Oct 6, 2009

SHRM: Society for Human Resource Management

by Tiffany Edwards

A student’s major or career choice does not make a difference to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). Students looking for professional development for their future career can rely on SHRM to help. SHRM is a world-wide non-profit organization dedicated to providing career development and coaching for students of any major, as well as résumé assistance, interview help and interaction with business professionals across the nation.

Founded in 1948, SHRM is the largest professional organization dedicated to the field of human resource management. There are 575 professional chapters in the U.S., and offices in China and India.

“The benefits were hands-on experience and understanding the body of knowledge pertaining to HR, and a huge comfort level with professionals,” Liberty graduate and SHRM co-advisor Louis Lolli said. “When I would go into interviews with companies … I was comfortable because I knew my stuff. In SHRM, I was tested. I was put through the fire. And because of (that) I was able to represent Liberty, Christ and myself well.”

Along with career coaching and resume help, SHRM also offers its members opportunities for networking, mentoring, job shadowing, internships, externships and academic scholarships. Even after a student member of SHRM graduates from college, he or she has the opportunity to become a professional member. The organization currently represents more than 250,000 individual members in more than 125 countries to date. SHRM operates more than 450 student chapters in the U.S., with more than 15,000 student members.

Activated in 1986, the Liberty University SHRM chapter seeks to help students in their professional development. There are eight positions on the executive team that allow opportunities for students to gain valuable leadership skills in their chosen fields, ranging from marketing to recruitment to finance.

“Every April we hold elections … and elect the new executive team, and then we spend the summer … defining our goals, developing the strategies, and preparing for the year,” advisor Dr. Colleen McLaughlin said. “Once the students get back to campus they have the opportunity to be mentored by professionals, polish their résumés and develop specific skills by participating in committees and on the executive team.”

SHRM also gives its student members access to dozens of publications related to the human resources field, online databases, job listings and internships in the HR industry.

Liberty University recently added a Human Resource Management specialization to the School of Business. The classes are open to anyone who wishes to gain management skills that are applicable to any career. Some of the classes offered this semester include Compensation and Workforce Planning and Employment, commonly known as staffing.

“Staffing has changed the way I look at the workplace because it has given me an appreciation for the value of employees and an understanding for what it takes to acquire human talent,” Director of Marketing Jerry Wendricks said.

The spring classes will include Training and Development, Employee and Labor Relations and the HR Practicum, which will prepare students who want to fine-tune their knowledge and skills.
The skills learned in these classes prepare the students to sit for the Professional in Human Resources Certification exam. The HR Certification Institute, an affiliate of SHRM, accepts recent college graduates with their bachelor’s or master’s degree for twelve months of study to prepare for the Professional in Human Resources exam (PHR) or the Global Professional in Human Resources exam (GPHR). Many companies worldwide require applicants to have one or both of these certifications.

“The Human Resource field certification is much like sitting for a CPA exam or the bar exam. It does have the reputation of being more difficult to pass than the bar exam. The national pass rate (for the exam) is 57 percent, and we have a 100 percent pass rate for Liberty students right now. The students who graduate with this specialization will be highly competitive in the job market today,” McLaughlin said.

Why should students join SHRM? “I’ve seen students come to the meetings, find a place to get involved and excited about their future … and then they end up leading the organization and doing some really amazing things, both for the university and the Lord,” McLaughlin said.

Contact Tiffany Edwards at tredwards2@liberty.edu.


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