How to write an HR generalist CV (with template and example)

Updated 19 January 2023

A human resources (HR) generalist assists with facilitating employee lifecycles within an organisation, including recruitment, onboarding and employee departures. This fulfilling role requires good interpersonal skills and the ability to develop strong relationships with employees and senior management staff. If you're interested in this type of career, it helps to consider what skills and experience to include in your CV. In this article, we outline what an HR generalist does and explain how to create a compelling HR generalist CV, with a template and example to help you.

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What is an HR generalist?

An HR generalist is a human resources employee who covers all aspects of HR for an organisation. Their work varies depending on the organisation's needs but generally includes overseeing recruitment processes, onboarding new employees, managing disciplinary actions and helping employees exit the organisation. Working in this job means you act as a primary point of contact for all employees in the organisation regarding human resources issues. Some of the main duties associated with this role include:

  • devising and rolling out personnel strategies

  • establishing new employee engagement campaigns

  • developing various development intervention plans in line with organisational needs

  • performing analysis using HR data to generate insights into the organisation

  • reinforcing company branding to help with recruitment drives

  • implementing pay scales for different roles in the organisation

  • working out benefits packages for employees

  • assessing employees to identify key talent within the organisation and attempt to retain them

Related: How to write an HR CV (tips, templates and what to include)

How to write an HR generalist CV

Take a look at the steps below to learn how to write an HR generalist CV:

1. Learn what employers want by reading job descriptions

One resource you may use to help you learn more about the role of an HR generalist is job descriptions for vacant positions. Employers tend to provide a brief overview of the role, which makes it an excellent resource for learning about the role's main duties and responsibilities. This might include details about general workplace duties, essential skills for the job and any qualifications or experience the employer wants. In particular, employers may want candidates from specific industrial backgrounds rather than HR in general.

Related: Job profile vs job description: definitions and differences

2. Learn about the different CV formats

There are a few different ways you may structure your CV to showcase your abilities and experience. Selecting the most suitable format allows you to highlight your best attributes by placing them prominently in your CV. For example, if you have a good amount of experience working in HR but lack formal qualifications, you might select a format that highlights your experience over your academic qualifications. Three formats to consider are:

  • Chronological format: A chronological format is a great option if you have lots of experience in HR or an associated industry. This places your work history near the top of your CV so that employers and recruiters see this section first.

  • Combination format: A combination format strikes a good balance between suitable skills for the HR generalist role and experience in HR. This is an ideal format to choose if you feel you're both experienced and academically suited for the job.

  • Functional format: A functional format emphasises your HR skills and abilities over your work history. This format is a good choice if you're new to HR but have several transferable skills.

Related: The complete CV format guide: examples and tips

3. Begin your CV with accurate contact information

After selecting the most appropriate format for your CV, start populating it with content. The first section to work on is your contact information, which you place at the top of your CV. This ensures that recruiters and employers have easy access to your information if they want to contact you for more details or to schedule an interview. Ensure you use up-to-date information and include your full name, telephone number and email address.

Related: How to write contact information that gets your CV noticed

4. Craft a professional summary for your CV

The professional summary section offers employers and recruiters a brief overview of your most suitable qualifications, experience and skills for the job. You may also include details about your career aspirations and how this role ties into your plans. For example, if you want to become a senior HR advisor over the next five years, mention how this role prepares you for that. Aim for no more than three sentences when writing your professional summary to keep the reader engaged.

Related: CV summary examples (and 5 steps for how to write one)

5. Include a work history section

The work history section of your CV contains relevant details about your previous roles to show employers your experience in the industry. Try to emphasise any experience that aligns with an HR generalist role, such as duties that tie into onboarding processes or general HR tasks. This lets employers know you're experienced in HR and a suitable candidate for the job.

When creating your work history section, begin with your most recent employment before working backwards to create a reverse timeline. Include key information such as the job title, the name of your employer and when you worked there. It's also a good idea to include a few bullet points about your main duties while in the role, especially if they relate to HR in some way.

6. Add a skills section

Next, add a skills section for your CV highlighting your core skills in line with the job description. Try to include your most relevant skills to demonstrate your suitability for the job, including soft and hard skills. Soft skills include interpersonal skills or other personality traits that work well for the job, while hard skills include specialised abilities such as proficiency with HR software. In terms of formatting for the skills section, try to create a list of skills for the employer or recruiter to view. Some useful skills to consider for this role include:

  • analytical skills

  • interpersonal skills

  • conflict management skills

  • HR software proficiency

  • general IT skills

  • problem-solving skills

Related: Complete guide: essential HR skills

7. Create an education section

The education section of your CV allows you to summarise your academic pursuits and abilities. Focus on your most relevant qualifications, such as undergraduate degrees in human resource management, to let employers know you're the ideal candidate for the job. You might also want to mention key details about your studies that align with the job, such as learning about the latest industry regulations in HR. In terms of formatting, this section follows a similar structure to your work history section.

CV template for an HR generalist job

Take a look at the CV template to help you write your own:

[First name] [Last name], [Degree or certification if applicable]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [Location]

Professional Summary
[Two to three sentences that highlight your years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as a professional].

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [Location]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [Location]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

[Degree type] | [Name of school or university]

[Certification name], [Host organisation] - [Year completed or expiration date]

Related: Complete guide: how to write a human resources cover letter

Example CV for an HR generalist job

Here's an example CV for an HR generalist position:

John Greenway 01234 567 891 | | London, UK

Professional Summary
A dedicated HR Generalist with seven years of experience in the HR industry. Skilled in multiple areas of HR, including conflict management and onboarding, with strong communication and interpersonal skills. Looking to advance towards a senior HR position and develop my skills and experience further.

Senior HR Assistant | March 2018–Current
Logistics Recruitment | London, UK

  • optimise payroll infrastructure to streamline employee payments

  • streamline onboarding by bringing in digital resources for new employees

  • provide new employees with guided tours of the workplace and act as the main point of contact

  • update the organisation policy book to include information relating to the latest industry guidelines

  • assist with recruitment and interviews for job candidates

HR Assistant | April 2015–February 2018
Vertigo Consulting | London, UK

  • supported onboarding of new employees and established improved training processes

  • assisted in human resources issues for the organisation

  • handled confidential employee information and ensured optimal data protection and security

HR software skills | Problem-solving skills | Organisational skills | Conflict resolution skills | Project management skills | Interpersonal skills

BA (Hons) Human Resource Management | UK University

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

Disclaimer: The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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