Tips for finding a post-grad job in psychology

Check sites like HigherEdJobs and HERC for research positions at universities. These websites pull from university job postings. You can also find jobs on job boards, organizational listings, and through listservs (more information below).

Positions may be listed under different job titles. Some common titles are “Lab Manager”, “Research Coordinator”, “Study Coordinator”, “Research Specialist”, and “Research Technician”. Some labs may also have paid “Research Assistant” positions that look similar to lab manager jobs in terms of responsibilities, so don’t discount a job just because the title is “Research Assistant”.

If you find a job through an external website, don’t just submit your application through that website because your application might not ever make it to the PI. Instead, apply through the university website, and also email the PI directly to express interest. Your email should be short and polite, and should contain your application materials in attached documents.

Try cold emailing the PI, even if there isn’t a job posting for a lab of interest. Keep your email short and polite, and demonstrate a genuine interest in their work. Try to reference specific research, especially recent publications since these topics are likely what they are currently studying in the lab. Attach your CV to the email, and follow up once with the professor after 2 weeks if you have not heard back.

If you spot a job you want, apply quickly. The turnaround time is often very fast, so don’t miss your chance by trying to perfect your application materials. Of course you should still tailor your submission to the job, but try to submit your application asap.

Highlight relevant skills, especially technical skills. If you have experience with data and coding, make sure that’s immediately apparent on your CV.

Here are some job search sites, listservs, and wikis: SPSP job search Social Psychology Network job posting forum; Cognitive Development Society Listserv; Psychology job wiki; Post-grad lab positions wiki.

Feel free to contact me directly with any questions.