When you’re trying to break into HR, it can feel like a catch-22 – you need experience to get a job and a job to get experience.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. If you’re committed, clever and a little bit crafty, you’ll be in your first HR role before you know it.


1. Get CIPD qualified

There’s a reason that most human resources job listings request CIPD certification: CIPD set the standard for competence, innovation and professionalism in HR.

Their qualifications will take you from zero to pro, giving you the expert skills and confidence you need to take on your new career.

Plus, employers trust CIPD qualifications so much that you don’t have to have completed one to start working in HR. Just putting ‘working towards CIPD’ on your CV will get you in the door - just ask CIPD student Anika.


2. Get creative with experience

When you don’t have any experience in an HR role, you’ve either got to:

a) be clever with how you use the experience you do have, or

b) be creative about how you get some more.

First, try to apply your current skills and experience to HR duties. For example:

  1. Showing colleagues how to do a new task = training
  2. Budgeting project costs = budgets and compensation
  3. Choosing team members for a project = hiring and talent
  4. Resolving a fight between colleagues = mediating conflict
  5. Chairing a meeting = leadership and organisation
  6. Working in marketing/finance/sales = general business acumen

This doesn’t mean you should bend the truth. Be upfront about what you have and haven’t done, but explain how the skills you’ve gained in other areas apply to HR. This will help hiring managers trust your abilities and imagine you in the role.

No similar duties? Move on to option B: getting HR experience through other means. For example:

  1. Volunteer to do HR tasks for a charity or small business
  2. Volunteer to help with HR tasks in your current company
  3. Take on an internship
  4. Take on role that’s similar to HR in duties and scope, such as supervisor or recruiter


3. Networking

Networking doesn’t have to be icky or fake - people love to help others when given the chance.

Try chatting to people online on Twitter if in-person schmoozing feels like too much. Once you’re ready, attend a CIPD event or join your local branch.

Be open about the fact that you’re looking for a new opportunity, and start off by focusing on what you can give to others, such as assistance with a project or an introduction to a useful contact. Good for them, good for you.

You’ll meet new friends, potential future colleagues, and who knows?

Maybe your new boss.


Find out more about getting CIPD qualified online.

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