Dedicated toward helping job-seekers take charge of their job search, build confidence, and advance their careers.

“Dear Christine,

I have two classes to go for my BA in HR Management.  I am trying to get into an HR position, but they all want experience?!”

What kind of HR position are you trying to get into? HR positions range quite a bit. If you are speaking of a generalist or management position, then yes. A Human Resources manager is a position that holds a lot of accountability on the organization’s behalf, so in most cases, it is critical for HR management candidates to have close to at least three to five years experience, if not more.

To get your foot in the door, I recommend looking at HR Assistant positions. This position typically lets folks “intern” in HR and learn the ropes of the business in many facets like Benefits and Compensation, Payroll, Workforce Management, Risk Management, Training Development… well, you get the point. Training is also under the HR umbrella. Trainers work closely with HR, especially during the new employee orientation period incorporating career development, workforce management, and performance management – all valuable areas of experience for an HR management position.

Also keep in mind that when applying for an HR position, the HR hiring managers and recruiters typically set the bar higher for HR candidates simply because they expect that you should conduct every aspect of your job search with ‘insider knowledge’ and professionalism. In other words, think about what you would expect from a “seasoned” job candidate YOU were considering. Unfortunately recruiters and hiring managers report that too many HR candidates don’t. Some HR job seekers fail to follow directions, they apply for jobs they are clearly not qualified for, and they act as if the well-researched, available body of job searcher advice does not apply to them. As a job candidate it is imperative for you to “cross your T’s and dot your I’s” when seeking HR employment.

You can also look into companies that promote internal growth. Get your feet wet working the front line, learn the structure and strategic mission of the organization, then apply for an entry level position within HR.  Chances are, when a position becomes available, employees get first dibs on submitting their application and credentials over an external candidate.   Also, if you have any management experience, then you most likely already have qualifying HR skills and competencies under your belt and can market yourself in that respect.

You can also check with local staffing firms who may have clients seeking candidates for entry-level HR positions. See if you have an HR-based staffing firm in your area.

Jobs aren’t “scarce” right now, they are just hidden. It would be in your best interest to join HR professional associations, like SHRM, and especially those within your local community. Right now organizations depend on internal referrals more than not to get quality job candidates. Get out there, network, and let people know who you are and that you’re looking. You’d be surprised!

Feel free to follow and tweet your questions to Christine at Brug’s Career Blog on Twitter!

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