Advice from Current Students, Alumni and Professors

Current Students

How did you determine which elective courses to take?

“I asked my friends and other people in the HR major what electives I should take. I also looked at what sounded the most interesting to me and what could potentially benefit me in the future.”- Lauren Patti, HR Major, May 2018 Graduate

“I actually had room in my schedule to take both HR elective courses, so I did. I wanted to take Labor Law because I know that it’s incredibly important to be knowledgeable and stay up-to-date on employment law. I also took Industrial Accident Prevention because I saw how closely HR and Safety worked together in my internships. I wanted to know how to spot safety issues and be able to suggest the right corrective actions, and this course helped a lot in that regard.” – Kyrie Heck, HR Major, May 2018 Graduate

What do you wish you would have known when starting out in the HR major?

“I wish I would have known to network early and often. Getting to know professionals right away is crucial to landing an internship or a full-time position. Also, paying attention in class is very important because it will help you find a focus-area in HR.”- Lauren Patti. HR Major, May 2018 Graduate

What type of internship do you recommend looking for while still in school?

“I would recommend, if possible, to start with an internship in the area of HR that you’re leaning towards. This will either solidify your decision, or make you realize that it’s not what you thought it was. Then, if able, do an internship in an area of HR that would put you out of your comfort zone. You are going to become a more well-rounded candidate for a full-time position, and you may end up finding an position that you really enjoy.” – Kyrie Heck, HR Major, May 2018 Graduate

Which HR classes or non were most beneficial to you?

“Benefits was the class really gave me a solid understanding of how both health insurance and retirement works on both the employer and employee side.”- William Mills December 2018 Graduate

“The elective courses for the major were both incredibly beneficial to me. Safety 355 gave me the opportunity to learn more about occupational safety and I know it will come in handy in the future as HR and safety often work together. Labor Law was also insightful because it’s important to know employment law in this career, and it also gave me a solid foundation for the Labor Relations course that we have to take as many of the concepts were reiterated.” – Kyrie Heck, May 2018 Graduate

What are some things a newly declared HR major should know?

“If I had to narrow it down to one thing… I would say that newly declared HR Majors should know and thoroughly understand that HR as a field encompasses more than just staffing, benefits, and management. It’s important to have a thorough comprehension of the scope of HRM in order to know that it is in fact the right field for you, and to have a better understanding of the area you’d like to begin your career in.” – Tyler Shaw, HR Major, May 2018 Graduate

What are some tips to give about being hired before graduation?

“To get hired before graduation, my advice is to start applying early and take advantage of different opportunities to make yourself a well-rounded individual. I was involved in DECA and was on the executive board in various positions. I also was able to run a Regional conference for eleven schools, networked with HR professionals, and competed at the state and national levels each year. I competed in Human Resources and was given real HR case studies to solve and present to a judge. I have talked about these in almost every interview and it sets me apart from others who haven’t taken opportunities like this.” – Cheyenne Keyes May 2018 Graduate​

“Networking and Internships. In all honesty it really comes down to those two things and both are equally important. I’ve seen first hand throughout my own experiences and countless testimonials that the saying “It’s not what you know, but WHO you know” is beyond true, and networking will be vital to starting your career.  Internships will show employers that you have some technical experience and can function effectively in corporate America, but more importantly they will help you to begin building your network that you will be able to leverage for jobs, mentorship, and/or references.” – Tyler Shaw, HR Major, May 2018 Graduate



What do you wish you would have known when starting out in the HR major?

“I wish I had known how almost impossible it is to balance the best interests of the employer and the employee at the same time.” Halle Steele HR Generalist at Dyno tech

“I more or less slacked off/didn’t pay enough attention to the ITBE (ITSCM) classes that teach you about Excel.  I went into compensation, so great Excel skills are really important.  Unfortunately, I had to play a lot of catch up to get my skills up to par. HR isn’t just about soft skills and employee disputes anymore.  Its transforming into a field driven by analytics and analytical tools, so graduating students should really focus on Excel/Microsoft office skills. The earlier you start, the easier it is.” – Logan Cannon, Senior Compensation Analyst at BMO Harris Bank


What class concepts have you found to be helpful in the working world?

“Another important concept that I’ve learned is Employment Law. This is extremely important to know in HR as we must follow the laws in everything we do. We are in a very legal based-role and one wrong turn could lead to a lawsuit for the company that could cost millions. Understanding the basics of what you can and can’t do is extremely important” – Lauren Felton, HR Generalist at Kohler Company

“Class concepts I found helpful were labor relations and the different role plays you go through being manager and employee. It has helped me know how to tackle a situation and the right things to say and not say” -Halle Steele HR Generalist at Dyno tech

What should an HR major take advantage of while in college?

“All of the knowledge and resources available to you. Find a part of HR or a few that you really enjoy and learn as much as you can in it. There is so much to know for HR, the more you can utilize your resources whiles in college and learn the better.”- Brooke Daven, HR Coordinator at Exact Sciences

How important are internships during an HR student’s college career? 

“internships are so important. The employer really likes seeing the responsibility you take on during an internship. It shows them your ability to use what you’ve learned and apply it to projects and situations at work start early”  -Halle Steele HR Generalist at Dyno tech

What made you decide to work in the area of HR that you are currently in?

“Throughout my internship I realized that I wanted to be in the generalist/business partner role because I knew I wanted those interactions with employees on a daily basis. I love the people side of things and I would never want to give that up.”- Brooke Daven, HR Coordinator at Exact Sciences

What are some things a newly declared HR major should know?

“Really understand the role HR plays into a business and make sure it’s something you are interested in. HR has a role in almost everything and is really the first impression and last impression most people have with a company they work for. It’s important that HR students know what topics they need to be familiar with and be comfortable in all areas (recruiting, onboarding, training/development, employee relations, engagement, compensation, terminations, etc.)” – Lauren Felton, HR Generalist at Kohler Company

What are some tips to give about being hired before graduation?

 I would look into getting a minor in a more analytical/business field like finance, accounting, or economics.  The better you can understand the business you work for, the better able to support that business you will be.  Also, more and more I am realizing that landing a great job after college (or jobs in general) is about networking. People preach about networking to exhaustion, but it really is helpful.” – Logan Cannon, Senior Compensation Analyst at BMO Harris Bank


How important are internships for HR students? 

“How important are internships for HR students? I think students should do everything in their power to do them they are legitimately important. Over half the student who take them have taken jobs there.” -Professor Knapp

“Engaging in an internship provides the student with hands-on experience on the type of work he or she will be engaged in on a day-to-day basis while employed in the workforce.  An internship will allow the student the opportunity to explore the different disciplines in the field of HR and can provide greater insight into the roles and duties of the respective disciplines… Internships can increase the student’s chances of identifying a mentor, so that the student can be more successful in the workplace while also allowing for the application of the skills, knowledge and abilities learned while enrolled in HR courses during their college journey.” – Professor Dennis Baskin

Which SHRM competencies align with the HR course(s) you teach?

“Some of the ones I focus on include critical evaluation, communication, HR expertise, some business acumen, and consultation via class activities, assignments, and term project write-ups” – Dr. Kedharnath

“As an Employee Benefits professor, I believe all eight SHRM competencies align with my class. Leadership and Navigation contribute to the processes and successes of the organization.  Second, Ethical Practices are very important as the behaviors and processes must align with the organization’s core values, integrity and there must be strong accountability.  Third, the Employee Benefit discipline is important to business acumen because employees need the ability to understand and apply information that ultimately contributes to the organization’s growth and strategic plan.  Fourth, the benefits that organizations offer is a service and employees must have the ability to manage interactions that contributes to the overall success of the organization or business. Fifth, employees will need to have Critical Evaluation skills in order to interpret information with which to make business decisions and recommendations.  Given the expansion of a Global and Cultural reach, employees will need the ability to value and consider the perspectives and backgrounds of all parties involved.  The Employee Benefits field is an important field to many associated with an organization and it is important for persons to have the ability to effectively exchange important information with stakeholders associate with the organization.  Regarding the Consultation competency, employees in this field will have to consult with other stakeholders on a frequent basis as it relates to this domain. Lastly, in order for a person to be proficient in the Employee Benefits discipline, one will need the HR Expertise to be successful and effective.  Those expertise’s would include knowledge of principles, practices, and functions of effective human resource management.  Please note that information about the competencies were retrieved from the SHRM website.” – Professor Dennis Baskin

Since HR is such a big field, what tips do you have for newly declared HR majors trying to find where they fit?

“Read as much as you can—regularly visit and other HR-related websites. Also attend SHRM activities and talk with guests—ask about what they do if you aren’t sure. Making contacts in HR and conduct job shadows and asking people about their areas of expertise is very valuable. In addition, do not be afraid to try a variety of work experiences. On the job, ask for experience in as many HR areas as possible, even if that is only shadowing those employees.”- Doctor Kelly Delaney-Klinger

“Start looking at job openings, even if you don’t intend to apply for them. This gives you a chance to see what potential jobs are out there as well as explore your likes and dislikes for a job. You should also be doing internships to gauge what career path you would like to go down. Joining HR related organizations and taking advantage of their conferences, competitions, and networking opportunities will also help you find a fit within the HR field.” – Frank Lanko

What are some things a newly declared HR major should know?

“A newly declared HR major should know the major requirements and when the courses are offered. They should also understand how important it is to have relevant work experience. They should definitely be active in SHRM which will allow them to know who the HR faculty are and why it is important to get to know them.”- Doctor Kelly Delaney-Klinger

“Give yourself permission to figure you perfect career out.  its pretty easy to get a job you don’t like. You might want to try a different job. Money isn’t everything.”- Professor Knapp

“First, students should learn about varies disciplines and determine which one is of most interest to them, and ensure that their skills and abilities align with that discipline.  Second, it is important for students to understand what SHRM is and how knowing and understand their standards can help students grow in the study of HR.  Third, I believe it is important for a newer student to partner with senior level student so that the seasoned students can show the younger students the ropes.  Lastly, the newcomer should engage in an internship to learn more about the field of HR and the roles and responsibilities required of them in the workplace.” – Professor Dennis Baskin

What are some tips to give about being hired before graduation?

“The ability to communicate what you’ve learned from courses and how you’ve integrated pieces of knowledge across courses… and internship experience (regardless of paid or unpaid, I’m focusing more on the learning outcomes again).” – Dr. Kedharnath

“Network and diversify. Network with as many people as you can because you never know what will lead to a job or internship. Go to career fairs and start looking for jobs and internships early on to ensure you have one. You also should set yourself apart from other candidates. To do this you can get involved on campus and take advantage of leadership opportunities. Take advantage of different opportunities because it will set you apart as well as provide more discussion in interviews.” –Frank Lanko

Extra Advice

“I just want to emphasize how important it is to really focus on why you are in college: to have a career. Sometimes in college there are so many distractions, that students can lose sight of the goal. It’s really important that HR students and students in general are really driving their careers and taking advantage of everything the college has to offer. Take advantage of SHRM, go to the career fair, find an internship in an area that interests you, accept an internship that may push you out of your comfort zone but will help you in the end. If an interview doesn’t fit into your schedule, find a way to make it work. Really focus on the end goal.” – Lauren Felton, UWW Alumni, HR Generalist at Kohler Company