4 Tips on a Career in Human Resources

Career Advice
22 May 2015 | Career Advice | Guest Author

You’ve left University (with what we hope is at least a 2:1 degree), and are now looking for your first HR job. Finding a career in human resources doesn’t have to be a chore; we’re here to help you on your quest to landing a career in HR. We’ve compiled a list of 4 top tips to help you stand out from the crowd and help you on your way.

1. Experience through Interning

As Albert Einstein once said, “the only source of knowledge is experience”. Sometimes, the best way to learn is through gaining experience in a field. Internships are a great way of getting into the industry, and many companies are looking for support staff for HR departments simply because they may not have the funding for a full-time member of staff.

Many organisations offer internships which will last for a number of weeks, and usually take place over a summer period. Rolls Royce for example offers a 10-12 week human resources internship programme in which the candidate will get the opportunity to be able to support the business through the delivery of key projects.

Recent research to show how skills & experienced are favoured over other forms of experience – Source*

While this is just one company out of many whom offer positions like the one mentioned, there will be smaller organisations where an opportunity may be available. Ultimately, you’ll find that experience is a necessity which will always prove useful in the future.

2. Stand Out

It’s no good going for an interview for a HR job and having nothing relevant or unique on your CV. “Work experience stacking shelves” isn’t going to land you the career in HR that you want. Your CV is a platform to sell yourself to employers, outlining your skills as well as personality traits and education. You’re the product and they’re the buyer, make them want you by referring to your relevant experience and qualifications.

There are ways to stand out against other candidates; professional degrees for example, are one way of showing an employer you have the initiative to continue studying in another capacity other than from an educational institution. Becoming certified in PHR (Professional in Human Resources) or a SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) provides the extra push that a standard qualification wouldn’t provide. The logic is, anyone can go to university, but not everyone will pursue a professional degree.

3. Do your research

This is a big one. Although this point can apply to any sector, in HR, it’s important to know your stuff. Expand your knowledge of the HR sector, get to know processes in organisations, which processes work and which ones don’t. Reading blogs are a great way of knowing about the HR industry, as you can find first-hand accounts of people working within the profession as well as a taste of what it could be like having a career in human resources.

Networking is another way of getting to know this industry, through meeting people who are currently in the profession. Find local events, meet people, and ask questions. There is a wealth of people who would be willing to share their knowledge of HR with you. Research is a way of showing your prospective employer you have taken initiative and are actively wanting to learn about the industry, and that this isn’t a mere ‘stepping stone’ for you.

4. Conduct Informational Interviews

This works in tandem with the networking in the previous point, in that it counts as research, but in a bigger way. An informational interview allows you to get a one on one session with someone within the industry, and allows you to gather the information you want on your own terms and in your own time. There are a number ways to conduct one of these interviews, i.e at the workplace of the individual you are interviewing, or somewhere like a café or restaurant.

A top tip before you meet the person is to do research on them and their company. Visiting their professional profile such as LinkedIn will give you a good indication as to the kinds of questions you can ask as well as the type of person they are.

Further Reading & Advice

GradJobs has a careers advice section which can help you progress from the beginning of your journey right through to when you find a job. Head to GradJobs today and see how you can increase your chances in finding the right career for you.

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