Helping an HR Student

Recently I got an email from someone looking for some information on early HR career type stuff. Thought it might be interesting for someone else out there as well.


My name is Jay, I’m a french economics student, I’m in second year in college.

I have a project to write about the job I want to do later in my life, and that’s working in human resources. I must ask questions to someone working in the sector and I’m wondering if you could answer some of my questions about your job ? By the way, if some of your blog posts answer my questions, please give me the links to them. And feel free to add anything that you find interesting, the more there is, the better :) Thanks in advance !

What and where did you study ? Did you have work experience during your studies ?
I have a degree in human resources management from Athens State University (a local college). I worked full time while I was in school and took classes at night. The job was not in HR, but I knew that’s where I wanted to be once I graduated.

Why did you chose to study/work in HR ?
I answered this in my post on How to Get Into HR.

How long have you been working in HR ? What was your first job ? Was it easy to find it or were you unemployed for some time ?
I’ve been working in HR for about 20 months now. I just got into my second HR job and it’s better than my previous one by leaps and bounds. My first HR job was as an HR assistant at a local nonprofit organization. I was still working at the same job from college before accepting the nonprofit position. It was difficult to find a job that did not require me to have previous HR experience!

What’s the precise name of your actual job ?
Currently I am an HR Specialist.

What is your job exactly ? What do you do, what does your usual day look like ? Is it hard, stressful ? How are the working hours ?
Although my title says “specialist,” I really am a generalist. I’m eventually going to take over all of the HR function as we continue to grow (currently at 60 employees but probably over a hundred by mid-2011). In any given day I can answer questions about benefits, call job candidates, confront employee relations issues, or provide some training to managers. It’s hard, but it’s also fun/interesting. I could not specialize in one tiny part of the human resources function. I need variety! I work from forty to fifty hours a week.

In the end, do you find this job satisfying, are you happy with your career choice ? Why ?
I’m thrilled with my career choice, and this job is incredibly satisfying. Previously I worked for a large employer, and the issues they faced were incredibly challenging. The problem was compounded by half of the HR department wanting to keep things stable/safe, even though that was what was causing the issues in the first place (avoidance). In my current role, the organization is small, and I can emphasize recruiting for culture fit and other key elements that make it fun/interesting to work here.

Further reading:
More about my current role and how it is fulfilling career-wise. You can find out more in my post on how to get a job in HR.

One thought on “Helping an HR Student

  1. Johan

    Hey, that’s me ! Lol, you gave me a fake name, you didn’t have to :p

    Thanks for your answers and for your blog posts. I did my oral examination yesterday and I guess that was good, although I have to practise speaking to an audience… I recorded myself and I say “huuummmmm” really too much.

    Some students told me it was very interesting and original (here in France 99% of the population can’t speak a word of english :(), but I’ll have to wait a few weeks to get my mark !

    Bye :)

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