Human resources is a great profession, but breaking into it can be challenging. How can you go from being a student or a customer service representative to being the person who sits at the other side of the interview table? If your goal is to get an entry-level position in HR, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Get the Required Education. While the educational requirements for positions in human resources will vary depending on the region, the organization and the specific position, usually a degree, diploma, or certificate in a field related to human resources is needed. If you are aiming for a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, an undergraduate degree is now required.
Find Internal Opportunities. Since jobs in human resources can be competitive, it may be easier to attain if you are already working for the organization. Try to find an entry-level position at an organization with at least a few people in their human resources department. Once you are there, do your best to impress your manager and whenever possible, build a relationship with the human resources department.
Work on Soft Skills. Strong soft skills are an absolute MUST for anyone working in human resources. If any of your soft skills need work such as your communication skills, teamwork skills, problem solving skills, listening skills, or interpersonal skills, then now is the time to focus on them. If your soft skills are strong, then try to come up with some examples that demonstrate them. Employers are a lot more impressed when you show them your skills than they are when you just state that you have them.
Join a Professional Association. A professional association is an excellent way to gain experience, make connections, and learn more about the industry and the profession. If you are a student, you will likely be able to join at a discounted rate. Talk to the membership department to see how the professional association may be able to benefit you.
Use Social Media. Social media gives you an opportunity to connect with people working in HR independent of the application process. Use your profiles and your updates to demonstrate that you are professional and knowledgeable in HR. Reach out to people who work at your target companies and don’t be afraid to ask the people in your network for help. You never know where you will find an amazing opportunity.
Breaking into a new profession is never easy. It may take some time, but if you stick with it, you will find an opportunity. Once you get your start in HR, it will be a lot easier to progress in your career. Just keep trying!
(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of jscreationz at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)