New to HR? Starting From the Bottom

new to hr? Here's how to start from the bottom

You did it, you officially got your first job in human resources. Maybe it’s everything you wanted, maybe it’s just to get your foot in the door. No matter what, it’s an opportunity that many HR Pros are trying to achieve every day and should not be taken lightly.

If this is your first job in HR, you may have some office experience from your past, but this is an entirely new ballgame. Gaining the trust of the employees, your coworkers, the customers – all of these things will take time and patience. There are a lot of “firsts” when it comes to entering any profession, here are a few things you should make sure you take the time to complete within your first few weeks and months of entering a new position. All jobs aren’t the same, but getting to know the team you’ll be working with is a critical factor. Paperwork will always be around and you’ll never stop learning, so don’t think an opportunity won’t arise again. Take the time to break into the company, pace yourself, and get ready for the journey.

Get to Know Your Boss

Building a relationship with the person you’ll be directly reporting to early on is essential. You’ve already signed the job description, so you know your basic job’s duties, however sitting down that first week to go through it in detail will be helpful in the long run. For example, you understand that you’re in charge of background checks, but how often should you check in with your boss about them? What days does your boss normally have meetings out of the office and are they willing to support your dreams, i.e. joining your local SHRM chapter, attending conferences, schooling? What days are they expecting certain paperwork to be turned in? Look over your job description again and think hard about parts that may need a little more clarity.

Take On Every Opportunity

Your boss might give you “busy work” or find ways to test your knowledge on certain topics. Do not take it personally, just like you’re trying to get a feel for them, they are doing the same for you. Before I was hired, my boss never had an assistant. She would occasionally¬†reach out to others in the office to help, but no one was tasked or trained to do certain jobs except her. It took a little while for her to relinquish tasks to me, but at every challenge, I was willing to step up and figure it out.


You’re going to be learning a lot within the next month. You’re not only being exposed to HR duties you may have never held before, but also a brand new company. You as HR need to understand the policies they have in place and why they have them. You may learn better by reading this information, watching videos or actually doing some of the tasks. It is important that you understand how you learn best, and apply that everytime a new task is put in front of you.


In this position, you’ll possibly be learning about benefits, workers comp claims, insurance, employee engagement, retention, etc. It is important that you try to keep up with the laws and policies in your state. Webinars, conferences, day sessions, anything you can do that allows you to keep up with the changes in HR.

Bring Solutions, Not Just Questions

Having questions is good and you’re going to have a lot of them when you start a new career in HR. It is also important that your boss and team know that you’re willing to bring solutions to problems that may arise. They won’t all be used, but you’re getting your voice out there, which is the main purpose of speaking up. If you’re going to submit these solutions to the company, make sure you’ve thought out the entire process, not just the first step.

Starting any new career journey isn’t easy. There are a lot of lessons to learn, no matter if you’re brand new to this profession, or have years of experience but coming into a new company. As a newbie, you have to remember that the fight didn’t end just because you landed the job, now it’s time for you to prove why they were right to pick you for the position over the other candidates.

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Jazmine Wilkes

Proud millennial human resource leader focused on sharing HR insights, learnings and resources. Sharer of memes. Author of HRJazzy. Connect with her on LinkedIn.


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