Getting a job in HR can be tough. There is a lot of competition for roles. However if you make it you can have a great career.
Routes into the HR Function
The hints and tips in this guide come from many years of recruiting staff into my HR team when I was an HR Director. They have been tested many times by me when working with my career coaching clients. So I know they work.
Sure Fire Way Of Not Getting an HR Job
We might as well get this out of the way right away. There is no point in sending your CV out on a speculative basis asking for a job in HR. That’s unlikely to work for even the most experienced HR person looking for another HR role. This principle applies to networking sites like LinkedIn – don’t send out a message to contacts saying have you got a job, or do you know about any HR jobs. The reason this doesn’t work is that people have followed the tips in the next section and if there is a job vacancy they got there before you.
Keys to Getting Into HR
Make sure you know why you want to work in HR. Please, please do not use ‘I want to work with people, or I like working with people’. That’s pretty important in just about every job! In reality HR jobs can mean making some tough decisions on people e.g. agreeing a dismissal, making people redundant.
- Sort out your CV so you can clearly show why you have the skills for the job. If you have never worked in HR you might consider using a Skills-Based CV.
- Get HR experience; it can be any kind as it will show you are interested in HR and know something about it. If you are in another function go and speak to HR and ask if they are looking for any help on any of their work areas e.g. graduate recruitment or a project, they are often looking for help and this will put you on their radar. I certainly recruited a number of people into HR after seeing them on projects. You can also get experience as an Intern or on a work experience placement.
- Networking; is the way that the majority of people get HR jobs. This means going out and meeting people and asking for their advice and help. Not going out and asking them for a job. This is a great guide to Networking that we give to our career coaching clients. It works and yes it is hard work to do properly, but it can be very rewarding.
- Graduate Programmes; if you are a graduate many of the FTSE companies offer roles in HR as part of their graduate programmes.
- Most Functions work in HR; when I was an HR Director we deliberately recruited people from other functions into HR. This was particularly the case with Operations staff. Staff from other functions bring a breadth of experience and maturity to HR. This often gives them quick respect and credibility. So if you work in another functional area be aware HR may well welcome you with open arms!
- Recruitment and Training; are the best entry roles into HR as they are less technical than say Reward or Employee Relations. It’s possible to train someone to recruit effectively in around a month. So if you have the right experience and personality traits it’s a good investment to get you into HR.
- Get HR Qualifications; it shows you are serious about the function and have some understanding of what HR does. Plus you will be mixing with HR people who may well offer you a role in their team. This is how I got my first job in HR!
If you are looking for support in getting a role in HR and want some professional help please contact me and we can talk through what you want. I am always happy to discuss your plans and this in no way commits you to using our services. In fact more often than not I would advise you to speak to at least two Career Coaches.
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