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What steps can I take while in college to work toward becoming a human resources manager?

I am an incoming college freshman who intends upon majoring in business administration. #business #businessadministration #humanresources #career

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Guadalupe’s Answer

If you would like to become a Human Resources Manager, a great step is to find an internship that can teach you the skills necessary to be successful in this field. Also, I recommend joining organizations in your school that focus on this as they will help you better understand the industry and what are the steps involved in being able to become an HR Manager. In order to be great in Human Resources, becoming certified is important and challenging. Make yourself aware of what it takes to become certified since some certifications involve having a certain amount of years of experience. Additionally, make sure you retain the information from your courses as some information is crucial, such as the legal environment of HR.
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Ken’s Answer

The most important steps are to get to know yourself well enough to be sure of selecting a career area that suits your personality traits and then doing person to person in person networking to further acquaint yourself with that career area and those involved in it to be sure that there is a comfortable fit.


Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
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Simeon’s Answer

I'd recommend taking an advanced HR class as soon as you can to see some of the specializations within HR. There are a lot of directions you could go in with the degree, so if you can figure out a few that interest you, you can look into internships that are related to that specialization.
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Jorge’s Answer

Hi there, Sade. I recommend building your resume, first. Make sure you seek internships or volunteer work in order to gain experience. Most job in HR require some sort of experience in HR or business related profession. Also, don't expect to become a HR manager straight out of college, most HR management job require extensive experience. Best of luck from a fellow HR student.
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Lashay’s Answer

Hi Sade: One of the most valuable things you can do while in college to become successful in the Human Resources profession is to gain as much experience as possible. I previously worked with HR students and the most successful one followed these steps: join the Student Human Resource Management organization as a student (SHRM), attend their meetings, network with faculty in business department with HR background, create a LinkedIn profile specifying your interest in HR--fill it out completely and update it often, attend job fairs to volunteer, shadow or intern in their organization. Near the last two months of your senior year, attend job fairs and search LinkedIn for jobs in HR. Also, stay connected with your Career Services office for upcoming networking events . Best of luck!

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Terral’s Answer

Hello Sade! I think there are lots of great steps that you can take to set yourself up for success in this arena.


As an HR Manager, a large part of your role will be to bridge the "people" side of your company with the "business" side of your company. So, on the academic side of things, I would recommend coursework that relates to psychology (courses like human development and small group dynamics come to mind) and business (maybe international business models or how to read a P&L). Being able to highlight these types of courses on your resume will certainly be to your advantage.


Outside of the classroom, there are a number of things you can do to set yourself up for success as well. I would recommend being closely involved in at least one student organization. Ideally, you could hold a position that focuses either on the business side of the organization (think, Treasurer) or on the people side (think, Historian or Membership Admin).


While in college, I personally held the position of New Member Educator in my sorority, and having "onboarded" new members into our organization was part of what helped me get my first job in human resources - a coordinator position where 50% of my role was onboarding new employees. I would recommend this route to anyone if that sounds interesting to you.

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Kelsey’s Answer

Hi Sade,

I think you have some great information in the answers above. I agree that joining a collegiate SHRM chapter (or starting one if it doesn't exist), is a wonderful way to get hands on experience very early on in your college career. To learn more about HR, reach out to your advisor and see if they can connect you to an HR manager for your university. Having a "sit along" or just chatting about a day in their life as an HR manager can give you some great insight, and potentially even become a mentor for you in the future. Definitely pursue a business degree and learn as much as possible about "people analytics" and statistics itself. If you can have both the technical/analytics skills and the "soft skills" of behavioral science, management, and communication skills, you will be successful!

All the best!
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