Start a Career in HR


If you are good with people, human resources is an excellent career option.  Every organization requires a human resources professional in at least some capacity.  However, since it is a competitive industry, it can be difficult to break into it.  Here are some tips that will help you start your career in HR:

Get a job internally.  When you are trying to get someone to take a chance on you, it is easier to persuade someone who already knows you.  Get into an organization in any capacity and then try to move to human resources from there.  Let the HR department know that you would love to help on any projects and make sure that your performance in your current job is excellent.  If you are professional and you work hard, somebody will eventually give you a chance to prove yourself.

Access your network. If you can’t get a job internally, leveraging your network is your next best option.  Talk to your contacts and let them know that you are looking for a position in HR.  Try to connect with someone who either works in human resources or who works at one of your target companies.  They should be able to advise you on what you need to do to make yourself a competitive candidate and they may even know about possible opportunities. 

Get the required education.  HR jobs usually require a university degree or college diploma in a field related to HR, business admin, industrial relations, commerce or psychology.  Becoming a certified human resources professional in Ontario requires a Bachelor’s degree, experience and relevant skills.  Many of these courses can be completed on a part-time basis and some employers will be willing to hire you even if your education is in progress.     

Learn about the industry.  It is a lot easier to present yourself as an ideal candidate if you take the time to learn about the industry.  This means keeping yourself up to date on industry trends and buzz words.  The best approach is to read industry publications, do free online webinars, and become involved in the professional association.

Identify your transferable skills.  Even if you don’t have any direct experience in human resources, you probably have a lot of transferable skills.  If you can demonstrate that you possess analytical skills, communication skills, emotional intelligence, problem solving skills and organizational skills, you will be a competitive candidate for a position in HR.

It’s not easy to make a career change and the reality is that human resources is competitive.  However, if you are persistent with it and you do your homework, there are a lot opportunities available in this industry.  Good luck!

(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of Sira Anamwong at