I’m about to graduate in May with a degree in Psychology. Although I will be graduating Summa Cum Laude and had previous internships, I have not been able to find a professional job. My network options have been exhausted as well. Of course, I always try to network as much as I can, but I only seem to land high-end retail jobs (glorified retail position) based on my previous work experience. I live in a place that’s probably the country’s capital for hospitality and shopping. Not much else going on. I knew that I would need to go to graduate school if I wanted to thrive in psychology; however, I’m still not completely 100% sure if what I want is to spend the next 5 years trying to obtain a PhD in Industrial / Organizational (I/O) Psychology. I’m not interested in the traditional clinical path, I am interested in I/0 Psychology. Many people don’t know about it but it’s getting recognition. It is basically Psychology Applied to business. and I love it. However, I think that through professional experience I can learn much of what I would learn in school. My dilemma is going to grad school (and spending all the time, effort, and money) to validate that I can learn practical and tangible skills in this era of graduating with “useless” degrees or simply try to find a professional job in HR or organizational development.

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3 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    The first litmus test for whether or not you should get a degree is whether the job you are certain that you want actually requires that degree.

    And I don’t think there are any jobs that require a degree in industrial organization. I think the people who move up the ladder in human resources do not need an advanced degree – it’s a management skillset that they need.

    And people who consult about industrial organization need to be great at marketing themselves to the Fortune 500. I don’t think they need a degree. Just use Google search terms for the types of people who are consulting to the Fortune 500 to tell them how to reorganize. It’s not PhDs.

    Don’t get that degree. It won’t help you. Go get a job in human resources putting industrial psychology to work. See if you like it. It’s most important for you to try jobs to see what you like. You don’t need to be on any set path right now.

  2. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “I live in a place that’s probably the country’s capital for hospitality and shopping. Not much else going on.”

    In addition to what Penelope wrote, you may consider looking for opportunities in places other than where you presently live.

  3. Jenni
    Jenni says:

    I thought about doing a degree in I/O for a very long time, now I work in the field of Organizational Behavior which is essentially the same field as I/O but in a business school setting, i.e. more money. Unless you want to do research, do NOT get a PhD. Also, I agree an I/O degree is hard to market because most people don’t know what it is and you have to be able to convince people of what you do and what skills you have. Spend the time actually building and demonstrating those skills instead of just learning about them. You could also look into OB, consulting, and HR subsets. Good luck.

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