I have never been a lucky person. Scratch off's are wasted on me, my silent auction ticket number always goes uncalled and I have been hit 4 times by other cars while driving. BUT, my road to HR was ... lucky.
When I started college, I was going to be a Pharmacist. I failed Biology my first semester. Scratched that off the list.
I moved on to Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Social Sciences. I'm pretty sure that they made that up. Before I had a chance to even figure out what it meant ... I switched to English. Writing was always something I enjoyed and I had a way with words. I won my little brother 3 scholarships writing his college essays/applications for him. (In retrospect, I should have demanded some loyalties for that) Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do with an English degree and I wasn't looking to be a Lawyer or a Teacher. So what was I going to do?
On a whim, I spoke to the Mom of one of my sister's friends. She worked in Human Resources, traveled the world and truly enjoyed what she did. After talking to Barb, I was hooked. HR was the way to go. I enrolled in the School of Management at UB and was ready to go.
The next Spring, I emailed her asking if there were any internship opportunities available at her office. Without hesitation, or looking at my resume (which was non-existant at the time) she offered me a paid internship. Barb didn't want me to mess around with paper pushing either. Her attitude was that I needed to learn something of value. Before I knew it I was creating Merit Increase spreadsheets, learning paygrades; min/target/max, helping implement a new HRIS system and facilitating open enrollment. (A month earlier to that, I told a Professor I didn't think I would need Excel skills ... silly me.)
I worked 3 jobs that summer. Interning 30 hours a week, Day Camp for 2 days, waitressing 5 nights and going to summer class twice a week. I was exhausted and terrified. Was real life going to be this hard?
The true experiences and value I took from that internship led me to get involved with the college chapter of SHRM. I was the Chapter Liaison in 2007-2008 school year and President until this past December when I graduated. This opened up many doors to me. I developed a Mentorship Program for our members and local HR Professionals and became involved in BNHRA, the Buffalo chapter of SHRM.
I was lucky enough to be hired full time after graduating into one of the the companies I interned with. It is a wonderful company, looking to strengthen and develop me. I couldn't have asked for anything better.
If there is one thing I wish college students understood, it is that while college is fun, it is also the time to set up your future. Don't wait until after graduating to think "Hmm maybe I should do something now". Be proactive about your future! People want to help, want to share and watch you grow.
Maybe luck has a little to do with it, but so does hard work and taking a chance. Reach out to professionals in your field ... someone will grab hold.