6 Ways to Supercharge Your HR Job Search
Let’s acknowledge one simple fact – job hunting is hard.
When it comes to the ever popular human resources field, trying to make your professional expertise shine ahead of everyone else and their dog who are applying for the same roles you are can feel like an uphill struggle.
But there are a few actions you can take to really give yourself the edge when you’re searching for a career in Human Resources. We’re going to let you in on a few of the most effective ones.
Here are 6 ways you can supercharge your HR job search and improve the chances of getting the career of your dreams.
Make relevant HR industry contacts (ie. network!)
As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
Sometimes one of the best ways to improve your chances of finding the right HR opportunities is to build connections in the industry – known as networking.
HR professionals who are active in the sector will often know about vacancies which might be arising before they’re made public. If you’re friendly with them, and they know that you’re looking for a similar role in the industry, chances are they’ll probably let you know about it.
If you’re the right fit, they may even personally recommend you for a role, helping you attract the recruiter’s attention before you’ve even sent in a CV.
Admittedly, the COVID-19 pandemic does make face-to-face networking nearly impossible, but digital networking has blossomed in popularity and can help you build the same links. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Networking tips to help you find the best HR opportunities
- Identify the most relevant social media platforms for networking and build a presence on them
- Get talking to people you already know in the industry and get introductions
- Have patience – success doesn’t come overnight (this blog post explores the topic really well)
- Focus on building a relationship rather than promoting yourself to begin with
- Join our free LinkedIn group! We host a lively and engaging HR group on the platform so that you can network with others.
Make a good impression every chance you get
First impressions are important enough when it comes to the world of work in general – and they’re crucial when it comes to your HR job search. That’s because every interaction you have with someone involved in the sector could have an influence on your overall job search, giving you access to more opportunities.
The HR sector is one that takes professional standards extremely seriously and is one where people love to talk.
If you make a memorable first impression (for the right reasons) with an HR decision maker, they’re more likely to look favourably on you in the future if your paths cross again. They could even remember you and get in touch with you about new opportunities.
Likewise, if your reputation as a professional is widely known to be poor, it’s unlikely that you’ll be taken seriously by others in the sector – and it could end up harming your job prospects.
Thanks to social media and the digital age, it’s now much easier to hold people accountable for positive and negative actions and behaviours, in a much more public way than in the past. Professional reputations take a lot of time to build and can be surprisingly quick to tarnish, if you’re not careful.
It almost goes without saying that you should treat everyone you meet how you’d want to be treated yourself. Be polite, be respectful and be humble – you never know when your karma might return to you!
Find a HR mentor
Having a mentoring relationship with a professional in your sector can expand your knowledge, skillset and, crucially, increase your success when jobseeking in the HR world.
To put it simply, mentoring is when an experienced professional in the HR industry lends you their advice and knowledge to boost your own performance. It’s a mutually beneficial process: you’ll benefit from your mentor’s knowledge and experience, whilst they’ll be able to develop their leadership and coaching skills.
Mentoring can be particularly effective when it comes to looking for a job in HR, with a professional mentor helping you define your career objectives and come up with a detailed, actionable plan to get there.
So how do you actually find someone who’s willing to mentor you? Here are a few simple steps to take:
- Take a look at the CIPD mentoring scheme
- Create a big list of HR professionals who inspire you – it’s best to start with people that you know already but it can be anyone in the industry
- Do some research into their professional background and make a note of what areas they specialise in
- Approach them gently and explain your situation
- Try to form a casual, no-pressure relationship with them
Research, research, research
Knowledge is power. You stand a much better chance of success when it comes to finding a job in the people profession if you carry out some detailed research into the employers that you’re targeting ahead of time. That’s because you’ll be equipped with an understanding of the attributes that the organisation is looking for, and you’ll be able to adapt your job application accordingly.
Take the time to get to know the ethos, history and principles of the organisation that you’re applying for. Scour their website for details, do some Google research into recent news regarding the organisation and its key people, and try and speak to people who already work there to build up a bigger picture of the organisation.
Use the research that you gather to form the basis of your job applications, aligning your experience and interests with that of the organisation that you’re applying to.
Overhaul your CV
Your CV and covering letter are one of the key elements that determines an employer’s impression of you. Get them right and you can position yourself as a leading candidate.
Taking some time to examine your current CV setup and see what can be improved can really help to improve your overall success rate when it comes to apply for human resources-focused roles.
It can be difficult to get right, but once you know the principles behind how to create a successful one it’s not as daunting as it first seems.
Basically, a CV needs to be concise and clear but contain enough information about your skills, knowledge and experience at the same time. Ideally, you should aim to keep it under two pages long.
You should always aim to tailor a CV to every job that you apply for, too. This seems pretty labour intensive, but it can help you get the results you want.
Check out our 8 tips for improving your CV for some detailed advice.
Create a career plan
A career plan is just a detailed document about how you want your career to progress. It’s essentially a blueprint for your career, setting out your objectives when it comes to your work life, your overall ambitions and how you plan to get there.
It can be as short or as detailed as you want it to be, but it should include these main points:
- Your career goals
- Your skills, experience and professional interests
- Actions (steps to take to achieve your goals)
- Timescales (deadlines for when each action should be completed)
It can help to set your goals according to the SMART principle, making sure that they’re Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time sensitive. You can read more about that here. They can be something as simple as saying, ‘I will read a book on payroll processes’, to more ambitious goals like, ‘I will complete a CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in Human Resources’ this year.
Bonus tip: Enhance your CV with a CIPD qualification
Studying prestigious qualifications is one way to add a significance to your CV that an employer can’t ignore.
When it comes to the HR and L&D sectors, the CIPD is the most widely respected qualification provider, offering a range of globally-respected courses.
They have three types of qualifications catering for HR professionals at all stages of their career path:
- CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice
- CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management
- CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management
You don’t even need to have completed your qualification for it to be effective – you can list it as an in-progress qualification on your CV.
What is an in-progress qualification? Basically, just one that you’re currently studying! Putting qualifications that you’re currently studying on your CV will help you to prove to employers that you’re committed to the industry and that even if you don’t have the right skills just now, you’re putting in the work to achieve them.
For some handy tips about how to fit qualifications that you’re studying into your CV, check out our How to List an In-Progress Qualification on Your CV blog!
We hope you find these ways to supercharge your HR job search helpful and that you power up your job hunting efforts!
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