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Learning and Loving ILSHRM, Adriane McGraw

    What HR professional doesn’t love networking, sharing stories of past experiences, and learning about all the new trends in the field? Well okay maybe there are one or two select individuals, but for the rest of us the 2011 Illinois SHRM conference was a phenomenal experience.

    This year Jacer Aguilar and I were able to attend the conference thanks to the overwhelming generosity of CiHRG members. As students in the University of Illinois’ Labor and Employment Relations’ program we were excited to meet more people currently working in HR and to learn directly from industry experts about changes in the field.

    The conference started off with a motivational presenter who inspired us to create a “passionate purpose” for everything we do. The concepts of this key note presentation set the tone for the entire conference—to create an image of ourselves and our organizations that makes both entities unique and marketable. As new entrants into the field of HR, this was a very important notion as there is often peer pressure to conform to a “right and proper” way of doing things. Now we know that one of the keys to a successful HR career is to let our “professional freak flag” fly proudly and to always customize the path we follow to emphasize our own personal strengths and interests.

    As the conference continued we were faced with the challenge of choosing which information sessions to attend. There were so many choices and unfortunately not enough time to attend them all. One of the topics we both wound up focusing heavily on was social media. The sessions covered topics such as: “How Social Media Has Changed HR;” “Using Social Media to Attract, Hire, & Retain;” and “Exploring the Issues of Social Media.” These presentations exposed us to social media sites that we didn’t even know existed; informed us of new laws regarding the use of social media; and inspired us to create a “virtual” brand for ourselves. By the end of the second day we were dusting off our LinkedIn accounts and Twittering like experts—(Please do add us!).

    Aside from the formal activities we were able to meet a wide variety of individuals and build up an even stronger HR network. Overall, the conference was unbelievably valuable to us. We came home with so many new ideas and a growing support network (and probably one too many HR books). It has now been a month since the Illinois SHRM conference, and we have found that the information we have learned has helped already in our classes, recruiting efforts, and community service. We cannot thank the members of CiHRG enough for this opportunity, and would love to speak further with anyone interested about the topics covered at the conference or about our experiences.


    CiHRG Note: We were thrilled to sponser and send two wonderful students to the Illinois State SHRM Conference in August of this year. Adriane and Jacer respresented all that is the future of HR. We're glad we could provide a professional learning opportunity of this caliber.

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