The first step on your journey to a successful human resources career is a well chosen entry-level position. It is therefore important to find HR jobs that will lead to promotions and high-paying roles in the future, as not all entry-level HR jobs are equal in this regard. You will need to do your homework, then, on the organizations you're planning to apply to. You'll also need to make sure that you meet the selection criteria provided by these organizations for their entry-level jobs.
Meet Educational Qualifications
Most entry-level human resources jobs require you to possess either an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree with a major in human resources, psychology, industrial relations, or labor relations. However, the best human resources jobs require at least a bachelor's degree or even a master's degree, so it's important not to be satisfied with an associate's level qualification. Ideally, you would complete a four-year college degree from an accredited university before embarking upon your human resources career. If you need to begin work earlier for financial reasons, then continue studying part-time while you are working.
Despite the fact that college students do not have much opportunity to get a lot of work experience prior to graduation, it is still possible to gain some. In fact, it comes as a shock to a lot of graduates that many employers are expecting experience for their entry-level jobs. So, how can you solve this problem and be a full-time student? The answer is to work as an intern during your college vacations. Look for internships in the human resources departments of organizations that have good internship programs. Make sure you can gain skills in using human resources software, placing advertisements, comparing information from resumes and application letters with selection criteria, reference checking, and perhaps even interviewing. These skills, references from your employers, and the experience of responsibly working full days in a corporate environment will stand you in good stead for getting an entry-level HR job.
Your Resume and Application Letter Must Be Professional
A professional resume and application letter along with consistently good grades and some work experience will generally gain you an interview. Your letter of application must address all the selection criteria given for the entry-level job you are applying for, and your resume should also be adjusted to suit the different requirements of each job. Make it easy for the employer to recognize that you meet their essential criteria. In a sense, your application letter should not only state your wish to apply for the position and explain how you fulfill the stated requirements of the organization, it should also be a sales pitch as to why they should hire you.
Where to Find Human Resources Jobs
If you're a college student seeking employment after graduation, your college careers office or counseling service can often provide valuable help. Colleges often build good relationships with local businesses and are informed when they are recruiting. An experienced counselor will be able to guide you in determining the most suitable type of position for your career goals. He or she may also be able to put you in contact with people who can help you. Often alumni of the college are working in good positions to help current graduates get their feet through the door. Talking to alumni, particularly in your area of study, can be enormously helpful both in terms of advice and through opportunities provided.
Sometimes entry-level employment opportunities are sent directly to your student email address. They can also be advertised in college newspapers or on college job websites. Online job sites are another quick and effective way to look for entry-level HR jobs. You simply search by category or by job title, and you can factor in the locality you want to work in and even the salary you are looking for. You can also sign up for job alerts which are sent to your email address whenever a new job is available that fits your requirements.
Contact employment agencies, particularly those that specialize in human resources jobs, to see if they have any entry-level jobs available. You can suggest that you make an appointment to see them and email them your resume in the meantime. If they are impressed by you, they may make some calls to clients to see if there is any interest. You can also consider taking short-term temporary assignments in human resources departments through agencies that provide temporary and contract staff. Temporary work can give you more experience, introduce you to different companies, and often result in job offers.
Ace Your Job Interview
When you are granted a job interview, you know you've prepared well. You now have an opportunity to close the deal. It is important to dress professionally and to be relaxed, professional, and friendly. Go to the interview prepared to answer questions about the company you are applying for in order to show them that you have taken a genuine interest in the job and the organization. You also need to be able to share your vision for your future and how this entry-level HR position fits in. Be willing to ask questions as well as answer them, and try to enjoy the interview process.
The best human resources jobs are the ones that suit you and support your career aspirations. If you approach your preparation and job search intelligently and strategically, you will have the greatest chance of success.