Career Forum Apr 2016 highlights: There are many roads to a career in human resources in Hong Kong
If Virginia Choi’s experience is anything to go by, you do not need a qualification in human resources to join the profession.
Choi, the executive council manager at the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM), started out as a social worker in a hospital, and found her path to becoming a trainer after studying management.
In her presentation at the Career Forum, Choi advised students and young graduates to look for jobs based on their interest and ability. “You don’t necessarily need to study HR to work in HR. If you love working with people then it might be the right career for you,” she said.
HKIHRM offers a platform for HR professionals to share best practices, with the goal of improving the overall standard of the industry.
Choi encouraged jobseekers who are interested in a career in HR to join HKIHRM as associate members, and gain useful information about the sector. “HKIHRM has connections with many countries, and exchanges ideas with HR leaders from around the world about challenges and issues in HR. We also assign experienced HR practitioners to mentor and give guidance to students on developing their career,” she said.
As a matchmaker for jobseekers and employers, HR is always in demand, Choi said – regardless of the economic environment.
“When the economy is booming, companies are proactive in recruiting talent for their expansion plans. During the rainy days, HR is responsible for laying-off staff. It is a very sad part of the job, but HR is the one responsible for announcing the bad news,” she said.
Choi encouraged graduates to be eager to learn something new everyday. She explained that there is a lot to learn when it comes to finding the right match for a company, requiring HR practitioners to learn continuously.
Apart from the appropriate skill-set, candidates need to be a good cultural fit. For example, Choi explained, Chinese bosses prefer obedient staff who ask fewer questions, while Western organisations sometimes think a quieter staff body is not being proactive.
Choi told the audience of fresh graduates and young jobseekers that the last thing they need to worry about when job-hunting is the title that they are going to get.
“Sometimes the boss might even ask you what title you want, and then you can put ‘director’ on your job title,” she said. “But that is not the key to success; instead you should focus on the training opportunities available and the career development prospects.”
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as There are many roads to a career in human resources.