Finding a job in HR can be tough. Finding an HR job with no experience can be even tougher.
And as for networking in HR when you're not already working in HR, or staying motivated when you've been rejected for seemingly every entry-level HR role on the planet?
Well - that can seem like an insurmountable challenge.
These are all the things we discovered when we asked our CIPD students what they were struggling with when it came to finding a job in human resources.
Then, we asked our team of expert CIPD tutors for their advice.
- How to find a job in HR when you have limited experience
- How to switch to an HR career when you have managerial experience
- What to do if you keep getting knocked back
- How to go global with your HR career
- How to network professionally even if you don't currently work in HR
- Will Brexit make it harder to find an HR job?
Each of the tutors has more than 20 years’ experience in HR, from HR Director to employment law consultant to CEO. All are CIPD Chartered or Fellow Members who work with students daily to develop their careers.
In other words – whether you're breaking into HR from another career or simply trying to get your foot in the door, their advice could be exactly what you need to get a job in HR.
How do you find a job in HR when you have limited experience?
Trying to find an HR role when you don’t have any HR experience can be daunting. Our CIPD tutors share their words of wisdom for job-hunters with no HR experience on their CV.
'Looking for a job in any sector at the moment is incredibly competitive, and will become more so,' explains David James.
The tutors agree that a CIPD qualification is the essential starting point for finding a job in HR, but that building experience outside of that is also vital. 'The CIPD qualification will give you the confidence to act in everyday situations, but you need more than just the theory, you need the practice. Start at the bottom, do some voluntary work.'
Mary Fraser sympathises: 'if you're wanting to go into HR, it can initially feel daunting, because people are asking for HR experience. However, a lot of the time, employers are looking for someone with transferable experience, and to be honest, a lot of entry-level HR work is admin work - it's just in a different context.'
'You need to find what we call the 'stackable credentials', the other key skills and competencies you need to be able to demonstrate like, for example, managing change, embracing chance, interpersonal skills, and get as much experience in that as possible to go alongside your qualification. That will make you very competitive.'
'One of the things I'd recommend you start doing is networking,' suggests Dr. Stephen Littler. 'If you have a CIPD qualification but no experience, go to your local CIPD events. Your local branch will not charge you for these kinds of events, and it's a great opportunity to network and open doors.'
Drawing on other HR professionals' experiences can also be useful, whether they're people from your network or examples gathered from HR news or blogs. 'Gather information about the kinds of issues that people are facing now, about how people are facing particular HR problems. That means when you're in an interview situation, you're drawing on real-life examples, things that really make sense when you're being asked those critical incident questions - 'how would you deal with such and such situation?' Having done your homework, you'll be able to deal with it.'
What's the best way to switch to an HR career when you have managerial experience?
Switching careers at manager level has its own opportunities and challenges. Managerial roles in general often require many skills that are deeply relevant to HR, from recruitment to disciplinaries.
What should you do if you keep getting knocked back?
Breaking into HR can be tough, and getting turned down repeatedly can be even tougher. Our CIPD tutors offer their thoughts on why you might be getting turned down and how to solve the problems you’re facing.
What are the global opportunities for finding an HR role?
The opportunities for HR professionals across the globe are vast, particularly if you’re accredited with a CIPD qualification. Every business in every part of the world relies on its people, and so an HR career can take from London to Sydney to Beijing to… You get the idea.
But where should you look? David James advises you on how to identify opportunities from afar.
What’s the best way in to network within HR?
Many estimates suggest that upwards of 70% of jobs are filled through networking rather than traditional recruitment or job ads.
CIPD tutor Dr. Stephen Littler gives practical steps you can take to make connections and build a professional network, even if you don’t work in HR already.
Will Brexit make it harder to find an HR job?
David James gives his opinion on whether the HR job market will be flailing or flourishing as the Brexit process continues.
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