How to Get an Entry-Level Job in HR

This article from shrm.org written by Mark Feffer provides some insightful tips on how to gain an entry level position in Human Resources.

It’s one of the most common questions posed on the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM’s) social media channels:

“How do I get an entry-level job in HR?”

With a number of college HR programs available and executives’ growing focus on the workforce as a strategic asset, you’d think that more organizations and college career centers would be able to map out clear paths into the profession, like SHRM has. While some schools have been effective at helping their graduates break into HR, a number of practitioners say the efforts of many others fall short.

The society issues a Certificate of Learning to HR students who have passed the SHRM Assurance of Learning Assessment. In addition to providing a recognized benchmark for traditional and nontraditional students with little to no HR work experience, the certificate proves they have acquired the minimum knowledge required to be a successful HR professional. It also can give them an advantage over other entry-level HR candidates.

Some schools don’t tailor their academic and placement efforts to the realities of the HR world, a number of HR professionals said. And some businesses don’t articulate what it is they want their HR functions to do in the first place.

In the businesses that do have defined expectations for HR, those expectations vary widely. At some, the department reports to the CEO. At others, it’s part of the chief financial officer’s portfolio. Some companies task HR with little more than administration, while others regard the workforce as an important component of its success. As a result, how a graduate finds an entry point can differ markedly from employer to employer.

“There’s not a clear path because HR’s so broad,” said Catherine E. Preim, SHRM-CP, HR manager with Philadelphia-based transportation consulting firm SYSTRA USA. Indeed, the function encompasses everything from benefits administration and diversity to workforce planning and technology.

Generally speaking, though, three paths can lead to an entry-level position in the field:

  • A college degree in HR.
  • A degree in a related subject, like business or industrial/organizational psychology, then applying those skills to HR by earning appropriate certifications.
  • Working for several years in an operational role at a company, then transitioning into HR.

Here are some common strategies for getting the attention of HR’s hiring managers.

Go here to read the full article.

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