Advanced human resources education

Advanced HR DegreeOne of my friends emailed me recently with a question, and I know it’s a question that a lot of people ask. Even if you haven’t asked me, my opinion’s on its way. Enjoy!

I got my bachelor’s degree in HR in 2008. I have not worked in the field before, and I’m still looking for a job. I just came across an advanced HR program that looks interesting. It costs $4500. Do you think it would be a good idea for me to do this program?

In my (o so unprofessional) opinion, going for further education before you’ve ever stepped foot into your career is a bad idea. Why? Well, what if you do it for a month or two and end up hating it?

That money would be gone forever.

I thought about graduate school a short while back, too. While I haven’t written it off forever, I don’t think it’s something I should be spending time, money, or energy on right now. A lot of job seekers realize how hard it will be to find a job, and then they decide to go back to school. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it sure looks like you’re trying to bury your head in the sand.

Well, if I can’t get a job, I’ll just go back and get more education. Then someone will have to give me a job.

Nope. That’s not how the real world works, my friend. Employers greatly value experience. Education is a nice addition, but experience will trump education in almost every scenario. Plus, if you’re trying to find a job, then you are probably not exactly rolling in cash. Why in the world would you decide to spend extra money when you’re not even bringing in any? It’s ludicrous.

Once you get a job, then you can look at moving into more education. It may seem like a good idea to go for it when you’re out of work, but please don’t do it if you don’t have experience yet. Bad plan.

10 thoughts on “Advanced human resources education

  1. shennee

    Well Said Ben- I think anythig one can do to expand your horizons, obtain a certification, and professionally challenge yourself is important. But This sounds like putting the cart before the horse. Why spend all of that money before you are certain that you enjoy your chosen career path, and have any required experience. Street smarts then book smarts sometimes is better. Always great posts.

  2. Trish McFarlane

    Ben, I tend to agree with this advice. Although it is frustrating for the person who still doesn’t have a job, I would tell them to seek a volunteer opportunity in the meantime that will help them build those HR skills and experiences. Another venue is to work at a temporary agency for awhile. They will get good experience interviewing candidates and learning the HR basics. Then, while still early in the career, go for the graduate degree. Although I personally earned my MA in human resources, if I were in the market today, I would definitely go for the MBA with concentration in HR. Again, better to keep the options open.

    1. Ben Post author

      Trish, I had no idea you were so highly qualified. I need to start asking you more technical questions. :-) Seriously, though, I agree completely.

  3. @BenjaminMcCall

    I say spend as much as you can and hope that everything work out. lol
    This is sound advice, while adding information helps… information in your head with no practical application or skill enforcement to embed it in that head is worthless! Your head might as well be a toilet with knowledge being flushed down the drain!
    .-= @BenjaminMcCall´s last blog ..Future of Learning: Learning HOW to LEARN =-.

    1. Ben Post author

      An interesting analogy, Benjamin. :-) And while I might not have put it so colorfully, you are spot on!

  4. Krista Francis

    I agree too. If I had the choice between someone with no experience and an ‘advanced HR program’ vs. someone with even a *little* experience, I would almost always choose someone who’s actually worked in HR.

    Also, as awesome as your program may be, how will it translate on your resume? Will recruiters/HR folks know what it means?

    Students, while the job market is as tough as it is, this post could be a good reminder to try to get some practical experience while still in school. Volunteer, intern–or try to get into a management track or some HR-esque tasks in your part-time jobs, whether they are retail, food service or the kids’ camp you work at every summer.
    .-= Krista Francis´s last blog ..Love the ‘Yes\’. The ‘No,\’ not so much. =-.

  5. Monnica

    Agree here. Any employer treat your degree only as an entry level.
    By having a degree a person don’t demonstrates intelligence and the ability to work.

    Having a degree proves only that a person can learn.

    Today as yesterday all that matter are skills . Skills and experience. Having an additional “paper” wont make a miracle if your not good at what your doing.

    And if your very good at what your doing then you probably don’t need it either.

  6. Pingback: Should I get an MBA or an SPHR (or PHR)? | upstartHR

  7. Christine

    Although most employment advertisements ask for two to four years experience, if you scroll to the qualifications and requirements it will ask for a Bachelor’s degree or PHR, or SPHR in addition to that required experience. So I think education is just as important as experience.

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