How to Find a Job in Human Resources—Fast
BY SUSAN M. HEATHFIELD Updated on March 31, 2020
Finding jobs in Human Resources presents a special challenge. Too many HR job searchers apply for the too few available jobs. Employers' expectations of professionalism from people who apply for HR jobs are sky high—with reason.
People who apply for Human Resources jobs should follow directions and receive stellar grades for their written application materials. People searching for these jobs should know the ropes when interviewing and following up with the employer.
People who want an HR job should conduct every aspect of their job search with insider knowledge and professionalism.
But, too many don’t. HR job searchers fail to follow directions; they apply for jobs for which they don’t qualify, and they act as if the well-researched, available body of job searcher advice does not apply to them.
The Human Resources Job Searcher—Employer Match
Many Human Resources employers seek a polished professional with experience in the HR position for which they are applying. HR job searchers, on the other hand, often seek a higher level position with experience only in a lower level position.
These HR job searchers are looking for the promotion and salary increase that is not available in their current job. The market is full of HR assistants who want to become HR generalists and HR generalists attempting to land jobs as HR managers.
Other HR job searchers are trying to transition into an HR job from another field. Depending on their education, prior jobs, and how easily they can position their experience as related to HR, some will succeed in finding an HR job.
Other HR job searchers want to move into the HR field because they want to work with people; often they have no experience and their degrees are in such subjects as sociology and psychology. In a growing trend, lawyers seek work in the HR field.
The reality in HR job searching is that almost everyone with the background and experience or the willingness to obtain them, the desire and will, and a professional job search, can eventually find an HR job. The HR job may not be at the level the job searcher desires and the pay may be below expectations. But, the degree of difficulty the HR job searcher experiences will depend on his or her willingness to do the right things—right.
Plan and Target Your Search for Human Resources Jobs
Before you start to look for Human Resources jobs, you need a plan. Just like employers make a plan for recruiting new employees, the Human Resources job searcher needs a plan for launching a search for HR jobs.
Sometimes, the HR job search is by choice. Sometimes, seeking HR jobs is the result of a layoff or downsizing. Whatever the cause, there are positive choices when you plan and target your search for Human Resources jobs.
Compress Your Job Search Timeline
Your search for Human Resources jobs will proceed most effectively and quickly if you apportion your time among the high-value activities you outlined in your plan for your HR job search.
Don’t waste your time on low-value activities such as spamming potential employers with applications for HR jobs for which you only marginally are qualified. Tweaking that generic resume, just one more time, adds little value to your search for HR jobs; target the resume when you have unearthed a real opportunity for an HR job.
Start, Develop or Maintain a Professional Network for Human Resources Jobs
Whether you are working on developing your network online or offline, here are all of the resources you need to become a professional networker.
And, for Human Resources jobs, your professional networking can speed up your job search. Where else are HR professionals more proficient than in developing relationships and dealing effectively and reciprocally with people?
Target Professional Online Networking Opportunities Through LinkedIn
LinkedIn has emerged as the premier online networking site for professionals. As LinkedIn’s power, reach and membership has expanded, the ways in which the individual, who is looking for Human Resources jobs, can use the services at LinkedIn, have increased exponentially.
At LinkedIn, you create a complete professional profile that uses keywords to identify your job interests. You attract a network of associates with whom you can develop mutually beneficial relationships.
You can research companies using their LinkedIn tools to look for Human Resources jobs. And, here is my advice to employers about how they can attract candidates for Human Resources jobs using LinkedIn.
Develop a Customized Resume to Apply for Human Resources Jobs
When an employer receives 100 - 200 resumes in response to a job posting, the resume that catches the employer's eye has to stand out from the crowd. In an earlier article, "Gone in Thirty Seconds: How to Review a Resume," the steps that an employer takes in resume review were reviewed. This sample resume also sets a standard that employers' need to seek and candidates for Human Resources jobs need to emulate.
Develop a Customizable Cover Letter to Apply for Human Resources Jobs
Employers seek the resume and resume cover letter that describes the candidate who will best fill their position. A thoughtful resume cover letter tells the employer that the candidate took the time to customize his or her application to fit the needs of the Human Resources job. A well-written, carefully typed, error-free resume cover letter will immediately set your application apart from the average application employers receive.
Take a look at an earlier article, "Why Resume Cover Letters Should Matter to Employers". Take a look at this resume cover letter to guide your efforts as you apply for Human Resources jobs.
Follow Directions and the "Rules" When Applying for Human Resources Jobs
Employers hate the actions of job searchers for a number of reasons. Human Resources job searchers apply indiscriminately for jobs that they lack the qualifications and experience to do. They present themselves unprofessionally and send standard applications and cover letters for every job.
Worst? The majority of job searchers lie on their resumes, or at least, blur the details in order to fool prospective employers. They fail to research the company and are unprepared for filling out applications and interviews.
People who seek HR jobs need to follow directions and follow the rules. The fact that they are seeking HR jobs makes it especially important that they get it right—because they are expected to know better. They are expected to know the process. Employers have a higher level of expectations from applicants for Human Resources jobs than they do for other positions.”
Interview and Land Your Human Resources Job
The job interview is a powerful factor in the employee selection process in most organizations. These interview tips tell you how an employer selects an applicant for an interview. They tell you what the employer seeks in an applicant for jobs in Human Resources.
Find recommended sample interview questions you may be asked in an interview by employers. This resource also includes information that pinpoints what an employer seeks in a candidate's answers to the job interview questions.
How to Transition to a Career and Job in Human Resources
People take widely divergent paths on their journey to working in Human Resource management. They enter HR management by luck and by design and they stay because they enjoy the work and the people. Common themes emerge when you listen to the stories people tell about their transition into HR management.
Readers have shared their stories about how they made the transition to HR and these are summarized as a part of the knowledge provided in this article.