How Do I Break into HR?

Last night, I had the opportunity to participate in a Human Resource/ IO Psychology Panel at St. Cloud State University.

Arranged by Professors Kevin Mlodzik and Elaine Davis, our panel represented public and private sector firms and broad range of HR experiences and my partners in crime were:

  • Pete Miller, VP of HR, Connexus Energy
  • Mardi Noyes, SPHR, Director of HR Catholic Charities
  • Corrine Carlson, Human Resources, St. Cloud Hospital
  • Lance Fenton, Global Survey Center Administrator, Korn/Ferry
  • Chuck Gorres, Director of Employee Service, Cold Spring Granite

We talked about our education and entry and progression into HR as well as current issues in the field. From the audience and professors, we addressed questions about networking (do it), finding internships (pound the pavement), differentiating yourself from others (highlight critical thinking skills), and what we enjoyed most about our jobs.

Clearly, top of mind for everyone in the room was breaking into the field and getting that first job. I wished (upon a star?) that we could tell them that if they do well in school, they will easily find a job. But that would not be true. The market is not that way. It's tough out there and Pete said it best when he said, "The best people don't always get the job."

I'd like to offer the students links to "getting that first job and breaking into HR" posts you've written or read. I am looking for been-there-done-it-and-here's-what-worked-or-didn't-work-for-me kinds of things. Whatcha got? Leave a comment or send me an email.

Last night, I saw an engaged audience of HR and Psychology students. If this is the future of our profession, we are going to be in great shape.