When you look at all the experience and education many HR roles require, it’s easy to feel discouraged. If you’re patient and willing to learn on the job, though, you can grab the opportunity to land an entry level HR role.
If you don’t have a diploma or bachelor level qualification in HR as most job boards require, there are alternative routes into HR. You can boost your chances of securing a position in HR when you put these strategies to work:
Look for admin roles in HR
If you have excellent office skills, apply for HR admin roles. Having an administrative role in an HR department gives you three advantages:
• You’ll have a salary that enables you to save toward paying for an online or evening-hours diploma-level or bachelor’s course in HR.
• Your daily tasks will familiarise you with the terminology and procedures common to all HR functions.
• You’ll have the opportunity to build relationships with HR professionals, providing you with a network of references and support once you have the qualifications for a full-time HR role.
Seek out an Internship
Common in the US these are becoming more and more popular here in Australia. Internships are often a fantastic opportunity for prospective HR professionals whether they’re paid or unpaid. If you’re in a university or diploma program, your educational institution may provide Industry Based Learning; if not there’s no reason you can’t go it alone and find your own.
Like administrative positions, internships offer great potential for both networking and experience in the HR field. Additionally, you might be able to find a mentor at the organisation at which you intern. Having an industry professional who can mentor you in your early career can pay huge dividends later on both in knowledge and connections.
Volunteer at a Charity or Not-for-Profit in their HR team
If you’re like most Australians, you have causes you care for passionately. If you’re thinking about a career in HR, find out if there is an organisation that could use an extra volunteer on their HR team. You’ll gain experience and help out a great cause as well. In a volunteer role, you can practice your HR skills under the supervision of an experienced professional, providing you with valuable knowledge that you’ll need for the remainder of your HR career.
The Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) offers an alternative path to an entry level role in HR. If you’re looking at HR as a second career or you’ve trained in another field, such as psychology or business, or if you want to move from a non-HR role in your company to one in HR, the AHRI offers a certification course, the ‘Certificate IV in Human Resources’.
This certificate assures potential employers that you’ve mastered the minimum skills and knowledge to qualify you for an entry-level role. There are no pre-qualifications, and you can learn at your own speed – making it an attractive option for people who work full-time in another field.
Network like a ninja
Don’t limit your outreach to HR professionals in the organisation you work or volunteer for. Meet other HR professionals by networking in person (social distancing, of course!) or online via platforms such as LinkedIn, MeetUp, Slack and even Facebook Groups. If you do get a chance to meet an HR professional, ask them how they got their start in HR. Knowing HR professionals personally is likely to give you the edge during the recruitment process. Most often, people hire candidates they know.
Fake it ‘til you make it
Project confidence with language that showcases your achievements and expertise. Instead of pointing out that you lack experience, point out the skills you already possess that make you a standout candidate for the role.
Don’t just list your skills. Articulate how your skills and experience create value as a potential HR hire. Be authentic in your answers and don’t be afraid to show your personality, express yourself, and take the opportunity to shine.