How to Become the Prime Candidate for Entry Level Human Resources Jobs

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Jan 15, 2019

Jan 15, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Congratulations! You've worked hard and studied hard. You're tired, relieved, and broke, but you've done it. You've graduated from college.

Now what?

It's time to get a job and start living in the real world. And unless you want to end up living with your parents like most millennials, you'll need to find a way to stand out.

The job market is super competitive these days, but we'll show you how to get offers for entry level human resources jobs in no time.

Where to Start

Let's start with the basics. While those with degrees in Human Resources are often a priority, there are other ways you could end up in HR.

There are three basic paths you could go down to become qualified for an HR position:

  • Get a college degree in HR
  • Work for several years in a company then transitions to HR
  • Get a degree in a related subject, such as psychology,  then obtain the necessary certificates related to the HR field

HR jobs can vary from business to business. Some HR departments report directly to the CEO, while others are part of the financial side of the company. 

Some companies task HR with basic administration work, while other employers regard them as an important part of the company. So before you start applying for jobs, do some research on what companies you'd like to work with. 

Get Experience

Regardless of where you start, you'll need experience. Don't think that just because you have a degree, you are guaranteed a job. HR jobs rely heavily on experience. 

Start with an internship. Internships are great because you get hands-on experience and build relationships with prospective employers. 

Be willing to work for very little compensation -- or even for free -- for companies who are willing to train you in the field. This experience will end up being invaluable as you start to apply for jobs. 

Structure Your Resume

Structure your resume to focus on HR skills and experience. If you've done anything HR related in the past, make sure it's highlighted on your resume. This includes any experience with recruiting, hiring, and payroll.

If an employer receives a high number of resumes for a human resource job, you'll need to create a resume that will stand out.

In addition to a great resume, spend some time on a thoughtful cover letter. A good cover letter will show the employer that a candidate is willing to put some extra time to customize their application. 

Be an HR Liaison

If you're currently working in a different department, but are wanting to break into HR, offer to be a liaison between the HR department and your current department. There are always projects where HR will need different perspectives from inside the business. 

It's often hard for HR to realize all the issues that are happening in other areas of the office building. 

Also, HR often works on additional projects. These projects include culture handbooks, employee engagement, and wellness programs. Look here, for more about different types of programs HR provides employees.

If you're willing to participate in HR programs, you'll get a broader idea of what they do and how you could fit into an HR position. 

Build Relationships

Human Resource employees like to help people succeed. It's part of their job to make sure those around them are successful. Take advantage of that mindset, and network, network, network. 

Reach out to professionals who can help you. Follow up with professors, business owners, and executives. Most professionals are willing to help when they can. 

Get involved in the HR community. Join a local chapter of a Human Resource Professional Associations and attend their meeting and events. Attending their conferences will help you understand key issues and terminology in the HR industry. 

Be a Business Person

When most people think of the HR department, they think of dealing with the office drama. When in reality, Human Resources in a business function. 

Be aware the HR is all about business analytics and systems capabilities and applying those to people. Most companies want strong business people who are experts in human resources.

If you're considering a career in HR because you're a good people person, that's not enough. While yes, it's important to have qualities that allow you to work well with people, you'll also need some quantitative and analytical skills as well. 

Some of the best HR managers actually had business experience first, then made the move to HR.

Manage Your Expectations

Just because you received a degree in HR doesn't make you qualified for a manager position in a top company. It makes your qualified for an entry-level job.

Be realistic on the type of job you can get with little to no experience. Your HR job at first my feel like a lot like administration work, because most likey that's what it will be. 

Be flexible and be willing to do the work. This is the foundation that your career will be built on. HR has a lot of moving pieces, so the more you know about all the parts, the better prepared you'll be to move up the ladder.

Be Professional

When applying and interviewing for HR jobs, it's important to be professional. All the typical rules should be followed such as:

  • Apply for jobs you're qualified for
  • Do research on the company you are applying with
  • Dress appropriately
  • Act professionally in the interview

As someone applying for an HR job, you may be the one doing the hiring one day. You should know the rules of how to land a job. Be sure you are following them yourself. 

Land Those Entry Level Human Resources Jobs

You've got this. If you put in the time and are prepared, you can get those offers for those entry level human resources jobs you're looking for. Just follow our advice and you're good to go. 

Rest be assured, no matter what job you're looking for, we have all the tips and tricks you'll need to build the career you're hoping for.