In my last post, I gave you a list of questions to consider about your psychology major-- now it's time to take those answers and use them to create a powerful brand you can present to an employer.
Branding is really just a contemporary term for presenting yourself in the best possible light, and the steps you take to create your brand for the job market can help you set yourself apart from other candidates. If you're not familiar with branding and how it applies to your job search, check this post. Dan Schawbel is probably the best-known expert in branding, and his branding blog now has a Student Branding Blog worth checking out.
Interestingly enough, if you Google "branding psychology" you'll find several references to the psychology of branding-- but nothing on branding a psychology major. (Well, after this post there will be but for the moment it's a pristine field.) This is somewhat ironic given that psychology is an important element in advertising, marketing, and branding. I did find one interesting and humorous post about the branding of psychology from Dr. Mezmer's Psychopedia of Bad Psychology.
So how do you start "branding" your psychology major--and yourself-- for the job market? It always helps to start with an analysis of your current situation. One technique I find helpful is the SWOT analysis. SWOT analyses, common in strategic planning processes, are a systematic method of analyzing the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats in a project, organization, or a business venture, such as a job search. You can even do a personal SWOT analysis-- here's a nice article from Mind Tools on doing a personal SWOT analysis with a free worksheet you can download.
1. Draw four blocks on a piece of paper. Label one block "Strengths", one "Weaknesses", one "Opportunities" and one "Threats." The strengths and weakness sections apply to you personally (internal factors), while the opportunities and threats sections are likely to be outside your control (external factors).
2. If you have a specific job opportunity in mind, ("I'm planning to be a buyer for a retail merchandiser.") use that as your focal point. If not, use a career field you're considering ("I would like to work in advertising."). You can also use this structure to analyze your positition vis-à-vis a graduate program ("I am applying for the graduate psychology program at Stanford University.")
Once you have a focus in mind, fill in the blocks:
Once you've filled in your boxes, analyze them to begin developing your brand and determine the next steps you need to take:
Now you've got a better picture of your position relative to that job, career field or graduate school. The next step is...well, what's next? Where do you want to go and how will you get there? More to come psych majors...