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Getting into HR- less obvious methods

I had the pleasure of having my very first interview for the post of HR Administrator today. I didn't get it although I felt the interview went well. I don't have any HR experience and I'm just back looking for work after a long lay-off for health related reasons so I'm amazed I even got to interview. But it's made me more determined to get into the field.

Like everyone else looking to enter the profession, I'm facing the problem of no direct experience so I'm looking at other means and I'd appreciate your take on them.

Firstly, there's a role going locally with as an administrator with a recruitment company- general admin, payroll, liaising with the local job centre. Would similar work for a year or two coupled with the CIPD level 3 help much in getting that elusive first HR admin position? 

If I can't get anything related and end up in a general office job that doesn't have direct relevance, would you recommend the CIPD level 3 anyway or is it a bit of a gamble? I say as I have a possible chance of a non-hr admin job through an agency until Christmas and wonder if I should just take it and start studying anyhow? The job is in walking distance from my home so I could use the money I'd spend on a car on paying for the certificate. 

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  • It's hard to say for certain as none of us can see the future unfortunately! Working within a recruitment company and dealing directly with payroll and potential job applicants through the job centre alongside your level 3 certainly couldn't hurt in getting into a 'more' HR role down the road however. I would say that sounds fairly HR Admin anyway?

    I would say in either case your level 3 would be helpful but it is really about getting that first step in the door.

    I started my HR career essentially doing 'HR for volunteers' in a charity - keeping track of training, helping managers with recruitment, retention and policies etc. I was then offered a first step into real HR as I am good with IT and we were launching a new HR database...

    For me, being in the right place at the right time was the most important factor as my qualification came later down the road. Keep your eyes open and I'm sure you'll find that role that will open the door for you.
  • In reply to Jacob Stuart:

    Thanks, Jacob. You've given me an idea. I already volunteer at Citizens Advice as an adviser- it's the employment cases that led me to consider HR in the first place. Maybe there'd be scope to help out the training manager.

    What you said about being available rings true. It's making me think that keeping to temping for the next wee while would build up my general admin experience but leave me more available should something in hr come up that's suitable and forget about the CIPD for now and just read lots around business and hr.

    That's given me some clarity as to how to position myself in the coming months. Much appreciated.