The traditional route to a human resources job is to get the right education and then gain experience working in the field. However, you can also find entry-level HR positions without direct experience. According to research conducted in 2011 by XpertHR, more than 45 percent of HR professionals entered the field without prior experience. The key to landing a job in HR is to take advantage of as many resources and training opportunities as possible.
Networking is an essential tool for entering any career field. If you are currently employed in a job outside of human resources, network with members of your company's HR staff. Let them know you have an interest in working in HR and ask them for advice on breaking into the field. Also, use online resources such as LinkedIn to build your network. You can set up a career profile that highlights your background, experience and skills that may be relevant to the human resources field. Include any training, recruiting, benefits or payroll experience you have. If your organization offers HR training, sign up for it to gain valuable skills you can add to your resume. You should also join your local Society for Human Resources (SHRM) chapter so you can meet HR professionals who might know about available jobs.
Training can provide the skills necessary to succeed in HR. If you are already working, look into on-the-job training, online training or classroom training in HR, especially training that leads to HR certification. Talk to HR professionals at your organization to find out what training will benefit you the most. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that many professional associations that specialize in human resources offer courses intended to enhance the skills of their members, and some offer certification programs. Although certification is usually voluntary, some employers might prefer or require it. If you are a student, the BLS advises earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or a related field.
Volunteer in HR
Volunteering will help improve the training skills you learn as well as the networking connections you need to land a full-time career in HR. Opportunities exist to volunteer for HR roles at non-profit agencies and university career placement offices. If you work during normal daytime hours, volunteer in the evenings or on weekends. You can gain experience reviewing resumes, interviewing or working with other recruiters, payroll officers or benefits administrators. Also, find out if there is a need for volunteers at your current employer. This will demonstrate your eagerness to learn and cross-train in the area of HR. Your local SHRM chapter might also post volunteer opportunities.
Post Your Resume
Update your resume as your skills and expertise in HR continue to develop. Scan job listings on HR-oriented websites and elsewhere, and then apply for entry-level opportunities in HR that highlight your skills and expertise. Your resume should include any experience you have in the field as well as any training or certification classes you have taken. In addition to posting your resume on job sites, contact people in your professional network and let them know you are looking for a job in HR.
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