Here’s a brief visual overview about how sociology is used beyond universities. Applied sociology is the use of sociological concepts and methods to answer specific client questions and to address community concerns. This video covers: what is sociology? What sorts of questions and problems can applied sociology address? What type of work do applied sociologists do?
This is the first article from our special series, Applied Sociologists and the Covid-19 Pandemic. Benjamin Drury works as a Resident Head, in the not-for-profit sector (service delivery), in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Writing in April 2020, Benjamin discusses how his role looking after the needs of students on campus has changed under lockdown, with much of his support moving online. He shows how training in qualitative research methods helps with his reporting duties, and how the works of C. Wright Mills, Emile Durkheim, W.I. Thomas, Talcott Parsons and Patricia Hill Collins have helped him think through the impact of COVID-19 and his work as a practitioner.
By: Benjamin Drury
During my time as an educator, and even today as I pursue my doctorate in Education, my applied sociology background – medical sociology specifically – expanded to include education as a key component of health and wellness. As I witnessed the extent to which the deck is stacked against certain populations (e.g. Black and Latinx students) I knew it was time for me to exit my role as tenured professor – which I found to be far too restricting – and moved back into the field of applied sociology.
Currently, I serve as Dean of Instruction at a vocational training school in Chicago, Founder and Executive Director of the Chicago Education Advocacy Cooperative, and Resident Head at a residential college in the Midwest. Paired with 4 contingent faculty appointments, and a three-year-old son… I keep plenty busy. Presently, my role as Resident Head is particularly interesting.Read More
Welcome to part four of our series on Careers in Applied Sociology. We started with the issues graduates encounter in establishing their careers. Next, we covered some steps on how to look for work. Then we looked at how to tailor your CV and resume. Today, let’s touch on some tips of how to get started on writing your application. Let’s go!Read More
Colleagues here is your belated third instalment in our January 2019 feature on Careers in Applied Sociology. Thankfully, you’ll still get your fourth instalment in a couple of days! The first post painted the issues sociology graduates experience in finding applied work. The second post gave tips on how to look for work. Today we’re going to look at how to write our CVs and resumes.
Sociology graduates often base their CVs and resumes on examples from academia, possibly because some academics make theirs publicly available and this is the model graduates follow. Academic examples are not a useful model for most applied sociology jobs (publications near the front, for example). Many candidates will send out the same CV/ resume to many places and wonder why they don’t get a call back. Creating a targeted CV or resume fit for purpose will help you get ahead of the pile!Read More
This is our second post in the 2019 series of Careers in Applied Sociology. The first post gave an overview about the challenges and opportunities in finding satisfying work. This post provides advice about how to get started in your career path. We begin with some options you might consider as a sociology graduate, finding opportunities for work, and setting up a targeted job search.
This is a preliminary guide only, of course, so do what feels right for yourself. Let’s move onto a few general tips on finding work strongly connected to your sociology degree.Read More
Hello colleagues. Today is the first of a new series of posts about Careers in Applied Sociology. This first post sets up the issues sociology graduates experience. In follow up posts, I provide advice on how to start your job search; preparing your CV and application; managing the interview; and negotiating pay.
A longitudinal study published by the American Sociological Association, “What Can I Do with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology?,” follows a cohort of USA-based sociology students who graduated in 2005. The first report shows these sociology graduates are highly satisfied with the conceptual training they receive. Further research also shows these sociology majors are highly employable, as most find a full-time paid work within the first two years of graduating. At the same time, while around 90% of graduates are either somewhat satisfied or very satisfied with their jobs, most are not working in roles closely related to their degrees. The stronger the connection between their role and sociology, the higher the career satisfaction, and overall happiness with having majored in sociology.
Sociology graduates identify gaps in the skills they are taught. Namely, there needs to be a stronger focus on vocational training. Let’s look first at the research about the type of jobs sociology graduates secure, as well as their career satisfaction. We then see how race and gender impacts these outcomes.Read More
Happy New Year, colleagues! May we all continue to make a better world through sociological action.
I have a few blog posts ready to kick start 2019! Starting from tomorrow, we’ll have a weekly series over January, on Careers in Sociology. We’ll cover the issues and opportunities for graduates, how to look for applied work, creating a CV, starting a consultancy, and from there, there’ll be other fun pieces. Watch this space!
‘Neither the life of an individual nor the history of a society can be understood without understanding both.’
Today’s sociology quote is from C. Wright Mills’ classic, The Sociological Imagination. Mills argues that people sometimes feel “trapped” by their troubles or their personal circumstances . For example, people have obligations to their families, they have commitments at work, their actions are restricted by fear of gossip in their friendship groups, or they might feel as if they have to live their lives in particular ways because society forces this upon us.
At the same time, most people understand their lives as being unique. Falling in love, the type of jobs we end up pursuing or those we miss out on, the decision to live alone or the types of families we form – these are all choices that are mediated (or shaped) by the the time and place we live. People rarely think about their life choices – nor the lives of others – as the outcome of institutions and history.
Societies have a tendency to view certain lives negatively: being homeless, being unemployed, teen pregnancies, addiction, incarceration – people often blame the individual for pathways that “deviate” from the norm.
Some people might think about a handful of external influences as having direct impact on their lives – religion, family or perhaps the media – but they do not always see the complex interplay between various social forces. Sociology makes this connection between the individual (biography) and broader social structures. This is why Mills says that in order to understand an individual we must understand history and vice versa.
In 2011, Career Cast ranked the job of sociologist 11th amongst all professions in the USA, based on Department of Labour measures of work environment, stress and hiring outlook. In 2013, The Wall Street Journal announced that sociology was in 19th place in its list of best jobs. They drew on data by the USA Bureau of Labour focusing on five measures: “physical demands, work environment, income, stress, and hiring outlook.”
Sociology skills remain in high demand in government, the not-for-profit sector and in the corporate world.