How To Get a Job In HR

Updated 3 May 2023

If you enjoy working with other people and are interested in the human side of running a business, a position in Human Resources could be a rewarding career for you. Also referred to as HR, it focuses on the wellbeing, effectiveness and productivity of staff. Whether you have studied HR at university or you're looking for a job in HR that requires no experience, a career in Human Resources could be the perfect opportunity for you to develop your interpersonal skills. In this article, we discuss how to get a job in HR, what subjects to study and what a career in HR involves.

Related: Essential HR Skills

How to get a job in HR

Competition for HR jobs is often high since many of them are well-paid and varied roles. For this reason, it's important that you take your search for HR jobs seriously to give yourself the best possible chance of securing your ideal position. Look out for any opportunities to develop your organisational and interpersonal skills and make sure you're the right candidate for the job. From writing a brilliant CV and practising your interview skills to finding an internship or apprenticeship in HR, there are so many things you can do to improve your chances of getting a satisfying and interesting role. Here are some steps you can take when looking for a job opportunity in HR:

1. Write an excellent CV for HR jobs

If you are applying for jobs in HR, then it's crucial that your CV distinguishes itself from the rest and highlights your unique abilities which make you perfect the role. Make sure your CV is well written, organised and proofread for errors. One of the most important things when writing a CV for an HR job is to show your interpersonal skills and business knowledge, especially if you've worked in a similar industry or field before. Try to demonstrate how your relevant experience makes you ideal for the position and list any relevant qualifications and courses you may have taken. Here are some examples of skills successful candidates may need to demonstrate:

  • teamwork

  • emotional intelligence

  • reliability

  • organisational skills

  • trustworthiness

  • sensitivity

  • business knowledge

  • interpersonal skills

  • multitasking

  • efficiency

Related: How To Demonstrate Interpersonal Skills

2. Search for HR jobs online

There are many HR roles available in companies across the UK, so searching for opportunities online may be one of the first things you do. When looking for a career in HR, be sure to look for roles that match your skills, interests and experience. You can use filters to narrow down your search for the perfect role. It's vital that you understand all of the requirements before you apply, which are clearly listed in the job description. Make sure your online profile is set to 'active' as you can set up email alerts when an HR role suiting your profile goes live.

3. Network with other professionals

As HR professionals primarily deal with people, networking and making contacts can be a valuable way to progress your career in HR. Take a look at local networking events, like a business brunch or community interest meeting, and spend time getting to know other professionals. Make sure to connect with your new contacts online on professional networking websites. You can also give other professionals your business card and mention you're interested in upcoming HR vacancies. It's important to make sure your online profile includes plenty of details about your experience and skills and your social media profiles are up to date and active.

4. Study for a degree in HR

If you wish to get into HR, there are several courses and degree programmes that focus on the subject, such as human resource management, business administration or business psychology. Look for programmes that have successful job rates for past graduates and find universities that have links with businesses so you can get real-world HR experience and insight. In general, HR candidates need a degree result of 2:1 or higher in any of the following subjects:

  • business management

  • finance

  • sociology

  • accounting

  • psychology

  • economics

During your degree, you may have the opportunity to take on work experience, an industrial placement or an internship, which can be excellent opportunities for those looking to get into HR without experience. As an HR graduate, it's important to demonstrate your ability to organise, interact and help and learn from others wherever you can.

5. Find an HR internship

Many companies looking for HR staff offer internship programmes, where candidates can gain valuable work experience and experience what it's like working in HR. Look for internships online or contact companies directly to see if there are any opportunities. In some cases, internships may be unpaid, so it's a good idea to try to find one while you're studying. If you're passionate about a certain area, like ethical fashion or efficient transportation, find a company you love and reach out to ask about potential HR internship opportunities.

Related: Common Interview Questions for HR (With Sample Answers)

6. Gain as much HR experience as possible

Although there are HR jobs that require no experience, candidates may need to demonstrate a range of interpersonal and organisational skills, which you can develop and work on in order to get into HR if you've recently graduated. You may think you have no experience, but if you've worked in a cafe and handled customer complaints or team conflicts, this is a great real-world example of your potential aptitude for HR. Think about situations in which you've managed, organised or helped other people, such as school projects, university societies or summer jobs, and use these to demonstrate your interpersonal skills.

Related: How To Write a Human Resources Cover Letter

7. Prepare well for interviews

If you're looking to work in HR, it's crucial that you take the interview process seriously, as you could potentially be conducting interviews for the same company in the future. Understand the skills which are required and try and have a list of real examples of ways you've demonstrated these skills. Look for potential HR interview questions and prepare your answers before the interview so you feel confident and secure in your abilities. Make sure you are well-presented, on time and professional and research the company in depth before you attend.

Read more: Making a Great First Impression in Interviews

8. Develop your communication skills

Whether you're talking to staff members about taking maternity leave or negotiating a pay rise with successful employees, as an HR professional, you need excellent communication skills. Working on your communication skills can also be an asset when you attend interviews for HR jobs and as you carry on further down your chosen Human Resources career path. This includes mastering written communication, such as sending important, confidential emails and writing staff development plans, so make sure any communication you have with potential employers is grammatically correct with no spelling mistakes.

Related: How To Improve Your Communication Skills

What does a job in HR involve?

HR jobs are varied and interesting, with lots of interaction between team members as well as crucial administration and payroll duties. If you're looking for an opportunity but you don't have any experience in the area, it's important to understand the responsibilities and tasks in an HR role so you can develop these. It's also important to understand and demonstrate your skills and abilities during an HR interview. As an HR professional, you may need to:

  • recruit new employees

  • handle staff concerns and complaints

  • manage workplace operations

  • train employees

  • improve workplace culture

  • ensure workplace safety and compliance

  • resolve conflicts

  • manage payroll

  • encourage career development

You may also need to demonstrate your ability to organise the day to day running of a business that has a varied and growing team.

Related: What does an HR recruiter do?

Tips for getting a job in HR without experience

There are still several ways you can increase your chances of getting a job in human resources without a degree or experience, but it's important to show initiative and a strong work ethic. Follow these tips to increase your chances of getting an HR job without a degree:

  • Research employers: Make sure you have researched the company you are applying for and focus on the specific skills they're looking for. Even without experience, a relevant skillset can show an employer that you could quickly learn in an HR role.

  • Build your network: It's important to be able to demonstrate interpersonal skills and a willingness to learn, so getting involved in relevant organisations and social media communities can be a great way to get into HR without experience.

  • Look for volunteer opportunities: Reach out to community organisations, local charities and online communities to see if they need any support in their HR department.

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