Advice for those looking to develop a career in HR, from those already working in HR!
I was interested to find out what top tips my HR network would have for those looking to develop a career in HR.
So, I asked them, and this is what they had to say!
There are some key themes such as resilience and dealing with the more difficult aspects of HR. When preparing for interviews, this kind of information is useful as it is likely that the questions will focus on some of these areas. If you are
completely new to HR, then you want to think about times that you have demonstrated resilience or dealt with difficult situations, whether this is in your academic life or from other non-HR work experience.
“Defo start with your WHY.
- Why do you want to get into HR?
- Who can help you to understand different approaches & perspectives within HR?
- Learn about business, how to read financial reports, industrial trends..
- Try / move through different roles within a HR Organization to expand your expertise and notice what gives you energy/joy. Then focus on it and magic starts concerning your happiness.
- Learn about human mind to understand you and others. Your life will become easier”
“Really understand what HR is. I know that sounds obvious but a lot of people I speak to who want to work in HR don’t think about the harder side of the job. Will you feel ok dismissing people? Will you be ok with making people redundant?
Will you be strong enough to deal with mental health and difficult terminal ill health issues? It’s a reality of the role that we probably don’t talk about enough. As someone earlier has said, resilience is a key part of being successful in HR. Also, develop your commercial business skills…HR is about way more than policies and payroll!”
“Take every opportunity you get. Even if it is volunteering in an HR role for some time…its experience that will help you take the next step. If you are planning to make a sideways move…don’t be afraid to take an HR entry-level position…if you want to jump high you need to bend your knees down….so going a level down to start off with might not the worst thing”
“If you’re looking for a career change into a role you haven’t held before I would say it is much much easier to move sideways within a business than it is to directly apply for an external role in HR. Choose a business that will allow you to gain necessary experience and has a culture/track record of growing their own. Being upfront about your goals as early as possible will help too.”
“Remember to keep your own Oxygen mask on. Look after your own needs and be relentless in your pursuit of personal development. Remember that it’s ‘Human’ resources- put people at the heart of the business agenda.”
“Being selfless is a good quality to hold if you decide to work in HR as you have to genuinely care about people. Historically HR may be viewed by some as being ruthless, however I have met some of the most kindest HR professionals over the years. You can still work in HR if you are a nice person, but you have to be prepared to make some incredibly tough decisions. The biggest piece of advice I could give is to join an organisation whereby growth and development is fostered, but be prepared to move into different roles so you can gain exposure to all specialist fields to develop your commercial acumen within HR.”
“Gain as much knowledge and experience as you can. Build your own personal resilience and the capabilities to stand up for what you believe, in the right way of course. This won’t be easy but hard work is rewarded.”
“It can be really difficult to switch – I’d worked in recruitment for many years and wanted to move into HR and did a full time MA in HRM, took a job within HR department but still doing recruitment and then got a chance within the samecompany as HR Manager in Aberdeen. Be ready to invest in your own development and be flexible.”
“You need to have a passion for people and a mind for business. In other words, be able to support your talent while staying aligned with the objectives of the organisation. Lastly, implement change and be ready to create a healthy workplace.”
“Being in an HR role is not easy and this pandemic has put extreme pressure on everyone in HR from reducing expenses, payroll costs, headcount, reduced hours etc.. So being able to have patience, endurance, ability to handle multiple projects/tasks, employee grievances vs leadership direction, have a clear understanding of the organisation’s goals, aligning these with the people agenda and be a spokesperson when something is not “fair or equitable”.”
“Recognise that working in HR is not for the faint-hearted! When done right, we are the synergy and moral compass of the organisation. If you want to be liked, struggle to make decisions, are not business savvy, don’t have a strong EQ and choose to remain silent on key, critical and impactful issues: HR is not for you!”
“If you don’t mind being thought of as the “fun Police’ at times, are able to lead by example, have a strong sense of fairness, don’t avoid difficult conversations, and can remain calm and professional when others allow emotions to dictate their behaviour, I’d say that was a good starting point!”