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Any tips for getting into HR?

(12 Posts)
MushroomTree Tue 26-Nov-19 16:17:34

I'm looking to move into a career in HR.

I started studying my CIPD level 3 last month and have updated my CV and LinkedIn to be geared towards HR.

I haven't worked in HR before but have had various roles that have given me transferable skills.

I'm quite happy to go in at HR Administrator level and work my way up.

What else can I be doing?

I've just had a rejection email and read a thread on the CIPD app about HR being almost impossible to get into so feeling a bit disheartened sad

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ImBlue Tue 26-Nov-19 17:13:32

It's definitely not impossible. I decided to make the move into HR a few years ago and haven't looked back.

I did my CIPD and applied for low level HR administrator roles (I'm now a HR manager of a global firm) and worked my way up.

Attend HR seminars, if you google some in your area, you can register your interest) and begin to meet with HR professionals.

Do some volunteering in HR to gain practical experience. 3 months isn't long to be applying for stuff.

Good luck and happy to help with anything else smile

ImBlue Tue 26-Nov-19 17:15:15

Forgot to add - ask your current employer if you can get involved in some HR related projects or even a secondment (if they offer that)

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Tue 26-Nov-19 17:26:58

An admin role is a great way in - have shit hot admin skills. I'm recruiting for he admin just now and struggling to find decent candidates. I'm looking for someone to demonstrate good IT skills, attention to detail, ability to manage a busy and varied workload more than employment law knowledge, commitment to employee engagement etc.

It's worth persevering, it's how I started and have since worked my way up. Good luck!

MushroomTree Tue 26-Nov-19 19:04:28

Thanks for the replies @ImBlue and *@WhatWouldTheDoctorDo*.

@ImBlue unfortunately I'm very wary of mentioning this to my current employer. They're difficult, to put it politely, and I suspect if they knew I was retraining with a view to leaving they'd gladly help me on my way by handing me my P45.

Seminars are a good idea. I'm doing my course online as that was what worked for me but I do worry I'm missing out on the chance to network.

@WhatWouldTheDoctorDo I've actually never worked in an admin role, apart from 5 months at university. However, every job I've had has been heavy on the admin so I like to think my skills are spot on. I did wonder if that was putting potential employers off though as it isn't immediately obvious that I'd have good admin skills.

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TheTruthAboutLove Tue 26-Nov-19 20:11:54

It’s not impossible. I work in Talent Acquisition and work very closely with my HR colleagues.

There are guys in HR Shared Services who came in as administrators and got a break and a chance to do this role and are now flying as HR Admin. I think the thing to be wary of is that it is down to luck and being in the right place at the right time. Also, there’s a fair amount of nepotism when it comes to HR as if it’s an untrained role they will always offer it to someone they know - where I live companies are quite well known for it.

I would keep applying to low level HR Admin jobs, be prepared to start at the bottom on a low salary and work your way up. It’s going to be hard but it’s doable. You just have to be prepared to be at the very bottom of the ladder. The other thing is that everyone thinks they can do HR, and it’s a lot more complicated than people realise - I’d also as well try and work out a specialism you’d like your career in HR to go to as well. Is it Change and Reward or Generalist or Employee Engagement. It’s not so simple as someone saying I have great admin skills which means I can do my CIPD Level 3 and be in HR, you really do need to have knowledge and a passion for it. Definitely doable for the right person!

MushroomTree Tue 26-Nov-19 20:45:19

Thanks @TheTruthAboutLove. I'm totally prepared to go in at a low level and work my way up. I didn't expect to be able to walk in at management level.

It's definitely a role I think I'm suited to and am interested in. I'm currently in a frontline support role and previously to that was social media/marketing/communications so I've got quite a broad skill set and experience.

I've been thinking about specialisms already. It's early days but I'm wondering about employment law. I'd previously looked at going into the legal profession but it wasn't compatible with family life.

A friend of mine has recently retrained in HR and when she was describing the things that she loves about her job I just thought "That's my dream job."

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TheTruthAboutLove Tue 26-Nov-19 20:53:15

You also have to be prepared for the (rightly or wrongly) younger people who have just completed degrees or had work experience as part of it, coming in for the same roles as yourself and how you’re going to differentiate yourself from those types of candidates.

I’ll be honest, it really will be difficult. The girls in our shared services team came in as agency temps and got an opportunity they could’ve only dreamed about with the whole right place, right time. Sign up to LinkedIn, look for specific HR Recruiters, there’s an awful lot of them usually specific to towns and connect with them and tell them what you’re looking for. You’ll be in a much better place once you’ve completed your CIPD, and that will open you up to more roles. I think your problem right now is that you’re going for roles whether it’s a low level assistant or anything else, without any HR knowledge really or experience. And it’s such a competitive industry and type of role that you’re going to get people applying who are way overqualified or have their CIPD. As cheesy as it sounds, you need to get yourself some unique selling points, qualify and try and gain some practical knowledge from somewhere.

bimbimbap Tue 26-Nov-19 20:56:36

i moved from retail management to HR a year ago and currently halfway through CIPD level 5. depending where you are and if you can afford a bit of insecurity, you could do a couple of HR admin temp roles to ease the transition and build up some experience? i only had to do 1 temp roles before my 2nd was made permanent.

NamechangeoutedbyMIL Tue 26-Nov-19 20:57:35

It might also be worth mentioning on your covering letter or CV that you want to change to a career in HR because of x y and z, explain specifically what skills you have and why they are transferable and explain that an HR admin job would be perfect to give you the opportunity to nail the basics.

Without any of that on your CV, it will almost certainly get put in the bin as your previous work experience isn't relevant

WhatWouldTheDoctorDo Tue 26-Nov-19 21:05:39

No problem @MushroomTree. Have you got anyone who can review your cv with a really critical eye? Look at the role specs of the jobs your applying for and really tailor your cv. Highlight skills, responsibilities and achievements that are directly linked. Make sure your layout, spelling and punctuation are impeccable. Watch out for Microsoft's American English spellchecker! For my current admin recruitment I've got a 100+ CVs to read tomorrow and I'm particularly looking out for:

Proficient in the usual MS office products (so a well-laid out CV at least shows competence in Word).
Experience in tasks that require good attention to detail
Anything that demonstrates being able to juggle a busy and varied workload
Database entry work is a bonus
Good time management and an organised approach
Well written cover letter

I'll be put off by waffle, unnecessarily long cover letters or CVs, spelling mistakes and a failure to grasp what the job is really about.

Sorry, that's all very basic, but so many applications (including those from newly Cipd qualified applicants) don't always meet that criteria. Mine is a very junior role, HR experience isn't required at all, I'm just desperate for a good administrator! I've seen a lot of newly qualified graduates in the past looking for their first HR role who have completely failed to demonstrate the skills needed for, or any understanding about admin level jobs.

I completely agree with the PP about your cover letter and explaining why you want to switch and what you can bring to the role. Worked for me when I changed careers!

MushroomTree Tue 26-Nov-19 21:29:24

@TheTruthAboutLove this is one of the issues I've been thinking about. At 28 I feel ancient in comparison to graduates but I think my life experience gives me the edge.

Thanks for replying @bimbimbap. Unfortunately I'm a single parent so temp roles just wouldn't work for me financially, which is unfortunate because in theory I'd happily temp to get the experience.

@NamechangeoutedbyMIL I've done it briefly on my CV but I think I need to have another look at my cover letter and expand on it a bit.

@WhatWouldTheDoctorDo I tick all of those boxes! You're not recruiting in Southampton are you?

I do have a contact who is a manager in an HR recruitment company locally to me so I'm going to send my CV over to her. Frankly I'm hoping nepotism works for me. I've got to get ahead some how grin

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