Graduate jobs with a psychology degree

Philosophy is one of the most challenging and inspiring degrees to study at university and provides graduates with a wealth of knowledge, skills and experiences valued in the work place. With the type of skills that Philosophy graduates will have gained and refined, their options are open.

What can a Philosophy Graduate do?

As with other non-vocational degrees, Philosophy graduates are not limited to one specific career path. The skills picked up while completing a Philosophy degree are relevant to a variety of fields, and graduates from this discipline will be especially skilled in thinking critically and objectively and arguing different sides of an issue.

Graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in Philosophy as a teacher, lecturer or researcher will need to undertake further study, as the field requires at least a Masters degree, if not a Doctorate.

Graduates considering other options after they have graduated can look at variety of roles and fields. After three years pouring over texts, Philosophy graduates are able to analyse data, think laterally and use logical thought processes to develop conclusions, a skill set which lends itself to many business-related roles such as in Finance, Consulting or Managemen . Applicants in these sectors need to be sociable and able to communicate well with clients and other businesses, as well as work closely with data and documents.

Philosophy graduates can also rely on their deep understanding of people in considering their career options in sectors such as Retail, Advertising & PR, Marketing and Media. Applicants should emphasise their expertise in communicating complex ideas.

Taking Stock of Skills

Much of the work done in a Philosophy degree involves a great deal of complex thought about intangible ideas, but graduates from this discipline will have also developed many concrete skills which make them valuable additions in any sector.

Analysis – Studying philosophy will have made graduates adept at analysing dense, complicated texts and documents and extracting key information and arguments. These strong analytic skills also allow them to digest and retain large amounts of information, and can be put to use in a variety of fields.

Communication – Philosophy required a mixture of discussion and well-written essays, which will have nurtured a graduate's command of the written word as well as developed their skills in public speaking and communicating with fellow students.

Sociological understanding – The bulk of Philosophical writing, from Plato's writings on the soul to Nietzsche's will to power, is concerned with developing an understanding of the human condition. A good grasp of people’s behaviour both in social situations and individually is highly prized in the working world as it enables graduates to provide valuable insight to companies and businesses.

Logical and lateral thinker – Philosophy graduates have a structured and highly complex thought process which allows them to excel at solving problems, planning projects and processing large amounts of data—all skills which make a graduate stand out in any field.

Source HECSU - What do graduates do? September 2013.

Taking Stock of Skills

As with any degree, the key to a successful job search is knowing how to showcase the right skills. In particular, Psychology graduates can offer the following:

Analysis – Psychology graduates have excellent analytical skills which allow them to study large amounts of information and extrapolate trends and themes. This skill is not only relevant to scientific research, but can also be applied in financial or business settings.

Behavioural understanding – Understanding how and why people think and act is a unique skill which opens up many opportunities for Psychology graduates, and which they should make sure to highlight on their CVs, as it can show prospective employers that they can offer valuable insight into audiences, customers and markets.

Communication – With a heavily academic and research-based degree, Psychology graduates are able to express their ideas through intelligent written reports, and to effectively present complex ideas to audiences.

Data and numerical skills – Psychology graduates spend a lot of time working with data and statistics. Being able to manipulate numbers to create and analyse statistics is an attractive skill to offer employers, especially for roles which require graduates to be comfortable with influencing the direction a company chooses to take.

Research skills – Psychology graduates are trained in conducting thorough and comprehensive research, constructing detailed reports, and summarising useful information. These skills are applicable beyond an academic setting and can be beneficial to many potential employers.

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