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3 Tips for Effectively Transitioning into the HR Field

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A lawyer, a minister, and a real estate broker all walk into a room…

While this may sound like the beginning of a joke, it isn't a joke at all. Each person — the lawyer, the minister, and the real estate broker — was trying to land a job in the human resources field. And eventually, every one of them did. So, how did these three professionals, with seemingly no relevant experience between them, eventually obtain human resources jobs? By remembering three simple steps. Read on to find out what they are.

After making the conscious decision that she wanted to transition into the HR field, Amber Jones, the real estate broker, decided that her best course of action would be to go back to school. After obtaining an associate’s degree, she held several part-time human resources jobs in order to gain relevant experience and to be certain that HR was, in fact, the field for her. During this time, she not only discovered that she loved the job — and that she was great at it — but also found that the transition was a breeze, largely because she prepared for it.
Tip #1: Define Your Goals — “I want to get a job in human resources.” Yes, that is the ultimate goal, but it’s too broad, and it is difficult to measure progress toward it. What small goals will you strive to achieve that will help you realize your grander objective? Jones knew that she wanted to land an HR job (the main goal), but first finished school (small goal) and gained experience (small goal) before completely making the transition into the HR field.
Former attorney Jennifer Martinez left the legal field after several years spent practicing as an employment attorney in corporate legal offices. Hoping to make the complete transition to the HR field, Martinez decided to use a functional — instead of chronological — resume format in order to highlight all of her relevant skills. (While chronological resumes tend to emphasize the positions held over the years, functional resumes place more emphasis on the skills that were learned and the accomplishments that were achieved in those positions.)

Tip #2: Keep Your Options Open — Don’t expect to land the best HR job there is on your first try out. Keep in mind that you may have to take a pay cut, as Martinez did, or start out on a lower rung of the ladder. But if you’re dedicated, and you’re willing to put in the effort, you’ll eventually land your dream job in the HR field.
Michael Mahoney, the minister, was motivated to find a job in the human resources field after his mentor began to encourage him. Having a mentor as he made the move from his ministry to HR was a definite factor in Mahoney’s success. Whenever Mahoney was having difficulties with the job, he was able to turn to his mentor for advice, understanding, and companionship.
Tip #3: Create a Support Group — Changing careers is a difficult feat. So, to ensure your own success, build a team that is made up of individuals who will be there for you during difficult times. Networking with friends, family, and other HR professionals is also the best way to learn about the field from an insider and outsider perspective. And if you don’t know anyone who works in or has experience in the HR field, you can attend some Society of Human Resource Management meetings.

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 degrees  gains  attorneys  progress  HR  transition  offices

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