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I am about to commence my graduate program in Fall 2018. I wanted people's feedback on a few questions as I look forward to applying for jobs and internships. 

  • What was your experience looking for jobs after completing the I/O Psych Masters? Is the degree recognized across the nation, are the positions highly competitive, etc.?
  • What are some suggestions you would offer in terms of what skills companies are looking for in an entry-level position?
  • From your experience, what are some mistakes you made while looking for jobs, that you think could have been avoided?
  •  What was your opening salary for an entry-level I/O Psych position? 
  • What skills are highly sought after in an employee with an I/O degree?
  • Overall, are there any regrets for pursuing I/O Psychology?

I know the questions are pretty broad, but I can use all the info you may be able to share. Thank you for any feedback. 

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2 hours ago, bassach said:

I am about to commence my graduate program in Fall 2018. I wanted people's feedback on a few questions as I look forward to applying for jobs and internships. 

  • What was your experience looking for jobs after completing the I/O Psych Masters? Is the degree recognized across the nation, are the positions highly competitive, etc.?
  • What are some suggestions you would offer in terms of what skills companies are looking for in an entry-level position?
  • From your experience, what are some mistakes you made while looking for jobs, that you think could have been avoided?
  •  What was your opening salary for an entry-level I/O Psych position? 
  • What skills are highly sought after in an employee with an I/O degree?
  • Overall, are there any regrets for pursuing I/O Psychology?

I know the questions are pretty broad, but I can use all the info you may be able to share. Thank you for any feedback. 

Hi Bassach,

I hope you're doing well. I'd love to answer your questions (given this is just my experience), but know this may be highly contingent on where you want to work and what type of program you went to (highly applied MS or a theoretical MA etc). Note im also biased as many are when speaking about their career fields.

  • What was your experience looking for jobs after completing the I/O Psych Masters? Is the degree recognized across the nation, are the positions highly competitive, etc.?

I had a fruitful experience. I had 3 job offers a month after my graduation. Of the 12 students in my cohort 100% of them were employed within 3 months of graduation in relevant positions. 50% had job offers prior to graduation. The degree is gaining popularity by the day. However, it's in a bimodal place: areas like Washington DC the types of jobs are very eclectic, whereas a place like Columbus Ohio tend to be in the human resources capacity. Every company has an HR department and IOs do well in those jobs just know you may start (salary-wise) a little lower. 

  • What are some suggestions you would offer in terms of what skills companies are looking for in an entry-level position?

From my perspective, coding, programming, and statistics are what will allow you to outshine others. Coding and programming specifically are not things that are easily developed in academia, so treat this as a hobby. In the workplace you will be doing things over and over so automating your work will help you tremendously. At school your tasks may be very novel and dynamic so writing an R script to clean data and run an analysis isn't as fruitful if you only run that analysis once. Also the ability to present your knowledge to nonexperts. You are trained to be a science-practitioner so don't lose the science side of yourself, but don't be so research oriented that others consider you too impractical and thus ignore you.  

  • From your experience, what are some mistakes you made while looking for jobs, that you think could have been avoided?

If you only takeaway one thing from this post it should be this: social capital is the name of the game. I spent countless hours uploading my resumes to application portals and writing cover letters. Stop wasting your time doing the formal application stuff. Put your resources into contacting people. Look up alumni from your program, go to networking events, look for emails of employees in the HR department, do the Assessment Center at SIOP. Don't be ashamed to send people emails, many people want to help you. Your journey will be far more fruitful if you leverage people. 

  • What was your opening salary for an entry-level I/O Psych position?

Also very dependent on where you go. You may end up getting 55k in the Midwest whereas in DC you can start right under 70k. It's been 3 years (so I don't know how inflation has influenced this) but I started at 67k base. I'm at 79k now, keep in mind I'm going on 2.5 years at my job and I was promoted. Most of those in my cohort are around 80k after 3 years. 

  • What skills are highly sought after in an employee with an I/O degree?

This is related to the second point but statistical programming. You can start to cultivate this on the job. I don't know what you're doing right now but you should try to take up R as a hobby, if you can't no worries. I know it sounds nerdy but if you can start to get familiar with the lexicon of terms and start to build a basic knowledge this will allow you to automate your work. One huge benefit you provide is that you have a theoretical background in statistics whereas a comp sci person may not. Once you get comfortable, you can then leverage that skill set to make yourself more marketable. For example, one of my good friends that graduated with me learned R. Then, he realized how underpayed he was working in HR given his skillset so he moved to sales analytics. Mind you he has an IO degree but that move got him a pretty raise. 

Any regrets? Yeah: not learning about IO sooner.

Best 

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On 4/5/2018 at 9:07 PM, Left Skew said:

Hi Bassach,

I hope you're doing well. I'd love to answer your questions (given this is just my experience), but know this may be highly contingent on where you want to work and what type of program you went to (highly applied MS or a theoretical MA etc). Note im also biased as many are when speaking about their career fields.

  • What was your experience looking for jobs after completing the I/O Psych Masters? Is the degree recognized across the nation, are the positions highly competitive, etc.?

I had a fruitful experience. I had 3 job offers a month after my graduation. Of the 12 students in my cohort 100% of them were employed within 3 months of graduation in relevant positions. 50% had job offers prior to graduation. The degree is gaining popularity by the day. However, it's in a bimodal place: areas like Washington DC the types of jobs are very eclectic, whereas a place like Columbus Ohio tend to be in the human resources capacity. Every company has an HR department and IOs do well in those jobs just know you may start (salary-wise) a little lower. 

  • What are some suggestions you would offer in terms of what skills companies are looking for in an entry-level position?

From my perspective, coding, programming, and statistics are what will allow you to outshine others. Coding and programming specifically are not things that are easily developed in academia, so treat this as a hobby. In the workplace you will be doing things over and over so automating your work will help you tremendously. At school your tasks may be very novel and dynamic so writing an R script to clean data and run an analysis isn't as fruitful if you only run that analysis once. Also the ability to present your knowledge to nonexperts. You are trained to be a science-practitioner so don't lose the science side of yourself, but don't be so research oriented that others consider you too impractical and thus ignore you.  

  • From your experience, what are some mistakes you made while looking for jobs, that you think could have been avoided?

If you only takeaway one thing from this post it should be this: social capital is the name of the game. I spent countless hours uploading my resumes to application portals and writing cover letters. Stop wasting your time doing the formal application stuff. Put your resources into contacting people. Look up alumni from your program, go to networking events, look for emails of employees in the HR department, do the Assessment Center at SIOP. Don't be ashamed to send people emails, many people want to help you. Your journey will be far more fruitful if you leverage people. 

  • What was your opening salary for an entry-level I/O Psych position?

Also very dependent on where you go. You may end up getting 55k in the Midwest whereas in DC you can start right under 70k. It's been 3 years (so I don't know how inflation has influenced this) but I started at 67k base. I'm at 79k now, keep in mind I'm going on 2.5 years at my job and I was promoted. Most of those in my cohort are around 80k after 3 years. 

  • What skills are highly sought after in an employee with an I/O degree?

This is related to the second point but statistical programming. You can start to cultivate this on the job. I don't know what you're doing right now but you should try to take up R as a hobby, if you can't no worries. I know it sounds nerdy but if you can start to get familiar with the lexicon of terms and start to build a basic knowledge this will allow you to automate your work. One huge benefit you provide is that you have a theoretical background in statistics whereas a comp sci person may not. Once you get comfortable, you can then leverage that skill set to make yourself more marketable. For example, one of my good friends that graduated with me learned R. Then, he realized how underpayed he was working in HR given his skillset so he moved to sales analytics. Mind you he has an IO degree but that move got him a pretty raise. 

Any regrets? Yeah: not learning about IO sooner.

Best 

Hi Left Skew, 

Thank you for the detailed response. You certainly have very good points pertaining to networking and taking up R as a hobby. 

 

I am debating between the DFW area or the CT/Washington area. From what I've heard, people have had a better experience finding jobs in the northeast area. But I can always apply to different places even if I attend a Dallas school. However, I am not sure how the networking opportunities are in the Dallas area either. 

Again, thank you so much for such an informative response!

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