1. Depending on the entry level human resources job you are applying for, you will need either an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree with a major in human resources, industrial or labor relations or, in some cases, organizational psychology. However, even though an Associate’s degree can sometimes get you in the door, you will need to gain a higher tertiary qualification in order to be promoted. A human resource assistant role is a common starting point to moving into other jobs in human resource.
2. As well as a degree, many companies are also looking for experience. This creates a dilemma for many students since they have gone straight from high school to college and have been studying full time. How do they get the required experience? The most common way is by undertaking internships during vacations. By obtaining internships in human resource departments and gaining real entry level skills using common human resources software, working on job specifications, placing advertisements, reading resumes and so forth, you will gain valuable experience that can be included in your resume. You will also be able to ask for references. As a result of interning, you will have a clear competitive advantage over graduates who have not interned or worked in a human resources role.
3. There are generally a lot of applicants for these entry level jobs and there is heavy competition for them. This is because they provide excellent career pathways to human resource management jobs down the road. It is therefore essential to maintain high grades consistently throughout your course. The combination of high grades, experience and a well written resume and application letter will generally get you an interview.
4. Your resume and application letter should be targeted to the essential criteria advertised for a particular job. Don’t send the same resume and letter to apply for different positions. You will probably not have to adjust your resume much, but you will need to change some things a little in order to make it easy for the recruiter to see that you meet their criteria. However, your application letter will need to be entirely unique for each job and clearly state how you meet the job requirements and why they should employ you.
5. When you are ready to seriously begin looking for a graduate position, your first place to call should be your college career’s office. A career counselor will usually have valuable information about entry level jobs being offered to their college students. Counselors will also know of special relationships which may exist between certain organizations and the various college faculty members. They may guide you to contact alumni of the college who work in organizations that may have openings for entry level staff.
6. Often job opportunities are sent straight to your student email address so make sure you check your emails. They can also appear in information sent by the human resources faculty to students. Read student newspapers as opportunities for graduates are often advertised in them and pay attention to upcoming events such as employment fairs where employers discuss opportunities with their organizations.
7. Read the employment section of your regional newspaper every week; you never know what opportunities will be advertised. Check a few of the larger online job sites every day. Online job sites are probably the easiest way to find human resource jobs since they are so easy to search on. You can even request email alerts to inform you of new jobs that meet your specifications. This simple action can save you a lot of job search time. Just remember to check your email.
8. Talk to your lecturers and tutors about possible employment opportunities and the best companies to work for. In fact, why not ask family and friends if they know of excellent companies to work for? If you come up with a list of potential companies you can check their websites regularly to see if they are recruiting. You can also contact them directly and ask if you can come in for a chat with the Human Resources Manager. If they get to know you, they may keep you in mind when an opportunity arises.
9. Some employment agencies specialize in HR jobs. It is worthwhile contacting these agencies about entry level positions. However, these recruitment companies can often be helpful in another significant way. Many of these agencies provide temporary or contract staff to companies. If you can obtain temporary employment in human resources departments or in human resources roles within companies that do not have a dedicated human resources department, you may be offered a full time job as a result. Many temporary positions turn into permanent human resources jobs.
10. When your efforts result in an invitation to attend a job interview, you know you have a good chance to sell yourself. Make sure you dress appropriately for the company and are polite, courteous and professional. Know as much as possible about the company you are interviewing for and be able to express your career goals. Ask questions about training opportunities and career pathways as this shows you are intelligent, engaged and motivated.
If you follow these ten tips you will not only find yourself easily transitioning from college to a job, you will also find yourself well on the way to a satisfying career.