How to Get into Human Resources

How to Get into Human Resources

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Keen to work in human resources?  If you like to work with people, it is undoubtedly an interesting and rewarding choice of career. However, just liking people is not enough. Human resources can also be a competitive field to get into. It’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for university graduates and others who are undertaking HR Courses.

So, how do you stand out from other candidates and get into HR? Read on for our suggestions on the best routes into human resources, and top tips on what you need to focus on to stand out in a competitive job market:

  • Identify the core skillset you need to work in human resources

If you want a career in human resources, your role will involve working closely with the people working within (or hoping to work within) an organisation. Although human resources courses can help, you will need to possess a certain set of personal skills to be successful at this job. Here are some of the core skills that recruiters in HR will be looking for:

  • A varied set of great interpersonal skills including sensitivity, tact, and empathy
  • The ability to handle administrative tasks well, with excellent organisational skills
  • A team player with the ability to work closely with different types and personalities of people
  • IT skills to create training materials, and numeracy skills to handle budgets
  • Flexibility to accommodate changes
  • Great at time management to deal with the various meetings and interviews
  • Identify the qualification requirements that you need to get into the HR job that you want

There is no specific HR qualification that is valid for every single company. You’ll find that the entry requirement will vary from job to job. Take a look at the requirements for the specific role and company that you are looking to work for. Though a university degree can be a requirement to work in HR for any of the larger corporations, you may be able to work for a smaller company without it. There are other human resources courses that you can explore, and these days there are hundreds of free or low cost online resources that you can learn from.

  • Obtain as much work experience as possible

As with any field, candidates with work experience in the relevant sector are given preference over those without. If you are a fresh graduate with no experience, see if you can take on an internship position to gain experience. It would also help to just ‘work shadow’ someone who is already working in a HR role.

  • For recent graduates, graduate training schemes are highly recommended as a route into HR

As a graduate or a university student, you have undoubtedly heard of graduate training schemes, and the good news is that there are several available within the field of human resources. It can be one of the best ways to get into HR, especially for one of the larger, better-known organisations. It can be very competitive, so work carefully on your application and highlight all your key skills and relevant work experience.

  • Look for jobs in HR publications and their online channels

Keep in eye out for jobs in the HR publications. A good place to look for jobs is the newsletter of the CIPD – the professional body of HR (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development). People Management and Recruiter Magazine are two other titles to check out. Other than those, there are the bigger job sites such as Indeed or Guardian Jobs which you can filter to find HR opportunities. If you’re looking for something local only, keep an eye on regional titles or make an appointment with a nearby recruitment agency.

  • Connect with people for work shadowing and work experience opportunities

The best way to get work experience opportunities and get a foot in the door is often by simply asking someone you know. Ask around to see if you can find a contact who works in HR.  Alternatively, you can make speculative applications to organisations that you would like to work for. It doesn’t hurt to ask and see if they would offer you the chance to work shadow for a while. You can also reach out to HR professionals on LinkedIn or through networking events. Even if they don’t have anything specific to offer you in their company, they can always give advice and answer any questions you may have about working in HR.

Nick Cooper
Nick is NCC's resident blog author and covers a range of subjects, including teaching and health & social care. NCC is an international learning provider with over 20 years’ experience offering learning solutions. To date, NCC has engaged with over 20,000 employers, and delivered quality training to over half a million learners.
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