Careers In HR: Advice For Community College Transfer Students

by A Guest Author

Landing HR Jobs

Do you like to work with people and prefer to be in the background rather than on the customer facing frontline? You might be a good candidate for a position in human resources. Pursuing an HR career can be very exciting and challenging in today's business climate. HR specialists play an active role in keeping a company fully staffed, plus they use their skills to build highly effective teams within the company that are motivated, productive and efficient. Keep reading to gain a better understanding of what you should expect when you transition from community college to your four-year degree plan.


If your goal is to work in a small business, your BA or BS will probably get you in the door. If your goal is to land a corner office with a large Fortune 500 company, industry specific courses and training are rapidly becoming the norm. The job market is expanding; however, with the current unemployment numbers in our country, job seekers might be more competitive with a master’s degree. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, graduates with a degree in law, business administration or labor relations—supported by a concentration in human resources—are more likely to be offered upper level positions.

If most of your general education requirements, the three R’s and computer basics, are behind you, the coursework will depend on which degree plan you choose. Almost every graduate degree will require courses like the three below.

Psychology: Understanding human behavior is necessary in any management position. Communications, cooperation and motivation all hinge on personality types and past experience.

Ethics: Ethics and morals in the workplace evolve as our society changes. New technology has created the necessity for developing ethical ways to manage privacy and security for the company and the employees. Dealing with overseas companies and a diverse employee pool requires finesse and cultural knowledge.

Business Math: Accounting, economics and statistical analysis are all part of the HR manager’s routine tasks. Developing astute budgeting skills and learning to evaluate trends and research findings allows the HR team to support the corporate board and the assembly line more efficiently.

Additional Training Options

  • Save money
  • Gain experience
  • Develop industry specific skills

There are advantages to starting your education at the community college level. Many community colleges offer trade instruction. If you're interested in becoming an HR vice president for a huge construction company, taking courses related to building techniques and materials would be an excellent way to fill your elective roster. Gaining this valuable information could lead to a summer internship, preferably in the human resource office where you can develop your skills on the way to your degree and eventual job search. Even after graduation, continuing education will be part of your career. The most successful HR professionals apply for certification and spend time updating their skills regularly.

Another advantage is that tuition and fees are normally less expensive at the local community college level. Saving money during your first years will give you more wiggle room to take online classes or work more unpaid hours as an intern. Many companies are using online payroll systems today. You should take payroll system classes or ask your mentor about learning the company system when you discuss intern duties. If necessary, enroll in an online course that teaches the basics of using online payroll systems as an HR management tool.

Finding an Internship

Most career degrees require internship service in order to graduate. Talk to your department dean or academic counselor. The purpose of an internship is to learn from professionals in a field related to your career goals. That doesn't mean that if you want to be a human resource manager you have to go to work for a staffing agency—although that could be an excellent decision. If you have a targeted industry in mind, managing HR for construction, healthcare or automotive repair, look for businesses within that industry.

Finding an internship can seem impossible if you don't already know someone that is looking. Before you start your search, narrow down your field of interest. According to some experts, you can start by volunteering your time. Volunteering in your community is commendable, looks great on a resume and builds relationships—relationships that might lead to information about internships, among other things. You can also talk to family, friends, professors at school, past employers and online social connections. The most important thing is to get your name out there.

The best places to start looking in your community are charitable and non-profit agencies, municipal entities and large, well-established businesses. All of these organizations offer experience and can benefit from a dedicated intern.

Prepare for the Future

You can prepare yourself for a career in Human Resources. Take advantage of the community college as a starting point. Take your goal seriously, maintain a strong GPA and build relationships along the way. Find an internship that speaks to your commitment. Then, if you want to, community college transfer to a four-year program to continue moving toward your goals.

This post was written by A Guest Author

This post was written by a guest author. If you have high quality, useful information to share with students, send us an email or click Write For Us to learn more. And in case you're wondering - yes, you can promote yourself in this fancy author byline.

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