First I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. I like your straight forward answers and sense of humor! My question to you is what should a new graduate like me do to get into the HR world?
A little bit about me: I’ve graduated with my BA in psych in 07 and will receive my MBA in Sept 09. I’ve also gotten a HR Certificate. I’ve worked as a recruiter for about a year at a staffing agency and found that sale was not something I enjoy. I am now working as a HR administrator for a local company. The problem is at this position, I am working under a payroll person who doesn’t know much about anything else but payroll. I want to look for a place where I can really learn from someone who’s experienced and foster my career.
I’ve been applying to numerous positions but have not gotten any luck. Every job I look requires experience! How can I gain experience if no one is giving me the chance? I know that networking is important so that’s why I’ve joined SHRM and my local HR Chapter, but even so, that hasn’t really help. Please help!
First of all, you are doing something right. Not just in writing to me (I used to say that showed superior intellect, but after some of the questions I’ve received, I’ve had to realize that that ain’t true in all situations), but in how you’ve written to me. You started out by complimenting me and describing what I do here. This shows you are a better letter writer than our friend, the Public Relations guy, and he got a job.
Second, you do have experience. Recruiting and fulfilling administrative duties does give you experience. Stop thinking it doesn’t. It, at a minimum, teaches you the language of HR. Use that langauge
Third, every job description every entry level job description says, “5 years of experience or similar.” Bah. They know this job doesn’t take 5 years of experience, so why write it? But they do and I don’t know why. (Yes I do. Because they don’t want to write, “this job requires you to have half a clue.”)
So, what are you doing wrong? Well, for starters you’re applying for jobs in a tight job market. And, unfortunately, this means you are competing against people who DO have five years of experience. Nothing you can do about that, just keep trying.
The other thing, which we can’t fix now, is you have too much eduction in relation to your experience. Some people disagree with me, but I’m generally of the opinion that you should work for several years (5 or so) before getting an MBA. How can you be a master at business when you haven’t even been a beginner at business?
Personalize your resume and cover letter. Don’t discount your own experience. And keep on, keeping on.