Finding your ideal HR job may be a challenge, but as long as you’re tenacious and driven, you’ll get on just fine! In fact, you’ll need these skills to do your job, which is likely to be a busy role, helping an organisation to run smoothly and to grow and develop.
Whether you’re working in areas such as recruitment, employee contracts, health and safety, training and development, employee rights or appraisals, as an HR professional, it’s likely you’ll be working with every department, making it a dynamic job.
Maybe you’re at the beginning of your career and looking for an HR Administrator role. Or perhaps you’ve got a few years’ experience under your belt and you’re looking for a senior-level promotion. Either way, we’ve pulled together a quick guide that we hope will help you win a fulfilling job in this rapidly evolving field.
1. Focus on an area of HR
Since HR encompasses a broad spectrum of roles, it’s important to do your research if you want to narrow down your search to a particular area – especially if you want to work for a large organisation with a whole HR team. Do you want to focus on learning and development? Or maybe you’re more attracted to employee relations, which involves maintaining working relationships across departments. Whatever you’d prefer to focus on, you need to provide evidence of relevant skills to convince an employer to recruit you.
2. Smaller employers need a flexible attitude
Where an employer doesn’t have the capacity to employ a big team, it’s useful to maintain an open mind. If you want to work for an SME for example, you may be expected to handle anything from grievances and candidate interviews to organising the Christmas social event. In short, be positive and use it an opportunity to develop key HR skills in a wide range if areas.
3. Network with peers
It’s only logical that since a lot of HR roles demand great social skills, you should get out and about, and start networking! This is particularly relevant at senior level, when you’re looking for professional connections and to explore new opportunities.. Sign up for senior-level industry events, offer to do presentations at workshops and write LinkedIn articles for your organisation (well, we didn’t say all networking has to be done in person!).
4. Get the right qualifications
With HR being such a diverse field, it welcomes people from a range of educational backgrounds. But if you want to upgrade your training, there are some courses that’ll boost your CV. Graduates are expected to at least have a 2:1 degree in specialisms including HR management, psychology or business management. And the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development provides internationally recognised HR qualifications. Don’t risk letting your skills and training lag behind – be proactive and keep up to date with new opportunities for professional development.
5. Prepare for challenging tasks
Although HR does have its softer side in terms of giving people new jobs and helping staff develop their skills, there may be times when you have to deal with redundancies and other difficult situations. So, in pursuit of a new HR job, make sure you have your own methods to deal with such pressures. But remember, although working in this area can be tough, it can also be hugely rewarding.
6. Research HR salaries
As with any job hunt you ideally need to know what you’re going to be earning before applying. You can look at job ads in the HR press, on websites and talk to friends in HR about their salaries and benefit packages. Or check out what other people are currently earning on Pure’s own peer-to-peer live salary comparison website Compare My Salary.
If you’re feeling fired up and ready to launch yourself into the job search, there are lots of HR vacancies around the East of England at the moment. So this might be your chance to get out there and put our advice into practise. Good luck!
Caroline joined Pure in 2002 at the beginning of our journey. As Director, Caroline is co-manager of the Cambridge office as well as leading the Human Resources team. A graduate from Manchester University, Caroline started her recruitment career in 1999 within the HR, Professional Office Support and the Accountancy sectors.