Human Resources

ICS Learn logo

How to Get a Job in HR

A career in HR can be extremely rewarding and is well suited to those who enjoy helping organisations thrive. It’s said that with the shift in the world of work, HR professionals are in high demand, and the skills in which they have bring huge value to organisations and their people.

In this blog, we explore how to get a job in HR, whether you’re at the beginning of your career, a career switcher or simply interested in the profession.

Rsz Shutterstock 502885909 (1)

1) Gain a qualification

Firstly, you don’t necessarily have to have a degree in HR to be employed in the field, however, gaining some kind of accredited qualification will increase your chances, as well as your confidence!

There are a few different qualifications you can consider, these include:

CIPD qualifications: The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) are the leading awarding body for HR and people development. They provide qualifications to those wishing to enter the field, from those who are just starting out, to those who already have existing industry experience. At Levels 3, 5 and 7, there’s also the opportunity to become a CIPD member and gain exclusive access to resources, industry advice, and events. 

SHRM qualifications: The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) provide qualifications for both those working in HR currently, and those wishing to pursue a career in the people profession. Available are the SHRM Certificated Professional (SHRM-CP) qualification and the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) qualification. 

HRCI qualifications: The Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) have been committed to developing both expertise and excellence within the industry for over 50 years. They provide qualifications including knowledge certificates, professional certificates, and strategic certificates. 

An undergraduate HR degree: There are many universities in the UK that provide undergraduate human resources degrees, and depending on where you live, you may also be elidable for free education.

Some of the top universities recognised for their HR degrees are The University of Edinburgh, The University of Southampton, and the University of Lancaster.  

Rsz Shutterstock 2144060339 (1)

2) Utilise your transferrable skills

Spending time and identifying your transferrable skills is incredibly valuable, especially when looking to land a job in HR. Transferrable skills are defined as those that can be transferred from one job to another, regardless of the organisation or industry.

The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030 Survey says that a good set of transferrable skills are invaluable to any employer, and that those hiring in HR are looking for candidates that are:

Empathetic: Someone who can sense other people’s emotions and in turn, can imagine what someone else may be feeling or thinking in that moment.

Patient: Patience is necessary to resolve any issues that may arise, as well as addressing root causes.

Problem solvers: HR professionals encounter challenges daily and must approach them with a solution-focused mindset. Understanding employee needs and resolving issues fairly is essential.

Active listeners: Beyond listening, active listening involves observing verbal and nonverbal cues, resulting in more accurate solutions and improved relationships between employers and employees.

Speak to your transferrable skills when you’re interviewing for roles and highlight them in your job applications and your CV as they pertain to the role you’re applying for. It’s important to show employers that you know these transferable skills are crucial of a HR professional, and most importantly, that these are skills that you posses.

Rsz Shutterstock 1059637526 (1)

3) Tailor your CV

Generally speaking, someone will create their CV and then use the same one years to come for a variety of different roles, only changing their cover letter along the way.

However, in the spirit of working smarter, tailoring your CV based on the HR role you are applying for and the skills that said role is looking for, is a much better use of your time and will only increase your chances of securing an interview. We know this may seem like extra work, but it is worth noting that tailoring your CV doesn’t need to be a lengthy process and that making only a few minor changes, will make a big difference.

Simply review the job description carefully, extract relevant skills, and customize your CV summary to align with the role's requirements. Then customise your work history so that your previous employment highlights the knowledge and skills relevant to the HR role you’re applying for – cutting out any irrelevant information here is key!

Rsz Shutterstock 2144787057 (1)

4) Gain work experience

This can seem challenging, or even impossible if you are already working full time. However, gaining some kind of experience in the HR industry shows great initiative, as well as providing you with a wealth of experience to talk about at your interviews.

If you do have a few spare hours out with your current day job, why not do some research online and seek HR volunteering opportunities. This would allow you to explore different industries and meet and learn from new people.

Why not also check out the CIPD website as, as the leading body in HR and L&D, they are passionate about providing time and expertise to those who need it most. There’s plenty of opportunities to get involved in volunteering, as well as their mentoring scheme and the CIPD Trust.

Aside from volunteering, a great way to gain HR experience if you are currently employed would be to contact the HR department of your existing company, allowing you to learn while doing your existing day job. Asking HR if you can shadow, volunteer, or get involved in any projects which could provide insight into HR is extremely valuable, and shows employers your willingness and enthusiasm to learn.

Finally, it’s important to remember that it can take time to enter a new industry, secure a role and gain relevant experience, so don’t be disheartened if it takes a few tries. In what is a highly competitive but rewarding field, HR is transforming as an industry and with this, the opportunity for people to shape, create and lead in this exciting field will only continue.


Speak to one of our expert advisers and become CIPD qualified today with a 100% online qualification.

Download Your Free CIPD Course Guide

Get information on our CIPD courses

Share this post