Get on board: This Human Resources alum found and cultivated her talent — for talent acquisition
By Zach Siddiqui, Communications Coordinator
Recruitment is a thrill for Riddhi Shah. As a human resources professional, Riddhi loves the ever-changing, people-oriented nature of her work — every day means a fresh experience.
“I like to stay occupied,” she says. “And HR is a field where I can always look forward to a new conversation.”
Human resources wasn’t always Riddhi’s goal. But finding her aptitude for it led her to enrol in Douglas’s Post Degree Diploma in Human Resource Management. After a year of juggling her studies, career and extracurriculars, Riddhi’s proving that it’s never too late to break into this industry.
A sudden re-orientation
Once an aspiring journalist, Riddhi earned her bachelor’s degree in mass media. By graduation, though, her interest started flagging. Unsure of her next steps, Riddhi found direction after scoring an interview at a recruitment agency in her hometown of Mumbai, India.
“Honestly, I wasn’t sure what human resources was until I researched it before my interview,” she says. Despite that bottleneck, she got the job, soon throwing herself into a daily rhythm of research, outreach and connection.
“As a recruiter, you link the right people with the right opportunities,” she says. “But what does an engineer do? What about an IT expert? Which skills make someone the right candidate? I learned so much about not only HR, but also the lives people lead in the industries I was doing HR work for.”
Riddhi fell in love with her newfound trajectory and continued her line of work for almost three years. Nonetheless, she saw a widening gap in credentials between herself and her coworkers.
“I’d started completely fresh. Meanwhile, some of my colleagues had already earned their Master of Business Administration in the HR field,” she explains. “As I advanced in my career, there were just too many fish in the pond. I had no MBA, diploma or certifications. I couldn’t show employers what I was capable of.
“If I wanted this career, I had to educate myself further.”
Training on passion
In researching her options for studying abroad, Riddhi eventually came across Douglas’s Post-Degree Diploma in Human Resource Management. The one-year diploma program teaches principles of management, labour relations, employment law and more. Students also receive support and training through the Career Boost Program, which coaches students through job-hunting before and after they graduate.
Riddhi began her first courses in the thick of COVID-19’s onset, making her one of many who had to navigate the switch to online instruction. However, she notes that she always felt supported. She credits the diligence of her teachers and counsellors for this, as they consistently provided quality education and resources despite the circumstances.
“The professors teaching in this program are very passionate about what they do,” Riddhi says. “Honestly, that gets transferred to us, too. Listening in class, you think, ‘I want to do this work as well.’”
Riddhi’s program is one of many paths to earn the Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Nationally recognized, and critical for aspiring HR professionals, the CPHR credential broadens students’ options for career advancement.
While enrolled in the Diploma program, Riddhi regularly looked for more ways to get involved in the HR world and learn more about the industry. She eventually landed on becoming a student ambassador for CPHR BC & Yukon, the non-profit organization which grants the CPHR in B.C. It also provides its members with benefits like job boards, networking events and professional development workshops. Riddhi has found these benefits instrumental in building her own career.
“If I hadn’t become a student ambassador, I wouldn’t have been so active in terms of being a part of the institution,” she says. “It keeps you updated, it helps you meet so many industry professionals and, as a student, it prepares you for the job search once you’ve graduated.”
As an ambassador, Riddhi’s main role was to liaise with the College and with fellow human resources students about CPHR, news from the Canadian HR scene, and the benefits of becoming a CPHR member. As a member of CPHR BC & Yukon, students can apply for the CPHR designation after graduating from an accredited human resources program like Douglas’ with a minimum 70 percent average and gaining three years of HR work experience.
Taking this route allows you to forgo the CPHR National Knowledge Exam. You’ll prove your expertise through your work in the classroom, instead. Besides the Post-Degree Diploma, another option for students with bachelor’s degrees is Douglas’s Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Advanced Human Resource Management, a two-year program with a stronger focus on business fundamentals.
Strategic planning for the future
For people who want a career in human resources, Riddhi believes the most important thing is to be proactive.
“Long before your graduation date, you should know your goals — what field of HR you want to break into, what companies you want to target and what you want to accomplish,” she says. “That’s your homework.”
In an industry devoted to finding the “right candidate,” it’s doubly important to sell yourself as exactly that, Riddhi says. With confidence and preparation, she believes success in human resources is attainable for anyone.
“While working as a recruiter here in Canada, I’ve seen what companies are looking for. Students, especially, are getting rejected just because they’re not coming across as strong personalities in the interviews.
“But there are certainly jobs you can start your career with. It just requires that little bit more of an effort — that final push to present yourself with power.”
Having completed her diploma in April, Riddhi is moving forward with a career in the recruitment sphere of HR, earning a corporate recruitment position in May. Her current goal is to earn her CPHR designation and become a talent acquisition manager in the next five years. In the meantime, she wants to continue acquiring new credentials and certifications wherever she can.
“The diploma at Douglas played a significant role in helping me get my desired position,” she says. “The skills and knowledge I gained in the program have shaped my career. I want to keep growing and developing like that because the things you learn are what bring value to the life you live.”