Why your psychology degree is going to get you into a top startup like Deliveroo

Sep 21, 2018

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Graduating with a degree in psychology is both an exciting and stressful time for students. You’ve finished your studies – great! – but…what’s next?

Unlike degrees in vocational subjects like Medicine, from which graduates normally enter the field they have been specifically studying for, a Psychology degree can open up a variety of different pathways and might just leave graduates stuck at a cross-roads, not particularly sure where they want to go career-wise.

There is, however, one particular path which is exciting, offers fantastic progression opportunities, and is a great fit for psychology graduates: the world of startups.

Startup hiring

Growing startups are always looking to hire more people to help them expand their businesses. Their growth is driven by the quality of their team and their investors want to see them regularly bringing high-quality new staff on board. There are therefore ample opportunities for ambitious graduates.

And for university leavers, startups represent a really solid place to quickly get to grips with the world of work. You tend to learn a lot more on the job than you might at a large corporation, where structured graduate schemes are slower moving. But you will also need to work harder and transfer more of the skills that you developed at university.

Skills required

When applying for a job in a startup company, it is important to highlight the range of skills that you excelled in while studying. Startups, by their very nature, prefer candidates who can turn their hands to more than one task and not be limited by one narrow job definition. So if your degree combined, say, everything from numerical analysis to extensive essays, you are a natural fit (sound familiar Psychology students…?)

Take a look at this job posting for a Data Scientist role from British ‘unicorn’ ($1billion-valued companies) Deliveroo, for example. The company is looking for “a structured, analytical thinker” and someone who is able to “formulate and test hypotheses”. With a psychology degree requiring students to regularly come up with their own hypotheses, gathering data and then analysing it, you are sure to develop the hard skills that the role requires.

Soft skills

However, it’s not just the hard skills that psychology graduates have developed that will help them in start-ups. When you start work, you need to take into consideration your soft skills; the interpersonal skills. Psychologists work with people and are required to understand the human mind. It is likely that they have more of an understanding of people’s emotional needs and difficulties than a lot of other people. Over the course of their degree, they would have developed a lot of soft skills, if they hadn’t already before beginning at university.

As explained at The Balance Careers, soft skills are those such as the ability to communicate, think creatively, solve problems, and make decisions. These skills are desired by companies as they make an employee adaptable to new tasks (important in a startup where you can be taking on the responsibilities of a variety of roles) and are key for dealing with both customers and your work colleagues.

For the role of a Data Scientist in Deliveroo mentioned above, the ideal candidate would be required to analyse, make decisions and communicate to their colleagues changes and developments that have both the company’s and the customers’ best interests in mind. These soft skills will help you to make and communicate those decisions.

Requiring a mixture of these hard and soft skills means that Psychology is a great degree for those who want to work in startups. The diverse ranges of skills that you have developed allow those who studied Psychology to be adaptable employees with both analytical and interpersonal skills. With startups’ reliance on those who can be flexible with their responsibilities, Psychology graduates are very strong candidates.

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