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Getting a Job with a Psychology B.S.

Getting a Job with a Psychology B.S.

Job Skills Possessed by Psychology Majors


If you are planning on getting a job after graduation, what skills will you have gained as a Psychology major that will make you attractive to employers? This is important, so you can market yourself successfully.


Edwards and Smith (1988) conducted structured interviews with 68 government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit sales and service corporations. They asked how important a number of skills were to these employers, as well as how knowledge in a number of important areas of psychology were. Tables 1 and 2 show how important these skills and knowledge areas were rated by these employers.

Table 1
Skill % of Employers Rating Useful
Writing proposals and reports 90%
Doing statistical analyses 84%
Conducting interviews 84%
Identifying problems and suggesting solutions based on research findings/knowledge of behavior 79%
Coding data 75%
Designing and conducting research projects 71%
Job analysis 69%
Using computer programs to analyze data 60%
Test and questionnaire construction 56%
Observation of human behavior 51%


Table 2
Knowledge Area % of Employers Rating Useful
How people think, solve problems, and process information 78%
Attitude and opinion formation and change 75%
Small group structure and dynamics 75%
Personnel selection techniques 72%
Perception and sensation of environment 71%
Organizational development 69%
Knowledge of organizational behavior, work, and productivity 68%
Effects of physical environment 66%
Learning and memory 63%
Theories and research about personality and individual differences 63%
Motivational principles 62%
Human development 50%

Edwards, J., & Smith, K. (1988). What skills and knowledge do potential employers value in baccalaureate psychologists? In Is Psychology for Them? New York: American Psychological Association, pp. 102-111.