How to get into HR – 5 ways to kickstart your HR career

Getting started down any career path can be difficult, especially in competitive fields. But there are a number of things you can do to get ahead of the competition and make sure you make the most of the experience you gather along the way too.

So, for those of you wondering how to get into HR, here are five ways you can kickstart your career.

Get some relevant experience

Now, we know that even getting experience can be tough, and we’ve seen the sarcastic social media memes stating you need 2 years experience to apply for a work experience-style placement. But in reality, that’s not really the case. Sure, any industries are extremely competitive and hard to break into, but with some hard work you can make it.

Typically you’ll start with gaining some HR work experience, usually helping out within an HR department managing some office-based tasks. Here you can start to pick up the language and learn what it takes to work within an HR department.

Whether you have a relevant degree or went straight in after school, you need to make sure you turn your HR work into a solid CV as well.

Stay on the lookout for junior HR jobs

Spend half an hour each day searching for the latest junior HR job opportunities and shortlist some opportunities to apply for. Make sure you offer a personalised cover letter too. Generic introductions show a lack of effort and can see your CV cast aside at an early stage.

Check out our latest HR jobs here 

It also helps if you have the right people on your side who understand the type of role you’re after and can help find you the best opportunities – something we here at Better Placed do for hundreds of candidates each year.

You can see how we work to find our candidates the perfect roles for them here (link to real network).

HR isn’t just about being a people person

From the outside looking in, this can be seen as a common misconception about HR professionals. But it’s true, HR isn’t just about being a people person. Of course, it’s a big part of the role, but HR professionals also need to understand and contribute to the social and political environment at an organisation – be it big or small.

You need to be tactful and mindful in potentially stressful circumstances as well as understanding people’s strengths and areas where improvements can be made too.

Learn the language

This applies to most jobs, but understanding the language used within an HR department is important. This can be either the professionalism with which certain situations are handled or even small things like understanding what related acronyms mean.

Understanding the HR language also applies to the job titles you’re applying for and what each job title will entail. An HR executive and HR analyst may do carry out very different roles within the department, for example. In some companies, executive can apply to either junior members of staff or senior employees too. Take time to read job descriptions before applying.

Take advantage of employer-sponsored training opportunities

This point may apply more once you land your HR job, but it’s also important to consider for personal and career development.

A number of employers offer paid training opportunities for staff members, and it pays for you to take advantage of this to enhance your knowledge and understanding of the field.

If it’s not altogether clear whether or not your company does offer this perk, then there’s no harm in finding a course or a talk you’d like to attend and asking your department head if you can attend. They’ll appreciate that you’re showing ambition and willing to proactively expand your skill set and experience!