I have a certification secret #SHRM14

If you are an HR pro in the states you’ve heard some chatter about the certification. You’ve heard good things, bad things, true things and plenty of false things. You’ve seen die-hard SHRM supporters and die-hard HRCI supporters. You’ve probably read heart-felt blog posts from HR professionals that are volunteer leaders and you’ve seen twitter feeds from pissed off members. You’ve heard people say certifications don’t mean anything and you’ve heard plenty of people say they passed it without any effort. Yeah, you’ve pretty much heard it all and even though I’m sooooooooo OVER all the certification talk, I’m going to tell you my certification story.

I fell into HR by accident. I’ve told the story a thousand times about how my husband had to basically drag me kicking and screaming into a temp service when we moved to Decatur, AL during my job search. I remember being terrified that they were going to send me to work on some assembly line somewhere (I would never last in any kind of hands on work), but I filled out my application anyway. I sat nervously across from the office manager while she read every detail of my application and asked me pointed questions about working with people, even crazy people, and what my goals were. I was in college still and working towards a degree in Sociology and Justice Studies (minor in psychology), for no good reason. I needed a job. They offered me a position to work in the office and the next day I was in an office wondering what the heck my new job meant. I learned one thing at a time and navigated through opportunities until I found myself running the branch in Huntsville. Running my branch for the company gave me the opportunity to interact with my HR customers on a daily basis beyond a third-party recruiting role and more as an HR business partner. Having daily opportunities to sit on site with customers and tackle their HR issues together changed our recruiting model and procedures. We pushed the envelope, became painfully transparent, and delivered amazing results.  This gave me the insight I needed into the world of HR to fall in love with it.

When my time was up in staffing it was time to get a “real HR” job. No more temp/staffing world, I had a resume to build. At one point while I was working in staffing I realized I was going to do nothing with the degree I was working towards and I quit school. I promised I’d go back when I could and that I would get a degree in something I was interested in utilizing. (I know that made you cringe). We’ve all heard someone say that and you guessed it, I didn’t go back. I did, however, sit for my PHR exam. I didn’t have the time or funds to get my degree and I had every reason to sit for the PHR. A large portion of our local HR population are certified and HR jobs were transitioning from preferring a PHR certification to requiring it. It was my last chance to sit for the PHR without having my degree so it was then or never. I paid for it out-of-pocket, I took it, and in January 2011 I became certified. I am PHR certified and proud. My certification means something to me. My certification was the first step in backing up my on the job HR experience. My PHR means I take my profession serious. My PHR is part of my HR.

My certification secret is I don’t have a degree. We give Hank (can I call you Hank?) and others involved with SHRM slack for not being certified, but what does it mean to our profession that I’m an HR practitioner without a degree? I don’t tell people that I don’t have a degree, I avoid it at all costs because it’s embarrassing and sometimes I feel like it’s a disservice to the profession (in fact, I don’t even know how I’m going to show my face at #SHRM14 today now that I’ve published this). I am working in the wonderful world of corporate HR and am fortunate enough to get to utilize tuition reimbursement. I am officially back in school, working to finish my degree, but had I not been certified I wouldn’t have even come close to being considered for my current position. My certification doesn’t replace the need for a degree, but it allows me the opportunity to showcase that I am knowledgeable. It lets me showcase that I am continuously learning about my profession. Most importantly it allows me to be a Professional in Human Resources.

I try super hard to stay away from long blog posts and I’m fully aware that this one is lengthy, forgive me! Check back tomorrow for what the new SHRM certification means for my certification story and my plan of action. 

Author: Kristina H. Minyard, SHRM-CP, PHR

My goal is to challenge the way we view, measure, and utilize HR and recruiting in a positive and encouraging way. I love working in HR and value the network of HR professionals that I also call friends. I'm always learning from my fellow HR pros and find comfort in their expertise. I'm an active member of my local SHRM chapter (NASHRM) and a total HR enthusiast! My HR related knowledge is a mix of recruiting, retaining, engaging and just plain helping people discover their passion. I'm a follower of Christ, Wife, Mom, Corporate Recruiter, Blogger, problem solver, runner, Sports FANATIC & Razorback surviving amongst the [crimson] tide! You can find me on twitter & Instagram: @HRecruit Snapchat: kminny32 Google+: https://plus.google.com/+KristinaMinyard LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/kristinahutto/ Thoughts here (and on all my social media channels) are mine and do not represent the thoughts/beliefs of my employer. Why would I name my blog HR Pockets? Read about it in my first post years ago!!

13 thoughts on “I have a certification secret #SHRM14”

  1. I am so proud of you for sharing your secret! I have a similar story and understand the stress that comes with not having a degree while working in an area you feel passionate about. I “finally” finished my BA at the age of 31, and became PHR certified a few years after earning the degree because I wanted to demonstrate my knowledge AND competency in HR, even though I had just finished my degree. I then went on to obtain my SPHR and and completed my MA 3 years ago.

    Thank you sharing your story! And have a great time with school! Tough to do as a working adult but so very worth it!

  2. I also “ended up” in HR and fell in love with it. After 2 yrs at community college on a music scholarship and no degree, I also went back to school and pursued my bachelor’s degree at age 28. I’m so glad that I did. It opened do many doors for me. I am also happy I got my PHR and am on the fence about converting over to the SHRM certification. I think it has some positive points and may even be better and more meaningful down the road.

    1. I’m overwhelmed by responses and emails and conversations with people telling me their story that’s so similar to yours. In fact, one guy (who is much older than we are) said “I didn’t know people still fell into HR.” It made me laugh and it also made me wonder if that’s a blemish to the profession? We chatted about that and we know internally that most of us who fell down the rabbit hole into HR love it & that’s why we keep doing it BUT from the outside in what do ppl think of the fact that there are basically no requirements to get into HR? Of course there’s a blog post coming out on this topic…

  3. Don’t feel bad Kris…I’m still working on my B.S. too (which hopefully I’ll have completed by the end of next year). Your years of experience are invaluable also…don’t let anyone tell you different. 😀

    P.S. Say hi to everyone down in Orlando for me!

  4. Kristinah, a BS/BA should be evidence of knowledge and competency of critical thinking skills but, in recent years a college degree has not been as reliable an indicator as is having a PHR or SPHR as evidence of your knowledge of our profession. Proud to be your colleague with or without the “union card.”

    Might be worth noting that 14% of Google’s experience exempt workforce does not have a degree and expectations are that it might grow to 30%. Given the antiquated rules governing degrees we are all seeing more resumes with knowledge cobbled together from multiple sources ranging from several campus, virtual classrooms, MOOCs and more. Perhaps if you proudly out your ‘degree or alternative’ approach, more talented non-degreed professionals who acquired specific certifications might be considered more often and even compete successfully while working out how to pick up their ‘degree’.

    1. Gerry, I want to thank you for your comment! I really do appreciate it. I think Googles scenario is interesting. I happen to work for a company that mostly hires technical talent with Engineering degrees, but we have a percentage of employees (obviously) that do not have a degree, but we always point out that they have at least some kind of certification relevant to their field & that they are vital to our success, but it’s almost like we make an excuse for them not having a degree. Now, I could think that because I’m sensitive to the topic, but I would be curious to know if the non-degreed employees at Google feel that way sometimes? Just a thought.

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