along with Tip 3!).
Extra Tip: Go out, see the world, pick up a hobby!!! Life is too short to be worrying about what job you have!! We’ve got one life, GO LIVE IT!!!
Final Note: Thank you so much for reading this post and please subscribe and share with your friends or fellow professionals for more blogs like this. My aim is to help you reach your full potential, are you ready for the next level?