If you’re an aspiring psychologist, or in any other profession for that matter, you should aim to gain some work experience over the summer.
Not only will it give you a better insight into your chosen career path, but it will also help to put your future job applications above everyone elses when you graduate.
I know everyone probably tells you to get work experience, and as a first year, I understand just how difficult it is to find somewhere to accept you or even reply to your emails! Even more frustrating is the limitations of where you can work due to confidentiality issues which crops up in a lot of psychology based organisations and institutions.
The advice I was given was to try and contact the local universities around where you live, to see if they have any research projects under way which you can get involved in – that way, you’ll have a better chance of being taken on because you’ll be working with people who are also students and graduates.
In addition, if like me, you’re interested in some of the more challenging and stressful fields of psychology, such as forensic or areas to do with childhood trauma, domestic violence etc, then any work experience which involves being exposed to stressful or uncomfortable situations and scenarios will look good on future applications, because it shows that you have the ability to work with the nature of the job – for example, you could volunteer for charities which help people who have been subject to violence, or work in a police organisation etc.
I’d also like to add that due to the nature of many psychology based work experience, it is usually necessary to have a CRB check (now called a DBS check), because you will more than likely be working with children or vulnerable adults.
You can apply for a CRB check here.
Good Luck with the search!