What Should She Do Between College and Grad School?


Erika writes:
I have recently graduated from the University of Connecticut where I earned a B.A./psychology major. My work experience is limited to food service and education (I supervised the patient dining room of a psych hospital and worked as an aide in a special-ed school). I intend to go on to graduate school but would like some office experience while I decide what area of study to pursue. I am uncertain about which specific positions I am qualified for; I hope you can help point me in the right direction! Thank you for your time.



The Career Doctor responds:
Erika the real question is what are you not qualified for? The combination of your degree and the skills you acquired from your work experience really open the door to numerous job possibilities. The key for you is to try and decide the type of office experience you desire. What are your long-term career goals? Why do you want to attend graduate school — what do you want to accomplish with a graduate degree?
My best advice for you is to contact your adviser and/or mentor at your alma mater and seek counsel from him or her. If you are looking to make psychology/counseling a career then it is critical to get the “right” kind of experience before graduate school — and your adviser and the career services office should be able to help you with networking contacts and perhaps even job leads.
If you are simply looking for a job to pay the bills while you contemplate graduate school then you have an extremely large array of jobs that you qualify for. You should determine your skills and interests but certainly employment in human resources marketing social work and admissions counseling all come to mind.
If you’re really unsure about your future might I suggest taking advantage of the advice and resources in an article written by my partner Katharine Hansen? Read Using a Personal Mission Statement to Chart Your Career Course.