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What's the best way to get into HR?

(34 Posts)
DistressedAndAlarmed Tue 27-Jan-15 18:45:16

I want a change of career and was thinking HR might be right for me. Would it be better to jump straight in at a trainee level and work my way up or to do a course? Any advice appreciated, thanks.

VixxFace Tue 27-Jan-15 18:54:08

Watching with interest!

CarcerDun Tue 27-Jan-15 18:55:03

Depends on your career background. What type of role have you previously been doing?

MyHovercraftIsFullOfEels Tue 27-Jan-15 18:56:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Waitingonasunnyday Tue 27-Jan-15 19:19:47

What my hovercraft said... Why would you choose to work in HR?

trinitybleu Wed 28-Jan-15 08:21:56

I'd say trainee role with support for the CIPD courses as and when you want to do them. Experience is key.

I'm a Head of HR (no lobotomy and a nice personality, thanks) with no CIPD. Have always used my past experience to get jobs and I worked interim for 15 years for 25+ employers.

threepiecesuite Wed 28-Jan-15 09:00:23

I'm looking to move into HR too. An opportunity has come up in employability and engagement.
I'm currently a teacher but ready for a career change.

suzyfloozy Wed 28-Jan-15 09:34:21

trinitybleu do you ever take people on who have previously been solicitors but not directly in an employment specialism?

I've been considering stepping sideways into it when I go back to work when DD starts school as I've taken a career break.

Might not be employable after such a break but I will still have transferable skills I thought to something like HR and have a basic understanding of employment aka and HR policies.

Waitingonasunnyday Wed 28-Jan-15 10:54:22

trinitybleu and other HRs, I apologise - I posted late last night and shouldn't have said it like that.

I don't understand wanting to work in HR though - isn't it really soul destroying? As far as I can see its constantly being the bearer of bad news. Just wringing the best out of people for the good of the company. I'd just find it so hard.

trinitybleu Wed 28-Jan-15 11:08:53

Suzy I can see that might work, but you'd have to start at the bottom. You need to start off attending disciplinaries before you can run them, in my opinion. People are funny creatures - you need to see what they try and pull before you try to handle it with a professional face on. smile

YoullLikeItNotaLot Wed 28-Jan-15 11:16:04

I don't work in HR, but I work with HR quite a lot.
I think HR is a more difficult area to work in than people often think. You'll have to deal with investigations, grievances, company restructures etc all of which can ultimately end with people losing their jobs. I had to write a report recently which I knew would result in someone losing their job. I did it, I was professional, but I can't deny that I've taken it to heart quite a bit. You need to be a fairly robust character.

I know that's not actually what you were asking.

trinitybleu Wed 28-Jan-15 11:16:53

waiting There's a lot of positives to it and you have to find the right company. Imagine the feeling of offering someone a job and they literally scream with excitement (yesterday). Planning a £20k programme of nights out, fun days, charity events and treats (today). Supporting staff in developing to their full potential.

Yes, there's disciplinaries and redundancies, but usually for people who aren't performing or are taking the piss or saving the bigger company and other jobs. I have been made redundant twice so I know how it feels but sometimes needs must.

My current employer is particularly interested in our staff and a Times Top 100 company to work for. But I love my job and always have, no matter who I have worked for.

Heels99 Wed 28-Jan-15 11:17:58

You could either do a cipd course either full or part time or you could start at the bottom and work up, probably from an admin role or in recruitment or In a shared service centre.
I changed careers to hr and am glad I did. I have worked in generalist and specialist roles in national and international roles.
It's a very interesting and rewarding career, yes I have made people redundant, shut sites etc its part and parcel of some roles. I have also recruited thousands of people, seen people make amazing progress through the company etc etc, that isn't soul destroying! I don't work in employee relations now and I haven't done a disciplinary for 5 years as a result.
Hr is definitely a business role, you need to be close to the business and the numbers, cosy jobs doing welfare for employees don't exist.
On the upside it is well paid at a senior level there are opportunities for international travel if you want them and I work part time flexible hours. All works for me!

Heels99 Wed 28-Jan-15 11:20:56

Suzy you would be best looking at employee relations roles in large companies but do take into account it will involve Union negotiations etc

LemonYellowSun Wed 28-Jan-15 11:22:37

I work in HR. There are many different and diverse roles, which require different skill sets.

Most people seem to enter the profession at admin level and go from there. At our organisation, admin staff usually get funding to attend college for their CIPD and move up into whichever area they are interested in.

SuzyFloozy Wed 28-Jan-15 11:41:50

Thanks for the comments and apologies for hijacking the thread.

heels99 was there a specific reason for your recommendation, maybe because of my background?

Just helpful to know what I might need to look out for!

Heels99 Wed 28-Jan-15 11:47:09

I have seen people move from employment law to employee relations roles but not really to other roles in hr hence my recommendation you consider that.

Patilla Wed 28-Jan-15 11:58:07

Ah that's handy thank you.

I can see how people would make that move as it's more closely aligned to their work on the legal side of things.

It's still in the future for me but I the next year in going to start keeping my eyes out for adverts and get an idea of how the land lies. I think I would like it as a job, similar but different.

It's a shame it's only teenagers that can wrangle work experience these days!

Thanks for the comments.

gg1234 Fri 30-Jan-15 02:50:47

I did CIPD pervious year in 2014 and now I work as IT recuirtment consultant from home .I must admit its a very tough job unlike I use to to think before .The only way you can move into HR is doing some volunteer work.
The course helps but its just a stepping stone .I will now now look for full time employment after 6 month of this agency work.
Hope this helps you

treaclesoda Fri 30-Jan-15 03:15:28

I don't want to be all doom and gloom but in my experience HR is all but impossible to get into. It has been the only field I've ever really wanted to work in since leaving university, but I'm almost 40 now, and have never once seen a job advertised, even a minimum wage admin job, that didn't require previous HR experience. I've never even managed to get an interview for an HR role. I investigated doing CIPD but couldn't get accepted on a course because I don't work in the field. I know there is a post grad course in HR management but I can't afford to do it. Companies won't let you do unpaid work in their HR departments because it's so confidential. I have about a dozen acquaintances who have also been trying to break into HR for years without success.

Ironically, everyone I know who works in HR has ended up there by pure chance, mostly through taking a general admin role in the civil service, and being placed in HR because that's where the vacancy happened to be at the time their name reached the top of the waiting list.

I would so love to know the answer to this. I paid a fortune for professional careers advice once and the only suggestion they could give me was to ask a friend who owns a business if I could do their HR work for free in order to get experience. But 1) I don't have any friends who own businesses and 2) I would need to know what I'm doing, which at this stage I don't.

It's soul destroying.

InJillianWeTrust Fri 30-Jan-15 03:27:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BictoriaVeckham Fri 30-Jan-15 06:20:46

Also - please, please, please brush up on HMRC/tax/PAYE rules and regulations. I have worked for so many companies and there hasn't been one where the HR person understood my tax position. I have had to send countless emails and explanations asking them to work out how to assign my tax code and ensure everything is correct. One didn't know what to do with my student loan. It's the basics of HR, people!!

Tax / HMRC / student loans is not for the HR manager to sort out. If there is a payroll department then the payroll manager will know this information. It is impossible, IMO, for HR to know the ins and outs of this very specialist (and changing) area. I would go as far to say that each individual is responsible for their own tax / HMRC issues. Decent payroll managers will help with the explanation from HMRC, but ultimately they input the information on to the system.

treacle HR assistant and admin jobs come up rarely. I have found they are filled internally, by people who know the business in an operational capacity, or as an internship / placement (I started out like this). I'm now HR Manager for a medium to large sized business, which is part of an international business and I haven't seen one HR Admin role advertised externally. Even my own department, I recruited within.

HR service centres have HR Administrators, very low paid roles but it is a foot in the door. So you could target head offices and sell certain transferable skills. Happy to review your cv and make it more transferable.

Heels99 Fri 30-Jan-15 09:18:25

Agree with previous poster, I have worked in hr for 20 years and have never ever dealt with tax, paye, or student loans. It is not ' the basics of hr' , it's payroll! Nothing to do with hr! Jillion this will be why you have worked in so many companies and no one in hr understood your tax, it's not their job!

Hr roles are rarely advertised they are usually recruited through agencies so sign up with your local specialist hr recruitment agency, they will be able to advise in what you can do to strenghten your chances of entry. Agree recruitment is a good starting point, or admin. You will make a lot of contacts in hr on a cipd course so it is worth considering and shows a commitment. Alternatively moving into hr in your current business.

Petallic Fri 30-Jan-15 09:32:01

There are some hr apprenticeships if you can afford to be paid very little for 2 years (some employers will take over 24s)

I'm also in the same position. I have registered with hr agencies and am completing my CIPD certificate. I wrote my cv as a skills based cv and put together all my relevant hr skills clearly. Volunteering can be useful - volunteer coordinator for a charity is good as it requires you to recruit, maintain personal records, complete DBS / reference checks etc. I've had interviews/job offers so it's not impossible!

I'm not sure what your previous I experience already includes but A small company looking for an admin person could be a useful starting point if the roles covers hr/recruitment admin.

Heels99 Fri 30-Jan-15 10:01:39

Treacle soda have you considered doing the certificate in personnel practice? Many local colleges do it. I had someone come to me on work experience doing the course who had no hr experience, she wasn't allowed access to personal data but we had plenty of other things she could do. She organised it herself just by writing to me, I also have had three grad interns all have gone on to get perm roles in my company or another similar one.
Also become an affiliate member if cipd and start attending their local events, you will meet lots of hr practitioners in a position to give jobs and work experience!

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