How to Break Into Human Resources

5 Tips to Help Turn your HR Career into a Success

Finding a Career in Human Resources: from a Human Resources Resume to a HR Position in 5 Steps

At least once a week I’m approached by an eager student, recent grad, or general manager wondering how to get a job in Human Resources.  As most would tell you that work in this field, the true job description of human resources provides great challenges, but also great rewards. There are some days I want to pull my hair out and others I leave the office on cloud nine.

Even without the current unemployment  issues what’s important to remember about Human Resources employment is that the Human Resources market is saturated with candidates often looking for entry level human resources jobs and internships. Unlike sales, Human Resources is a non-income generating department. Experienced professionals have been forced back into the job market competing directly with inexperienced Human Resources assistants, or eager Bachelors or Masters degree candidates.

If you are contemplating a career in Human Resources, please consider the following to help you find a job in the HR field. These 5 tips will help you turn that position into a successful Human Resources career

1.Build Your Human Resources Resume

Having experience in the Human Resource field is extremely important in gaining credibility and also in landing a position in the industry.  Human Resources internships or volunteering are a great option.  Most professionals don’t just happen to fall into HR.

2. Join SHRM or other Professional Human Resources Organization

SHRM or the Society for Human Resource Management is a National Human Resource Professional Organization.  Join your local chapter to network with local professionals and also to learn about industry topics and subjects.  I recommend becoming a National SHRM member.  Their website at has valuable information, articles, toolkits, and free webinars members can take advantage of.

3. Educate Yourself About Human Resources

Experience is the most piece aspect of a Human Resources career, but educating yourself about the HR industry is also important. A great path to entry level Human Resources jobs is to attend local college classes, certifications, and seek out a mentor.  Blogs are also a great way to learn more about the Human Resource profession.  These provide you with an in the moment perspective.

4. The Human Resources Job Description: Be Prepared to Work

Contrary to popular opinion, a Human Resources career isn’t a spectator sport.  On a given day as a Human Resource Manager, I wear multiple hats–a recruiter, legal advisor, coach, trainer, and business partner.  It’s not uncommon for me to discuss the company’s income statement at a business strategy meeting and less than an hour later, speak directly to the company attorney about the legal interpretation surrounding Family Medical Leave Act, age discrimination in the workplace or the  and Americans with Disabilities Act 

5. Brand Yourself for Human Resources Positions

Use social media tools like LinkedIn, blogs, and Twitter to gain a competitive edge toward Human Resources positions.  Be sure to balance your online brand with more traditional face to face networking.  Both are very important parts of developing your brand and developing a name for yourself.  Blogs like Dan Schwabel‘s, Personal Branding Blog are a great resource to help you plan your personal marketing and branding plan.


Bottom line; sometimes it is not just about how to get a job in the human Resources filed, but how to make sure you can fill  that Human Recourses job description to the fullest possible  extent.  Then you onlyhave to be prepared for common interview questions  and you are all set!

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell is the founder of Workology, a digital resource that reaches more than a half million HR and workplace leaders each month and host of the Workology Podcast. Jessica lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, daughter, and an assortment of furry family members.

Reader Interactions


  1. Sandra Pocowatchit says

    I LOVED this blog! It is true one just doesn’t “fall” into the field of Human Resources. Being proactive and expressing interest to the manager or director is imperative.

    As and executive assistant, I spoke with the HR Director letting him know that I wanted to get into his department. I volunteered at job fairs, new hire orientations town halls, and community events. If I had not done these aforementioned things, the HR Director would not have offered me a position as Employment Coordinator six months later.

    I have taken the course to prepare for PHR Certification, and will take the test in December. Wish me luck!


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