New to HR? I Have My Degree…Now What?
Jazmine Wilkes | Career, Entry, HR| By
Spring graduations have been put up on social media over the last few weeks and we still have many to go. It’s exciting to see people completing the college journey and finally earning their degree, no matter what degree or what age. Sadly, many college graduates finish the same way they started college, confused.
New to HR? I Have My Degree…Now What?
Getting a degree in HR and human resources is just the beginning of starting your new life and career. It can lead to more questions than answers, a lot more research (yes, the work never stops), and the beginning of the job search. I recently obtained my Master’s in HR and now I’m trying to understand where this will take me and if I’m ready for everything that’s coming.
HR is a field of experience, in my opinion, the more you have the better you’ll be accepted. Recently during a search of HR Positions in my state and worldwide, there a lot more jobs available than I thought there would be. But, that doesn’t mean it’s the perfect job for you. You’ve gotten that degree, now here are a few next steps to take.
Understand Your Goals Post Graduation
This can be hard, there are so many areas of HR, who exactly knows where they want to end? It’s tough, but it’s necessary. Understanding your end game will help you through the rest. It allows you to understand what jobs you’re going to need to be held responsible for and get experience in before applying. While yes, you might want to take your employers job within the first 3 months because you THINK you could do it better, that’s usually not likely. If you don’t understand your end goal, how can you understand your positions?
What Does HR Mean to You
You’ve gotten the degree, so hopefully, you really believe this is the career field for you, but sometimes that’s not the case. You finally get that official HR Title and realize you hate it and everything it stands for. Leave. No matter how much you’ve collected in student loans. Figure out what it is you actually want to do, but don’t ruin employees lives because you’ve decided this isn’t it. Don’t stay in HR for the money, the speaking gigs, the books, or whatever it is that you see fit if it’s not for the better of employees and the company.
Hopefully, you didn’t leave this until you actually graduated and you’ve already been filling out applications, sending resumes, and creating a network that will be a source of support before the big day. If you haven’t this isn’t the time to party and wait around. Some people can get jobs 5 days after graduation, while some might be 5 months. You never know exactly where you will land in this game of life. While waiting for that callback, you should be keeping up with laws, policies, creating systems, attending webinars, anything free that will get your name out there, in a safe place. HR isn’t a career that you can just hope and wish you’ll get something correct every time an employee comes to your office with a question. This also shows your potential employer that you’re serious about the job.
Research and Plan Your HR Educational Goals
A lot of this boils down to researching what is possible in HR. Certifications, teaching, more degrees, joining an HR organization. How can you get yourself out into the HR world and continue learning, growing, and advancing in your career? One thing I’ve learned over these last 2 years in HR is that the job never stops. There will always be an employee needing something, a government agency wanting to request something, some forms needing to be completed. Buring yourself out early (or at all) shouldn’t be part of the game. Your job is not defined by the generational differences. If you’re not happy with the company you decided on, leave. If you’ve stayed for a few years and the money isn’t adding up, leave. Don’t stay where you’re not wanted or valued.
Congratulations, you received your degree in Human Resources! Now comes more work, but with the joy of actually helping someone in need and not just turning in your assumption in a paper. This journey, long or short, to achieving this goal, will now help employees who are searching to be heard by their non-existent HR department, hopefully, you’ll be the change the company is searching for.