Use your dissertation as a career tool

Looking for direction? (Photo: dr_tim_1956

One of the advantages of psychology is the wide range of topics it covers. It means you can get a wider education than other degrees because you dip your toe into a lot more topic areas, albeit from a psychological perspective. The variety is good for people who like to learn, and it gives good opportunity to draw different lines of work together in assignments (which, depending on the essay, can be a great way to pick up extra marks).

But studying such a broad subject can also be a disadvantage. Although psychology is a useful degree and teaches important thinking skills, there isn’t a definitive career path open to you when you finish, as there is with something like graphic design. If you want to be a psychologist, no problem, you just get the extra training. But some people don’t want a career in psychology. Maybe they chose it purely for interest, or because they weren’t sure what they wanted to do and psychology seemed like a good idea. For these people, the broadness of the subject can seem like a negative, however, the problem can tempered somewhat by using the dissertation as a career tool.

Say you decide in year 2 that you want to be a dietician, but you’re going to finish this degree first. You could choose a dissertation topic around diet, which will allow you to learn more about it, become familiar with the research, and have something you can talk about when you get interviewed on future courses. Or, say for some reason you want to go into HR, you’d do a dissertation around selection perhaps.

It doesn’t work for everything, linking your dissertation into accountancy, or music production might be a challenge, for instance. But even if you can get close to the subject it will help. You could do some research on the employees of the profession you want, and interview them. This might at least get you close to that field — in that environment, talking to people in it, networking. It gives you something to put on your CV and talk about in job interviews, and most of all it hopefully helps you feel like you have some direction.