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Are You Thinking of a Career in HR?


A woman in a classroom raising her hand.


​Don't keep it a secret—shout it from the rooftops. Let everyone in your network—your family, friends, professors or connections through hobbies and volunteer activities—know your career goals. Tell anyone who will listen—even your doctor or dentist. Chances are, at least one person knows an HR professional and can help you expand your network.

Alongside networking, you can set yourself up for a successful HR career with these four strategies:

Enroll in Interdisciplinary Courses

HR is a truly cross-departmental role—the glue that holds an entire organization together. In addition to completing the core courses for your degree in HR, consider these three courses to broaden your perspectives:

  • Take an introductory accounting class. HR leaders often review enterprise-wide and departmental financial statements. Having a baseline understanding of how to read financial statements and how each type of statement interacts with the other is helpful.
  • Sign up for a psychology course. People—and the issues they experience—are complex. Many of the situations human resource professionals encounter require emotional intelligence, empathy and sound logic—all skills that can come from a psychology class.
  • Take a SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP preparatory course. This will allow you to develop competencies in all areas of the SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge, or SHRM BASK (formerly the SHRM Body of Competency and Knowledge, or SHRM BoCK).

Create a Personal Board of Directors

Organizations rely on a board of directors (BOD) to offer diverse perspectives, point out potential challenges ahead and push an organization to achieve its fullest potential. You can benefit from creating a personal BOD to give you career feedback. Include HR leaders from a mix of roles and plan quarterly check-in meetings.

Explore Businesses of Different Sizes

Part of finding the right job fit is knowing if a small or large organization aligns with your goals and skills. Getting experience in both settings has its advantages.

Small organization: Gives you a chance to be in charge, offers opportunities for implementing ideas, provides a breadth of experience.
Large business: Allows for contributing to improvements on existing practices, offers an opportunity to gain a depth of expertise.

Join Professional Organizations

When you're just starting, you'll need a helping hand to make up for a lack of job experience. Joining the Society for Human Resource Management connects you with other professionals who have been there done that, so you can:

  • Get clues for next steps on your career path.
  • Access a professional framework so you can self-assess your career journey.
  • Create a higher profile so you can stay top of mind when opportunities arise.
  • Receive ongoing professional development through mentoring, coaching and training.

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