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Tips for graduates jumping into the search for their first HR job.

Posted By Margie Stewart, Membership Co-Chair, Wednesday, May 16, 2018

In general, it can take graduating seniors three to six months to find their first job (after they start looking), and that's if they're dedicated to the job search process. It takes energy, perseverance, and commitment to conduct a job search.

If you are an HR student graduating this May and have a job search ahead of you, here are six tips to get you started:

  1. Take stock of any HR-related experience you have received from class projects, student SHRM associated organizations, HR internships, mentorship/networking opportunities so you can be sure to market those experiences in your resume, cover letter, conversations you may have in networking or interviewing environments.
  2. Connect with people you’ve met in HR who may be able to give you networking contacts, information on who might be hiring, and how to gain more exposure through a mentorship program.
  3. Attend any HR conferences locally, regionally or nationally. Conferences are a great way to network with HR professionals.
  4. Apply for any HR-related position you learn about (as long as it’s entry-level or comparable to your work experience). Titles may include HR Generalist, HR coordinator, HR assistant, HR intern, benefits coordinator, recruiting assistant, or payroll specialist, etc.
  5. Be organized and keep track of jobs to which you’ve applied, contact person(s), their status and follow-up as needed.
  6. Take initiative if you see something that needs to be done, don’t be afraid of hard work and don’t think you are above the work that needs to be done. A candidate is most marketable if they can show they are open-minded and willing to learn and communicate. 

Your school’s career center is a good resource for finding a job. 

College Career Centers can be great resources for finding a job. Career Centers are not just placement offices. They are staffed by professionals who can help you market yourself (resume, cover letter, interviewing) and teach you how to conduct a job search.

  1. College career center services are available to current students and alumni. Students already pay for this service through their tuition. Some universities may charge a small fee for alumni career services while some may not charge anything at all.
  2. Career Center staff are experienced professionals. They truly care about their graduates’ career development and outcome. They stay informed about the current job market, know what employers want in their job candidates, and have employer contacts. The career center staff stays up on new trends in resume writing, interviewing, and how to conduct a job search through networking.
  3. Career Centers are connected. Employers reach out to Career Centers for assistance in finding qualified college graduates. Employers listen to Career Center staff and see them as an important partnership to help them in their recruiting needs. Career Center staff campaign for you, your academic program and build relationships with potential employers for you.

Five other resources worth checking into. 

  1. Missouri State University has a student SHRM organization that HR students of any Springfield university can join. The student SHRM organization is a great resource for HR internship and job opportunities in the area.
  2. SHRM website posts job opportunities: HR students who are serious about getting in the HR field should consider joining SHRM.
  3. LinkedIn ( is a great social networking site that can connect you with professionals in the field. There are many groups in LinkedIn that are free to join and if used effectively and appropriately, can potentially lead to job openings.
  4. Visit company specific websites for HR openings but ask to conduct an information interview with an HR professional even before any opening is available. This is a great way to network and learn more about the HR function in that specific organization.
  5. HR job search link:

Four ways your local HR organization (like SAHRA) can help?

1.  If you are graduating with a degree in Human Resources, find out about any regional SHRM affiliated organizations in which you may want to connect and attend a monthly meeting.

2.  Visit the Springfield Area Human Resources Association (SAHRA) website if you want to connect with Springfield HR professionals. If an HR student is interested in attending a meeting as a guest, this is possible. There is a Student Membership option available as well.  Visit the SAHRA website: to learn more or contact SAHRA if you have questions.

3.  In the state of Missouri, there are several regional SHRM locations:

 4.  You can locate other regional SHRM locations in other states by visiting the SHRM website:

Tags:  college  first job  graduates  hr 

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