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8 Ways to Break into a Career in HR

According to Onet online, the field of human resources is expected to see faster than average growth in the coming decade. Here's how to get into the industry.

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According to Onet online, the field of human resources is expected to see faster than average growth in the coming decade and human resources positions pay more than the national average. For these reasons many people are considering transitioning to careers in human resources. For those who are trying to find that first human resources position, here are some strategies to use.

1. Network extensively. Human resources by definition is a job for people who can develop good networks.

2. Get an education. A degree is helpful, especially if it is in human resources or another business degree, but is not necessary. A bit of research into employment law and related topics may help convince an employer of a candidate’s ability to do the job. It is also possible to take individual classes without necessarily seeking a degree. Also, some companies may offer tuition assistance to employees who wish to further their education.

3. Start at the bottom and work up. Employers reward employees who are willing to prove themselves. This strategy is necessary for anyone going into most fields. It is far easier to climb the corporate ladder than to expect to get a top position right from the beginning, even with a degree but without real experience.

4. Know why you want to work in human resources and what you have to offer. This will help you to find the right opportunity and will also help you sell yourself to a potential employer. Identify transferable skills. Many of the skills needed for jobs in human resources are soft skills and are those used in many other fields. Identify which of these skills you already possess and find ways to hone those skills you lack.

5. Join professional organizations. Professional organizations like SHRM offer both networking opportunities and education. Some organizations also have job listings available to members.

6. Some companies prefer to promote from within. Those who are already employed and want to get into human resources should consider their own company first. The advantage to this strategy is that knowledge of the company, its culture and its goals can be just as valuable as having a relevant degree.

7. Consider a position at a small business. Small businesses like to hire candidates who are willing to wear a variety of hats. Be prepared to assist with payroll, accounting, bookkeeping or other such tasks. An added benefit of this strategy is well-rounded experience and credibility.

8. Consider starting as a recruiter. Some large companies have people who specialize in recruitment. These jobs may be easier to get without a degree because they typically deal with fewer legal issues than other functions within HR.

Though this article specifically addresses transitioning to the field of human resources, these strategies are equally effective for anyone seeking a new career. A healthy network can help a candidate find the right opportunity anywhere.

Education, whether formal or self directed increases a candidate’s market value, adds credibility and self-confidence and proves a willingness to learn. Self awareness helps candidates showcase their most valuable assets and professional organizations exist for nearly every profession.

What do you think, HR professionals? Any advice to share on how to make the transition into HR?

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