By: Jose Chavez SHRM/CHCI Summer 2017 Scholar-Intern
Breaking into the field of human resources post-graduation was a major challenge for me. I found myself spending countless hours submitting job applications, only to receive little success. In those few job interview opportunities that I had, employers often disregarded my candidacy. Why, you ask? It was quite simple, lack of experience. While my academic studies helped prepare me to take on opportunities in the HR world, it was simply not enough. Employers sought real-world practical experience. I knew I had to change my approach to get my foot in the door.
In early January, my former college professor shared with me an opportunity with the SHRM/Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) Internship Program. Thinking nothing of it, I decided to apply. After months of waiting after the interview process, I received great news! I had been selected as a finalist for the 2017 Summer SHRM/CHCI Internship Program.
I was thrilled just thinking about the amazing opportunities that the program had to offer. I was looking for my “breakthrough moment,” and I achieved just that this past summer. The phenomenal opportunities given to the SHRM/CHCI interns were invaluable. Interns including myself were invited to participate in the SHRM 2017 Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans and the California HR Conference in Long Beach, CA, where learning and networking opportunities were endless.
At these events, I connected with a broad range of seasoned and young HR professionals. This allowed me to tap into the experiences and knowledge of other HR professionals in order to establish a more sound understanding of HR culture.
The knowledge I gained from attending these wonderful conferences carried over into my internship working for San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (SDCRAA). The conferences inspired and fueled my appetite for continuous learning. This experience set the tone for my success with my current employer.
I embarked on various projects working for SDCRAA, where I learned the true meaning of “working with purpose.” Working as an HR intern gave me the opportunity to learn all the ins and outs of the position, and most importantly, allowed me to be considered an equal member of the HR team. I was treated like a valued employee who was given guidance and responsibility. Every day provided me the opportunity to learn something new.
Additionally, the program partnered me with my local San Diego SHRM chapter, where I became involved in several events hosted by the chapter and continue to receive great mentorship beyond my internship. I look forward to gaining more knowledge about the field as I continue to take measures toward developing my professional career.
The internship was a way for me to test the waters in the field of HR, and I can say with confidence that I found my passion for helping others and for representing “the human side of business.” This internship experience was truly one of a kind.
To learn more about the wonderful internship opportunities SHRM/CHCI has to offer, please take a moment to review the information provided HERE. I would highly recommend this amazing program to any aspiring HR professional in California, Texas or Illinois.