On Wednesday, March 4, 2015 SHRM@QU and QUCC held a Careers in HRM Panel featuring: Joe Carbone President and CEO at The WorkPlace; Stephen Kennedy Senior Director, University Relations and Business Leadership at Synchrony Financial; and Rustin Rodewald Human Resources Manager at Travelers.
Key Panel Takeaways
Written by SHRM@QU Member, David Bouton
It would be good to have a background or knowledge of economics, and it is very important to understand trends in the economy and in HR techniques. Companies usually look for candidates with HR or management coursework, but it is usually easier for the candidate the HR work under his or her belt. Lastly, even though a degree isn’t necessary, you need to know the company you are working for the industry it’s in, and you need to be passionate about what you are doing.
Two of the panelists mentioned the importance of internships, as well keeping an open mind about your position – the same two speakers made career shits to the HR field from other positions. All three, however, came to their present jobs because they saw them as opportunities to advance and follow their passions.
Since HR was heavily tailored during the recession, the position now requires thinkers and creative minds. It’s no longer paper work and pencil pushing, you need to push the boundaries and think fearlessly; in short, you need to redesign the situation to your advantage. Furthermore HR managers should advocate change and challenge employees to do better; they should have a point of view, and have the gumption to push employees to reach new goals.
Best and Worst Part of Job:
All three panelists liked the fact that they worked in a dynamic environment where the job was challenging and evolving. Second, they saw their jobs as opportunities to advance themselves, others, and their companies. They also mentioned that it’s very empowering to work in an environment where you can make a difference by exploring new ideas. The parts of the job that they weren’t fond of were: laying people off (an obvious one), and trying to get managers and employees to buy into HR’s plans and ideas.
The most basic advice – talk to people in HR! Go see what worked and what didn’t, talk to people who succeeded as well as people who failed. While in school, you should try and learn as much as possible by attending events and panels, and therefore you can gain insight not taught in class. By doing this you can differentiate yourself as soon as possible. This will allow you to create a personal brand: a way you are remembered. If you can present something of value for your employer, something that affects the bottom line, you will have the advantage in the workforce.
How to Differentiate Yourself:
Simply, be passionate about what you do – know yourself, and know what’s important. Figure out which “flavor” of HR you are, and follow it. When you discover your strengths, it’s easier to follow your passions and be a leader. Take the electives that fit your flavor, and learn as much as you can about it. Be able to demonstrate how your job will affect the bottom line. This will allow you to leverage your strengths and help teams succeed.