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First HR role - 6 month contract


I am looking for my first role in HR as I am coming from a finance background which I’ve worked in for about 4 years now since graduating. 
I have been offered a 6 month contract as a HR Administrator but am nervous about leaving a permanent role for a FTC for a short period of time and in a new industry. 

From your experience, is 6 months HR experience enough experience to outweigh the risks of a temporary role, in order to pursue this career path and get more HR roles after, or is it worth waiting for another opportunity for a longer time period or permanent role please?

I would be grateful for any advice! 

  • I would say it depends how long you have been looking for a HR role and how badly you want to get into HR. 6-month contracts can run longer or lead to other things. It's a risk but as long as this is really what you want to do, and you can afford a gap at end of it then might be break into the industry you need.
  • In reply to Keith:

    Thank you Keith. I am just under 2 months into the job search and about 30 applications in. I would say about two thirds have been rejections for lack of skills/experience and the remainder not hearing back from. So I don’t know whether this is early into the process and I should keep looking but risk not getting another opportunity soon, or take this one?
  • Not long after I started out in HR, I moved areas without a job to go too so was applying for anything HR related even if not exactly what I wanted/ had the right experience for - i.e a Part time HR Administrator role including finance when my previous experience was full time HR Assistant. Whilst I didn't get the advertised role, I did get offered a 3 month contract for a HR Assistant role and 17 years later I am still in local government HR (although different Council). Most of my colleagues had started on FTC and been made permanent as roles came up.
    Obviously it is very much an unknown with FTC in different organisations, and I couldn't afford to take the risk now but it does show that it can be worthwhile.
  • In reply to Nikita:

    Lifes a gamble - given how hard it is for many people to get their first HR job i would be tempted to gamble on taking this one
  • Hi Nikita, I gave up a full time role in order to accept my first HR admin 6 month FTC as I’d found it incredibly difficult to get my foot in the door without experience. I actually had another full time offer in hand too, but it was in recruitment admin and I wanted to get experience in generalist HR. So I went for the HR admin FTC - that was 8 years ago - I’ve never looked back and I’m now a Senior HR Manager.

    A few things you might want to consider. How likely it is that the FTC might become perm (I.e is it a big company where other internal roles may become available, is the team expanding, why is the role fixed term to begin with?). How many other HR vacancies you’ve seen in your area that may have accepted someone with 6 months experience? Maybe talk to some recruiters to see if they think their clients would be more likely to interview you with 6 months experience on your cv. Having an HR role on your cv, however short, may mean the difference between your cv being shortlisted versus not.

    There is always of course an element of risk with a move like this, so you need to consider this against your personal situation.

    Good luck!

  • Some companies use the 6 months to cover excess workload. If you take it, work your socks off and show that you can add value. I have seen lots of people either get kept on or made permanent by showing how productive they can be. Be sure to deliver your work to the highest standard and on time. Also show you are keen to be involved. This goes a long way. If you want to get into HR then go for it.
  • In reply to Graham:

    Often FTCs are just another sort of probationary period
    As others have said I would focus on establishing what they are really about but I would go for it.
    I do not know your circumstances but one of my pet hates is risk averse HR people.
    Managing people is about managing risk.
  • Hi Nikita,

    I would say that a fixed term contract can definitely lead to a full time position. I started my HR career with no experience last year in September 2020. My contract was supposed to be coming to an end in September 2021 but I was offered a full time position as an HR Administrator in April 2020. As others have mentioned, it can be in a sense like a prolonged probationary period and if they see that you are putting in the work and do your role well, they may extend it. It really depends but if you have been working in Finance for 4 years, that shows that you definitely have transferable skills and skills that will be beneficial in the HR industry that some of your potential colleagues may not even have. It is a risk to take but you have to evaluate how much you want to transition into this role and whether its the right move for you.

    I would also say that you can learn a lot in six months so I think with your background in finance and this HR experience you would definitely be able to find another role in the HR industry.

    Hope this helps