Jessica Lohan '02 is the consummate "people person" who also happens to have a passion for conducting research.
Jessica Lohan ’02 is the consummate “people person” who also happens to have a passion for conducting research. This unusual combination positioned her for a career in human resources. Jessica is currently a senior human resources administrator for Barnes and Noble. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a concentration in human resources and marketing, she started at Barnes and Noble in 2002 as a human resources representative. In 2005, she was promoted to human resources administrator, and in February 2006, Jessica was again promoted to senior human resources administrator.
Q: Describe your job as a senior human resources administrator.
There are 10 of us in the HR Service Center, eight human resources representatives, our supervisor, and myself. There is a call center. Our main job is to be there for all the stores to answer any questions they might have. The questions can be anything including payroll, taxes, policy verification, and employee relations questions. We are there to help with anything HR-related that they need help with. We have stores in the (mainland) U.S., Hawaii, and Alaska. The best part is speaking with individuals all around the country and being able to help them in anyway that we can.
Q: What prompted you to enter the field of human resources?
I took my first class with Associate Professor Maryanne Hyland. It was an “Introduction to Human Resources” class. It covered compensation, employee relations, hiring, everything. It’s very people-oriented. You need to like people. I’m a real people person. I like being able to talk to people and explain things to them. I’m very creative (which might lend itself more to) the marketing side, but if I went into marketing, I wouldn’t have had as much contact with people. I’m a curious person. I love researching laws and regulations that have to do with human resources.
Q: What courses did you take to help you land your position?
“Introduction to Human Resources” with Professor Hyland…. (Also), a business communications (class, which required you to speak in front of fellow students). It makes you less nervous (about speaking in front of people) by taking that class. You had to do things like write your own toast, write your own obituary, and try to sway the public’s opinion on a certain topic. You had to wear a suit and have your hair fixed right. Then you were critiqued on what you did or didn’t do. So, you would find out if you talk with your hands too much or fidget from foot to foot. It really helps you present yourself to the business world and prepares you for interviews.
Q: What jobs and internships helped you get to your position?
(Two other human resource students and I) started the Human Resources Society at Adelphi, which allowed me to (get involved with the field of) human resources.
We had guest speakers come. We had two recruiters from Ernst &Young come. We had the past president of the Long Island Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management, we had the Dean of the School of Business, Anthony Libertella. Our goal was to promote human resources and let people know it was a good career. It gave me the opportunity to get involved with the Long Island chapter of SHRM. It gave me the opportunity to volunteer at the LI SHRM convention…. It’s important to always network, always talk to people, and always be open to learning new things. Being a part of that really helped in that area.
Q: What are some new trends in the field of human resources?
Human resources is (emphasizing a more) well-rounded (approach). It’s not just (about) hiring and firing. I never would have imagined how many different opportunities there would be. If you are interested in compensation, in benefits, and all the different (types of) leaves, or if you are interested in training, there’s training, and policy. You will find a lot of people that majored in psychology or organizational behavior work in human resources training
Q: Any advice for students who are interested in this kind of work?
Get involved. Whether or not it’s with the Human Resources Society, network. Get involved–that’s the name of the game. Never stop learning and moving forward.
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