How I got immediate value from joining a SHRM chapter

local shrm chapterNote: 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  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.

5 thoughts on “How I got immediate value from joining a SHRM chapter

  1. 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.

    Talk soon,
    Melyssa

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