Aoife Lyons, Occupational Psychologist, Public Appointments Service
Degree subject Occupational Psychology, Masters in Organisational Psychology
Job title Occupational Psychologist
Employer Public Appointments Service
I was always interested in both psychology and business, so when I came across occupational psychology it was the perfect option for me. After finishing my Masters degree I was offered a job with a consultancy firm and stayed there for two years. Occupational psychology can be a difficult area to get into and consultancy is a great way to get into the field and build up your practical work experience.
I left the consultancy firm when I was offered a position in the civil service. The thing I enjoy most about my role is the great range and variety of tasks I'm involved in. At the moment my duties include designing aptitude tests for candidates, working with interview boards and devising reports about recruitment practices across the civil service.
I'm also really enjoying the range of opportunities available for career development. Further study in your field is encouraged and there are plenty of courses available for people to take to help further their career. I've just completed a diploma in employment law which is proving very useful for my everyday work. One of the major differences I've noted between student life and working life is the amount of control you have over your own workload. When you're a student you are often told what to do, and there's a fairly rigid studying framework. At work you manage your own workload, and when you leave the office you leave it all behind – there's no guilt over extra studying time or reading around the subject!
Advice for graduates
Consider the value that you can bring to an organisation and remember that work experience and internships are very valuable tools in the job marketplace. Use professional bodies and organisations as a way of getting in touch with people who work in the areas you're interested in. This is a great way to build contacts and gain insight.