Gaining your first role in HR may seem challenging and daunting, especially if you’re unsure exactly what sector or type of role you may be best suited to. We have put together a list of top tips based on several HR professionals’ tips on how they gained their first position in the sector.
At the beginning of your career, it can seem like there are several industries and sectors to choose from but no clear route or direction to take. Do some background research on what it’s like to be a part of a HR team and speak to people who work in a variety of industries to acquire an understanding of which sectors fit your personality and long-term goals. Culture fit is as important for an employee as it is the employer, as we often spend more time at work then we do at home, so you want to join an organisation whose values align with yours.
Gaining your first role out of university can be tough, you may be going for the same jobs as people with two or three years’ experience. Highlight your skills and don’t be afraid to ‘blow your own trumpet’ - any experience is good experience and should be demonstrated to a potential employer.
When applying for roles look at the job description and make sure your CV highlights how you match up. For example, if they are looking for someone with team experience highlight group projects you completed at university or how you worked in a team in a past retail or part time position.
It may seem obvious, but you need to talk to people that can help you get that dream job. Oakleaf host a variety of events throughout the year which are a great chance to connect with like-minded HR professionals and learn more about the industry. You never know who you might meet who could introduce you to someone who works in your dream industry.
Interviews may seem a scary prospect, especially if you’ve never had one before. Ensure you prepare effectively, research the company you are interviewing with in detail, look up your interviewers on LinkedIn, and check out the company’s latest blogs and social media posts so you can reference them if necessary. Read carefully through the job specification and prepare examples of your experience in relation to the role and give some thought to questions you can ask the interviewer. Ask about current HR projects and career development and progression in the role to get a real feel for the organisation and their growth plans. Be confident and never underestimate the power of a good handshake!
Don’t write opportunities off because they’re not exactly what you had in mind after you graduated. It’s best to be flexible at the beginning of your career - remain open minded and don’t discount specific roles or sectors. Be confident throughout your job search and stay motivated, all your hard work will pay off when you land your dream job!
If you would like any assistance with your job search send your CV over to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a confidential conversation around your experience and the HR market.