A career in Human Resources or Personnel can seem like a rather attractive option, offering people jobs, and recruiting staff can seem and actually be very exciting. However be prepared for the other aspects; the disciplinaries, performance management meetings, redundancies, union negotiations and dealing with all the personal issues that may strike your desk daily as well of course as the obligatory administration and continually keeping abreast of legislation and policies. However, if you are interested in a career in the ‘people’ side of things, and don’t necessarily fancy a job in a commercial recruitment (sales) environment, a career in HR may be a perfect option, provided of course that you don’t detest paperwork and people!
For junior roles, you will still be expected to have a degree, probably a bachelor of business administration or something related and preferably one which has a specialism in personnel and human resources. If you do not go to University, you can still find a route into HR, perhaps at first as an administrator and then an administrator in a HR department, and then perhaps you will be able to work your way up the ladder and gain specific qualifications along the way. As you progress up the HR ladder, you will find that most management roles do require you to be CIPD qualified. The CIPD is The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and many HR positions do deem CIPD membership as mandatory.
In this tough economic climate, do expect to need more than just qualifications to even get an entry level role in a HR department. Gaining work experience working in a HR department would be ideal. For short term pain (i.e. low to no wage), a placement year or period of work experience will strengthen your CV and any job application you may make. As you go up the HR ladder the type of career route you may take can vary somewhat. From a HR Generalist or HR Business Partner position through to more specialist roles dealing with Recruitment, People Management, Performance, Training, and overall organisational development, the type of experience you gain early in your career may shape the career route you eventually take.
Type of Person
Fundamentally, this is a responsible role and will especially suit someone with the ability to multi-task, who has good administrative skills and strong ability to analyse information and data. Bear in mind also that since you would be working in a personnel department, you really should be a personable person and have good communication skills. Having said that, having a thick skin is also really important since passing on bad news, addressing issues and dealing with complaints is just as common (if not more so) than offering someone a job or a promotion. Oh, and the ability to identify talent and skill sets is pretty important too, if you decide to specialise in the recruitment side of things.
How to get a job in HR
So, if after reading all of the above, you still feel a career in HR is for you, then you ought to start by gaining the experience and qualifications that will help you along the way. If you fancy developing a career in HR Management, expect it to take around 10 years of hard work and training qualifications to get to that level of position. Also, the more specialist you are at the start of your career, may potentially influence the direction you go in, and also the speed at which your career progresses, as less people may have the specific experience that you have. There are plenty of specialist jobsites and recruitment agencies that deal exclusively with HR roles and you will also find that the larger generic job sites will also have a good selection of HR jobs advertised. Just type in “HR jobs” and your location when you search online – that might be a pretty good place to start!
Fancy a career in HR? Good luck!! We hope these basic tips help you along the way…
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