This year marks my 11th year as an HR professional and I could not be happier with the career path that chose me! I say it chose me because prior to working in HR, I had never considered a career in Human Resources. I previously worked in the Property Management industry and after departing from my job as a property manager, I accepted a temporary assignment as an HR Assistant and never looked back! After just one day on the job, I knew I had found my career for life. I was eager to learn everything I could in the world of HR so I joined local HR organizations (HR Houston) and the national HR organization (SHRM). At work, I picked my manager’s brain and practically begged for more work assignments that would help me learn as much as I could as quickly as I could. I learned immediately that you have to be a master at multi-tasking and flexible with your time. If you are considering Human Resources as a career choice, I have listed a few ways you can enter into the profession:
Consider starting as an HR Assistant – The starting salary may not be desirable but it’s the best way to get your foot in the door and learn the basics and earn respect in the industry.
Take on special HR related assignments – Company Executives often send “frivolous” projects to the HR Department to be completed so seize the opportunity to volunteer to help the HR staff with an employee engagement project.
Take HR classes at the local University or Community College – Community Colleges usually have a certificate program that do not require previous work experience. This is your opportunity to take classes in Human Resources to determine if this is the best career choice for you. Even if you change your mind, HR classes are good to have on your resume to show employers you are familiar with basic HR principles.
Join local and National HR Organizations – Many major cities in the country have local HR Chapters that are subsidiary chapters of the National Organization (SHRM). The membership rate to join vary depending on your experience level or student classification so be sure to check and see if you are eligible for a discounted membership rate. You do not need to be a paid member to attend meetings, however membership will get you reduced rates to valuable lectures, discussions and social events.
Networking – It’s one thing to join an organization but it you want to be taken seriously in HR, I encourage you to network, network, network! Attend HR organizational meetings, meet with an HR professor to get guidance, go to HR social events and talk to active HR professionals and ask for business cards and send emails to keep in touch. You must take the initiative and speak up. Always remember, Networking is one letter away from ‘Notworking’. 😉
While making your decision, keep in mind that HR Professionals are held to a high standard to enforce policies and implement procedures that are in the best interest of the corporation. Personal relationships with employees outside of the HR department may be discouraged and at times you may feel isolated in the HR Department. However, it is a rewarding career that can prepare you for numerous opportunities within any corporation. HR has multiple functions in the areas of Recruitment, Professional Development, Employee Relations, Diversity and Inclusion and Health Benefits and Wellness.
When given the opportunity to work as an HR Generalist, you may have the chance to experience these various roles and then make a decision later if you want to select a particular functionality.
Please feel free to ask me any questions that you may have about a career in Human Resources!
I look forward to hearing from you!