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Thoughts on HR, Leadership, Learning, Work, Life, and the balance between. Oh & maybe a lil golf in there too!

Perspectives from a Graduating College Senior

Guest Post Introduction: My name is Chris Haskins I am a senior at St. Norbert College studying Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources.  Along with my classes I am also an active member of my fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and treasurer/player on SNC’s lacrosse team.

In May I will, sadly, be saying goodbye to SNC to become a “real person”, as my friends and I call people we know who have graduated.  Since graduation is coming up I’ve been doing some thinking about my future.  Where am I going? Where is my intended field going? How am I going to get there? The normal “Holy cow I’m about to graduate” breakdown, but the results have been interesting.

You want to call us to action… show me how?

A lot of the progressions in HR that we’ve covered in the classes I’ve been in have dealt with getting the strategic seat, and confirming that HR isn’t the company’s babysitter anymore.  While this is a great and achievable goal there doesn’t seem to be a lot of material teaching students how to do this.  We know that we have to be able to show how our actions add value to the company, but in all my time spent in the classroom and all the articles I’ve read I’ve yet to understand how to show value other than making a good hire over a bad one.  While I’m glad that HR as a field is moving in a strategic direction it would help to know how this is being done to keep it going.

Small Steps… Growth

Another area that I think is ripe for progression is in small organizations.  Right now it seems like most of the innovations in HR come in large and medium sized companies that have resources to support a larger HR department.  However, those people that are in the HR department all by themselves are still stuck in the babysitter role.  The next innovation I think will be a tool to let these HR professionals become more able to think into the future rather than have to worry about the dress code or company picnic.

Room to be Creative

The other problem I see is that there are only a few positions within HR that really get to be creative.  This may stem from my experience in the small HR department I interned with, but it looks to me like only the head of HR and recruiters really get to use the knowledge that is acquired in the classroom. The rest of the department has their areas of experience and don’t touch anything else.  This is why I think the idea of rotating positions is so great, because everyone gets to experience all the areas of Human Resources.  I don’t want to end up just being the “hiring guy” where all I do is interview, hire, and train employees.

Experience Needed…  Career Path?

The last thing I’ll talk about is what the career path for an HR professional seems to be from a graduate’s perspective.  First off, since starting my job search a few weeks ago I’ve realized how hard it is to break into HR.  It seems like unless you have at least two to three years of experience you’re out of luck.  However, with that said, it seems to me that this is the first generation of graduates that are looking specifically to get into HR.  In the past it most of the professionals were in other business roles that eventually lead to HR, but it wasn’t their first choice.  My ideal path would be starting in a general business position to learn what business is like in the real world then move into an HR position.  From there I’d like to be able to find an organization that allows for a rotating HR department, so I can try everything to see which I like most, and then become a specialist in that area while still learning about other areas in order to reach my overall goal, as of now, to be the head of an HR department.   I do realize that this is probably not going to happen, but it’s at least a starting point.

I’d like to thank Mr. McCall for giving me the opportunity to be a guest blogger for him.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.  If you’d like to follow me on Twitter my name is @ChrisHaskins (original I know), and also my normal blog location is at:  There are only a few blogs there now, but as I dive deeper into HR I will continue to post more and more. Thanks again.

Special Thanks to Matthew Stollack, @AKABruno for asking students for their interest.

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  • researchgoddess
    Chris - I enjoyed your post and think we might have something of interest at AT&T.; You stated, "My ideal path would be starting in a general business position to learn what business is like in the real world then move into an HR position" - we have college leadership development programs that are designed to expose recent graduates to many aspects of the company. Please have a look at what we've got: I'm happy to answer questions or point you to one of our campus recruiters, should you have any :) Either way, good luck in your job search!

    AT&T; Talent Attraction - Campus
  • benjaminmccall
    Thanks for your comment Amy. Always good to see people help and connect soon-to-be graduates to opportunities! I am looking to having more college grad post in the future.
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