In 2006, I applied to the Human Resources program at George Brown College. I thought I wanted to be a social worker or a psychologist. Criminology and law also interested me, but I got discouraged by friends and family.
I never imagined myself getting into business because it completely disinterested me. However, with HR slowly becoming more popular, I thought it would be a perfect job because of the human element, combined with business.
I did two and a half years at George Brown and then transferred to Ryerson University to complete my HR degree (another 2.25 years). My options were clear-cut: HR could be in any company, dealing with any aspect of employment!
What every one of my professors failed to mention, though, is this thing called “reality”.
It is increasingly difficult to get into entry-level HR. Large companies do not have large HR departments. This means a lot of the students who are churned out every year end up being jobless, going back to school or finding work that is not within their field.
My former classmates are going through similar HR experiences. Recruiters tell me entry-level HR roles are as hard to pin down as Big Foot. Hiring managers are demanding skills not taught in either college or university. There appears to be a large discrepancy between the real jobs out there and what our post-secondary institutions insist we are taught.
Many post-secondary institutions should conduct audits and revisions of their programs. I wasted time and money re-taking unnecessary courses instead of gaining experience, which is what matters to employers. There are many programs which make certain courses a priority, when in fact they fail to administer them properly or take into account that they are simply not necessary.
My best advice for students in post-secondary institutions is to research, research, research. Do not simply apply for a program you think you like and assume you will know what to do by the end of it.
Instead, research the program you want to enter at every institution you are interested in attending, then do some real research online or at a library to find out your actual chances of getting a job. Never underestimate what you see on job boards, as that is what employers are after, so make sure you know what skills you have to acquire in your next four years.