Note: this post is not encouraging anyone to spam a group of people. It’s only a recount of my own experience. If you spam your local HR pros, you could get booted from the SHRM chapter. Fair warning!
Back in the spring of 2009, I started looking for my first HR job. While I graduated college a year earlier than that, I had to work for my employer for a year since they paid for my final semester of college. I knew that it was time to step out of the small pond and jump into the world of HR with both feet. At that time, I was working with Andrew at Jobacle as a staff writer. In a fortunate coincidence, I had interviewed JT O’Donnell for a story on the Jobacle blog, and after a brief mention that I was job searching, we began to work together. JT is a great career coach, and her company, CAREEREALISM, is the place to go if you’re a job seeker looking for help.
Within a week, an entry level HR position with a local nonprofit opened up. I went for it. I wrote a cover letter, attached my resume, and sent it to their in-house recruiter. The only problem is that I knew that everyone else who applied for the job would do that exact same thing. I had to make it better.
How I used my local SHRM chapter membership to get a job
I had only been a NASHRM member for a little while, but I had seen the member directory before. On a hunch, I searched the database for the employer’s name. I got a hit! Two HR professionals at the company were NASHRM members. I did some background research and saw that one of them was a friend of a friend, so I made sure to ask for a personal recommendation, too. Using the information in the database, I sent a custom cover letter to both of them. I think it helped because:
- I was able to address it to them personally
- I mentioned my membership in NASHRM and showed that I was dedicated to making a career of HR
- With the information I found in Google about both of them, I was able to target their interests
Shortly thereafter, I received a call. Two interviews later and I was on the payroll. And the rest, my friends, is history. If I hadn’t been able to use the NASHRM database to connect with the hiring manager, I can’t say that I wouldn’t have got the job, but it certainly didn’t hurt! Has your local chapter helped Â you with anything similar? Have you met someone who could help you find a job locally? I’d love to hear about it.
Want more info on SHRM chapters? Check out the SHRM Chapter Leadership Guide.
You are an inspiration. You’ve been so helpful in starting my blog. Bless you and all you do.
.-= @HRMargo´s last blog ..Social recruiting: Facebook and You =-.
Hey Ben, great post! Congrats to you and your new gig! As a board member of my local SHRM chapter (SMA South Florida) I’ve seen a number of people in-transition utilize the chapter for networking, references and job lead details. Local chapters always welcome new members and it’s a great way to help a job search, even if you’re not in HR. Networking with recruiters and HR professionals is a good strategy to gain the “inside scoop” of any organization. I do however recommend staying involved long-term as I’ve seen many people drop off the radar once they’ve found a new job and that’s just bad karma.
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