Advice for aspiring psychologists

We've been asking psychologists for years what one piece of advice they would give to aspiring psychologists. Here we collect the top answers.

We've asked psychologists in our 'One on One' section for 'one nugget of advice for aspiring psychologists'. Here are our favourites...

‘Follow your passion – not what’s currently in fashion.’
Jane Ussher

‘Don’t ever get put off approaching senior scientists to ask them about their work or opinion.’
Hugo Spiers

‘If you represent a minority in Britain be prepared for the fact that your life will likely also be impacted by the inequalities associated with that group. Make allowances for it, don’t deny it, but keep going (and link in with the support you need) because your voice is important.’
Gail Coleman

‘Recognise that those with whom you work, consult or teach are as much a source of knowledge about psychology as we are. Learn from them and never stop learning from them.’
Dan Gould

‘Take as much time to consider what is important to do as what is feasible to do.’
John Sloboda

‘Don’t take the review process personally. You have to be able to eat humble pie in the face of constructive criticism and to be bold enough to ignore the less constructive sort.’
Essi Viding

‘Have a breadth of knowledge. Know lots of theories in lots of areas and read lots of different types of studies. Then use this to do something novel and creative. Don’t just reinvent the wheel.’
Jane Ogden

‘Never be afraid to move to a better job.’
Martin Conway

‘Don’t ever give up until the door is finally closed. Just because one person, or one group of people, is not excited by your work does not necessarily mean that others will feel the same.’
Susan Golombok

‘If your hopes are not realised, then remember that psychology graduates are very employable across a wide range of organisations, and keep an open mind in looking at the opportunities available.’
Margaret McAllister

‘Find something to balance out all the mind work – for me, that’s roller-blading!’
Almuth McDowall

‘Aim for absolute clarity for your audience in your writing and speaking about your work.’
Maryon Tysoe

‘Collaborate with people who you enjoy working with. If you can have both tough theoretical discussions and great chats over a glass of wine, it makes working relationships straightforward, productive and fun!’
Victoria Simms

‘Network, volunteer, get involved with the BPS. You will always find someone willing to help you to progress your career.’
Roxane L. Gervais

‘If used well, social media can be a wonderful forum to connect with researchers, hear about the latest research, and communicate with your wider community.’
Lydia M. Hopper

‘Most students want to be a clinical psychologist. They wrongly believe this is the only way to work as a professional psychologist. The best piece of advice I can impart is look to the practising certificates as plan B’s. Look at the applied behaviour analysis, cognitive behavioural therapy and psychoanalytic certificates. Choose the one that best suits the client group you want to work with.’
Terry Dovey

‘Learn, learn, learn, and read, read, read; whilst connecting it to clinical practice or the particular field of psychology you decide to go into. Keep yourself up to date and relevant as a psychologist because the current climate is so changeable (sometimes cruelly so).’
Maureen McIntosh

‘Don’t define yourself by your career. Picture yourself on your deathbed wondering did I spend enough time in the lab/clinic/committee room?’
Paul Broks

‘Write every day. Keep writing and you will get better at it. It is just like any other skill and writing is the key to communication. It forces you to be more coherent and relevant.’
Bruce Hood

‘Strive to build a portfolio of skills and experiences, especially in voluntary and third sector organisations, and find ways to explore and ‘give away’ your knowledge of the rich evidence base being built in many areas of psychology, wherever you find yourself working.’
Jacqueline Akhurst

‘Be nice to people; deliver what you promise. Do those two things and you won’t go far wrong.’
Sam Cartwright-Hatton

‘Every mentor, no matter how brilliant, has limitations. Multiple mentors allow one to learn different theoretical perspectives and different methodological skills.’
David Buss

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