How to “Get Feet Wet†in HR Field


Lesley writes:
I am currently in college pursuing a degree in psychology. I think that I would like to get into the field of human resources but I am not sure about some things. I was thinking that I really have no experience in that field so I should get a master’s degree in human resources but a lot of people are telling me that I shouldn’t. They say most of the job openings for master’s degree level human resources are for people with many years of experience. I am told that I should get my feet wet so to speak and then try to get the company I am with to pay for me to get my master’s degree. My problem with that is if I am a psychology major and not a human-resources major how will I get a company to give me a chance?


The Career Doctor responds:
Lesley you need to do a couple of things to position yourself for success in getting a job in human resources once you graduate. One of the keys for you is to determine if human resources is really for you — and the best way to determine that is to do one or more internships in the field.
I would start by going to the human resources office at your college. Do some networking with the human-resources staff. Learning more about their responsibilities and duties as well as their backgrounds should give you more of a feel for the types
of jobs in the human resources field — and possibly even land you an internship in that office.
If your college has a business school I would talk with the professor(s) that teaches human resource management. See if that department has internship listings. You should also go to your career-services office and see if they have any leads on internships in human resources.
You can also look for internships on the Web. Check out Quintessential Careers:
College Internship Resources
where we list the best internship sites on the Web.
Finally we’ have an article on strategies for making the most of your internship(s).