Studying psychology is really one of the most interesting things I have ever done.
I love psychology, I love learning about people, what makes them tick, what makes them wonder, what makes them afraid, what makes them happy.
The more I learn about psychology, and therapy, the more I want to get involved with what others are doing in the field.
From my own personal experience, I have found that the single best way to do this is via networking.
This is for a number of different reasons.
I realised that networking holds with it a huge amount of power in psychology.
Psychology is a field of individuals who care about the wellbeing and desires of others.
As a result, when I have tried to network, I have often been met with great advice and people willing to help.
Another reason why networking is so effective in psychology is that few do it!
This could be for many reasons
Perhaps people are afraid, perhaps they don’t want to step out of line, perhaps they don’t know what they are doing or who to content.
I want to give you a bit of insight into my story regarding networking, how I did it, and still do it, and the impact I have experienced as a result.
So, why should we network in psychology?
You may very well be starting out on your journey in the field, perhaps in your undergrad, or postgrad or doctorate, or perhaps you have just recently qualified.
Regardless, what needs to be realised is so many others are in the same position.
What differentiates you from the field?
Research shows that less than 10% of psychology undergraduates actually pursue a career in psychology
This could do with the challenges of continual study, or that some are just no longer interested in the area.
I actually think it has a lot to do with guidance and with knowing your path
If you are studying in psychology then you need to network!
Networking has opened so many doors for me, given me the opportunity and desire to develop online content and work with numerous individuals and organisations.
I have been given the opportunity to keynote speak at conferences, attend and present at international conference across the world, been offered job opportunities on the spot and connected with some very prominent psychologists.
All through networking.
So, here’s how I did it…
I would make a point of collecting all the contact information of the psychology centres and prominent psychologists in my area
I created bulk emails and sent them out, customising them where appropriate.
I would express my interest in their work and that I wanted to learn more.
What’s key here is that I tried to add value for them where ever I could.
If that meant volunteering for them in their centre, developing a workshop for them or writing content for social media campaigns, then I suggested it.
No matter what the situation, organisation or individual, I also made a point of adding value to them first before anything else.
I attended free events, and at times paid to attend conferences if I had the money.
This was a brilliant opportunity for me to meet face to face with people that were in attendance.
Often at events in psychology, you can get an idea of who might be attending, via social media and guides of who will be speaking.
I made sure that those attending were in line with my interests.
When I went, I would ensure I managed to get a couple of minutes with people I wanted to network with.
I created business cards and discussed my interests, work and my availability to add value to them.
I’ll be honest, networking at conferences had limited results.
Largely because people are there to either speak or listen.
I found conference attending helpful, but not as helpful as calling or emailing organisations directly.
One of the keys to networking effectively is that you have to create the opportunity for yourself.
More often than not, the opportunity that you desire and want to go after will not be an option right now.
You have to create the opportunity for yourself.
During my studies in counselling psychology, I was really struggling with workload, commitments, studies, placement and making enough money to live off.
There were no opportunities for trainees to learn directly about counselling psychology on the job, whilst earning a living.
So, I decided to try and change this, I reached out to one of the biggest private practices in the country and managed to arrange a meeting with the CEO.
I stuck with the principles of adding value and pitched the idea of why hiring counselling psychology trainees for placement on a paid basis would be a great idea for him and his organisation.
He loved it.
So much so that he and I created multiple job opportunities for counselling psychologists in training to take on placement at his organisation on a paid progression programme format.
In doing so, I had created a job for myself, whilst also developing my experience working with one of the most premier psychologists in the country.
All because I reached out, added value and was aware that the opportunities I wanted were limited.
Now, you might think that networking is just consistent of reaching out to people and asking if they will help you out.
In truth, networking can be so much more than this.
I have found that some of the best networking opportunities that have come my way have actually not been from me reaching out to people, but people reaching out to me.
How has this happened?
Through developing content.
I create a lot of content for social media, my written blog here and my YouTube channel GetPsyched.
People who read my content and what my videos sometimes reach out to me and want to know more.
This was how I managed to get some opportunities speaking at international conferences.
People saw my content and connected with me and asked if I would like to do some work with them.
My advice would be to start your networking in psychology by reaching out to people via email, telephone and attending conferences, but if you are really keen to develop your networking opportunities further then developing content could be one of the best things you do.
Networking is powerful.
In psychology, it is so underdone that it opens opportunities for those willing to take advantage of the opportunities available.
I hope this post has given you a little insight into the potential of networking and some of the key steps you can take to networking in psychology for yourself.