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Helping you find a career in the hr industry
Human Resources (HR) are responsible for finding, hiring, developing and retaining the best people for a business. It ensures their wellbeing whilst they're employed and diplomatically resolves any legal or personal issues that might come up during their employment.
HR is all about people, so you need to have the right balance of compassion and emotional intelligence, whilst being fully aware of the business's commercial objectives.
Areas within HR include:
Learning and development
Workplace Health and Safety (WHS)
Industrial Relations (IR)
A high level of professionalism is required at all times from those in HR. There is a certain level of responsibility as a role model taken on by those who choose to work in this area.
Working with people is an integral part of HR, so you will definitely need skills in communication and teamwork to effectively manage the personnel needs of both your team and your wider employer.
Conflict management may also be central to your HR role, so skills in this area are also beneficial.
Graduates looking to move into HR need to be highly organised and responsible, and must enjoy working with people.
You will need a good knowledge of business if you want a job in HR. You should also be of good character, in order to represent the business both internally and to outside organisations.
Being successful in HR is largely down to your personality, but many degrees with also equip you with the skills you need. Communication, presentation and organisation are key skills to hold.
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in HR
Many large organisations run graduate schemes with a HR stream. Schemes last approximately two years and they can help you progress quickly.
Employers will not usually require a specific degree for an HR role, most business or humanities-related degrees will provide you with the soft skills you need.
Career progression in HR is fairly straightforward, but it will vary between different organisations. You're likely to start as an HR administrator, before becoming an HR assistant or HR officer. You could eventually become an HR manager or HR director. Of course, these roles are general and don't account for the specialisms you'll find within HR.
Whatever company you're in, you'll be expected to take on further training to ensure your skills and “people” knowledge is up to date. Professional qualifications are run by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). Your may employer to support you in gaining these qualifications.
In general HR careers progress quickly, with most of those working in this area receiving promotions or moving to higher level roles within other companies after a couple of years - meaning that you can reach seniority whilst only a few years into your career.
Whatever company you're in, you'll be expected to take on further training to ensure your skills and “people” knowledge is up to date. Professional qualifications, which you can take whilst working, are run by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). You may be able to persuade your employer to support you in gaining these qualifications. Qualifications in counselling, coaching and mentoring, employee engagement or talent management could give you the opportunity for further career progression.
Tips for getting into the field
It's important to know exactly what employers are looking for when you're applying for roles.
Obviously, a personable nature and willingness to see the positive in any given situation are both hugely important.
There are also a large number of general, non-industry-related things that you can do to put yourself in a good position to start applying for jobs. These include:
Tailoring your CV for each specific role: Making sure you focus on previous experience and relevant skills
Applying for internships and/or work experience: This is a no-brainer: you'll experience the field before you apply for jobs and acquire the practical skills you'll need in your future job
Take on similar roles: For example as an HR assistant or similar, during holidays or whilst you apply for higher-level roles right after graduation
See what the top companies in the field require: Start by looking for case studies from the big firms, and note what backgrounds and skills their current employees have
Use your contacts: University professors, those you met on work experience, people you can approach through social media or LinkedIn. They're all potentially the stepping stone to your next role, and they might be happy to help you
How much can graduates earn in HR?
Your salary within an HR department is likely to start at around £24,000 and will increase with experience. HR directors can earn over £100,000