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5 Successful Career Tips for HR Students

Happy group of students sitting at the park talkingPursuing a career in Human Resources (HR) is not always a walk in the park. Even for the most qualified professionals, landing their dream job can be a challenge. But, don’t fret just yet! As an HR student, you have an edge to learn the right development approaches to become a successful HR professional in the future.

It’s important to hone the skills necessary to kick-start your career, as early as possible. This is why you need to test out your abilities while still in college. Below are 5 useful tips for HR students and how you can step up your game and succeed in a highly competitive market.


1. Embrace Your Passions

Recognize your passions, as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Discover what work-related problems you want to solve and how you can solve them. Remember, work gives you a unique opportunity to tackle problems that matter to you.

Don’t wait for someone else to define what HR should be. Know what you must accomplish and why. Make it a goal to orient yourself to all the possibilities a career in HR can provide. Be your own expert and study everything you can find. Once you have your eyes (and heart) set on a goal, it becomes easier to step up into the ladder of success.


2. Apply What You’ve Learned in Real-Life Situations

A student’s learning experience in college can be compared to cultured bacteria placed in a Petri dish. Basically, college is just a simulation of what happens in the real world. While it’s true that you need to strive to get good grades, they don’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll have a successful HR career.

Hiring managers and recruiters look for actionable skills in a future employee. They need individuals who are able to create business value with the use of their educational background.

For instance, in the United States, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) holds annual nationwide events that give HR students the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in class, through case competitions and games. It’s a great platform for future HR professionals to apply in-class learning. And, if you’re a proactive student, you can use events like this to meet and build relationships with HR professionals (which we’re going to talk more about later).


3. Be Tech-Savvy

In this day and age, it pays to become tech-savvy. By harnessing the power of technology, you can improve the processes and efficiency of human resource management. And, by educating yourself, you can accomplish your company’s IT goals, like implementing more efficient HR systems.

If you think you don’t know enough to articulate ideas and participate in “high-tech” discussions, now couldn’t be a better time to take extra courses to help you have a better understanding of technical terms and methodologies. A lot of colleges offer IT courses regularly, and there are just as many HR online courses and “webinars” that you can participate in.

You should also learn online tutorials and have in mind resume, essay and cover letter sources of writing assistance that can help with employment. The Internet is literally a treasure trove of new knowledge just waiting to be discovered.


4. Be Competitive

With lots of competition striving to be on top, the only way for a business to prosper and stand out from the crowd is to be unique and competitive. The same goes for an HR professional. With firm determination and a winning mentality, you can get ahead of the competition.

With that said, an HR student must develop a competitive streak even before they graduate from college. Not only that, having an appetite for competition can bring about desirable traits. For example, you need to learn to be resourceful and make good use of what’s available in order to handle the challenges that come your way.


5. Start Building Relationships Early

Every industry adheres to a set of principles and ethos. For HR students, it’s best to start building networks and associate themselves with mentors and professionals while they’re still in college.

Identifying yourself with the HR community that you dream to become part of in the near future takes a bit of effort and initiative, so it’s best to start early. And anyway, by building relationships, you can grow your list of valuable contacts. Who knows, it could turn out very useful when it’s time to go job-hunting!


For many people, the HR industry appears to be a daunting place for young students to establish their careers in. Yes, it’s true, in the sense that it’s a highly competitive market. But by following the tips above, you’ll know that it only takes diligence and careful strategy for you, an HR student, to gain an advantage in the job hunt. Good luck!


About the Author: Carol Duke is very keen on teaching students new, effective ways of learning. When not freelancing and blogging on HR-related matters, Carol enjoys traveling, taking immense pleasure from visiting new countries.


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