The human resource function is considered the backbone of any organization, and for all the right reasons. From shaping company culture, to managing talent, and driving employee engagement, professionals in the HR department strive everyday to ensure employees stay motivated and invested in the long-term success of a company. 

What is Human Resources?

Whether you’re a recent graduate or looking to pivot into HR, landing your first entry-level HR job is a crucial step. By combining education, hands-on experience, and professional development, you can position yourself as a promising candidate, ready to contribute to the company’s success from day one. In this blogpost, Team CollegEnroll has compiled some key strategies to help you kickstart your career in HR, along with some popular job options for you to explore. Let’s get started.

An integral department of any company, the HR department mainly focuses on managing people and handling tasks like recruitment, hiring, and onboarding of new employees. HR professionals ensure the right talent is brought in and set up for success. This department also manages employee benefits, payroll, and compliance with labor laws, keeping the workplace fair and legally sound. 

In addition to this, HR addresses employee relations, resolving conflicts and maintaining a positive work environment. They are responsible for training and development programs to enhance skills and career growth. By fostering a supportive and efficient workplace, HR helps drive the overall success of the organization.

Let’s move on to look at some quick strategies of earning an entry-level position in HR.

How Do You Land an Entry-Level HR Job

Landing an entry-level job in HR isn’t tough, if you follow some smart strategies to position yourself correctly to potential employers. Let’s take a look at some of these strategies.
Landing an entry-level job in HR isn’t tough, if you follow some smart strategies to position yourself correctly to potential employers. Let’s take a look at some of these strategies.

Pursue a Degree in HR or Related Field

The first and the smartest way in entering the field of HR is to get a degree in human resources. Pursuing an associate or a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or psychology can help you build a crucial foundation in HR principles and practices. Your education could help you gain the theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed to understand various HR functions like recruitment, employee relations, and compliance. A degree lets potential employers know that you have a formal education in the field, making you a more competitive candidate for entry-level positions.

Get an HR Certification

Obtaining certifications in human resource management could help enhance your credentials. Certifications like SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resource Management – Certified Professional) or PHR (Professional in Human Resources) are a wonderful way to showcase your expertise and commitment to the HR field, as they require passing rigorous exams that test your knowledge and skills. Having these certifications on your resume shows potential employers that you are dedicated to maintaining high professional standards, thereby giving you an edge over your competition.

Build Strong Communication Skills

Another sure-shot way to start a successful career in HR is to work on your written and verbal communication. Effective communication is important for various HR tasks, including interacting with employees, resolving conflict, and conducting interviews. By honing your communication skills, you build the skill to convey information clearly, listen actively, and address employee concerns effectively – all of which are vital for maintaining a positive work environment.

Build a Professional Network

Having strong connections in HR may help your career in more ways than you can imagine. As a young professional, you must consider joining various HR groups and associations. These organizations offer networking events, workshops, and conferences where you can connect with and learn from industry professionals. A professional network helps you gain insights into the field, get job leads, and help build valuable relationships that can support your career growth.

Keep Up With HR Software

With recent technological advancement, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with the latest HR Information Systems (HRIS), along with any other software that may be relevant to the modern HR landscape. If you’re proficient in HR technology, you would know how to streamline HR processes like payroll, benefits administration, and employee data management. By learning these tools, you would be enhancing your technical skills to become a more competitive candidate in the job market.

Enhance Your Resume and Cover Letter

Before you apply for a job in HR, make sure your resume highlights your education, internships, certifications, and skills relevant to your profession. Your resume should clearly showcase your qualifications and experience, while your cover letter should include a compelling narrative about your passion for HR and your understanding of the role. Tailoring these documents as per each job application demonstrates your enthusiasm and suitability for the job role.

Prepare for HR-Specific Interviews

Most entry-level jobs may require you to turn up for a face-to-face interview, for the employer to get a better understanding of your suitability to the role. It’s only wise that you research common HR interview questions and practice your responses, so that you can perform confidently during your interview. You may also be required to discuss HR scenarios and present your problem-solving approach to handle various scenarios confidentiality. Practicing these responses would ensure you can articulate your experiences and skills effectively, demonstrating to employers that you are prepared for the challenges of an HR role.

Stay Updated on HR Trends

Lastly, it’s important to read HR blogs, articles, and relevant books to stay informed about the latest trends and best practices in the field. Staying updated on HR trends can help you perform well during interviews and on the job, as you would bring fresh ideas and insights to your organization.

Now that you have a fair understanding of the strategies that can help you gain an entry-level position in HR, let’s look at some popular job options available for you, if you’re just starting out as a human resources professional.

Popular Entry-Level HR Jobs

Popular entry-level HR jobs

HR Assistant

HR assistants play a significant role in providing administrative support to the HR department. These professionals handle tasks such as filing documents, entering data into HR systems, and scheduling interviews. In addition to this, they assist in coordinating employee onboarding, maintaining employee records, and ensuring compliance with HR policies and procedures. On average, a human resources assistant earns around $46,884 every year.

Recruitment Coordinator

If you choose to be a recruitment coordinator, you would be required to support the recruitment process by posting job advertisements, screening resumes, and scheduling interviews. You would also communicate with candidates and hiring managers to ensure a smooth recruitment experience. Additionally, you would be assisting with background checks and the preparation of job offer letters. In this role, you can expect to earn anywhere between $49,337 and $63,065 every year.

HR Coordinator

As an HR coordinator, you would get to manage various HR functions, including benefits administration, employee relations, and compliance. You’ll also handle employee inquiries, coordinate HR projects, and support the implementation of HR initiatives. Assisting with the preparation of HR reports and maintaining HR databases may also be part of your job role. As per recent data, the average annual salary of an HR coordinator is anywhere between $48,286 and $59,489.

Talent Acquisition Assistant

Talent acquisition assistants play an important role in the smooth functioning of the HR department. Their prime responsibility is to support the talent acquisition team by managing job postings, scheduling interviews, and communicating with candidates. They also assist in organizing job fairs and career events, and help with the onboarding process for new hires. In some companies, they also assist in maintaining accurate records of candidate information and recruitment metrics. If recent numbers are to be believed, the average annual pay of a talent acquisition assistant is about $57,341 per year. 

Payroll Specialist

Another interesting entry-level HR job is that of a payroll specialist. Payroll specialists ensure that employees are paid accurately and on time. These professionals process payroll, manage deductions, and handle payroll-related inquiries. Additionally, they ensure compliance with federal and state payroll regulations and help prepare payroll reports. The average salary of a payroll specialist salary is about $64,098 and the typical range falls anywhere between $57,058 and $71,853.

Employee Relations Assistant

Managing employee relations is an integral part of the HR department and this is handled by employee relations assistants in most companies. As an employee relations assistant, you would support the management of employee relations issues by investigating employee complaints, assisting in conflict resolution, and ensuring compliance with company policies. You would also help develop and implement employee engagement programs. If you choose to be an employee relations assistant, you could potentially earn about $67,712 every year, 

In the next section, we’ll delve deeper to understand the scope of growth with an entry-level HR position and what you could do to advance your career in human resources.

An entry-level HR position can help you build a strong foundation for career growth within the field. Starting as an HR assistant or coordinator, you gain valuable experience in various HR functions. With dedication and performance, there’s scope to advance to roles like HR Specialist or HR Generalist. 

Once you have some years of experience under your belt, you can further your career in HR by  pursuing continuous development plans like an advanced degree like a master’s in HR or obtaining advanced certifications in HR. This demonstrates your commitment to the field and can open doors to higher-level positions.

Gaining theoretical knowledge isn’t enough. You also need to work on building a strong professional network for career growth. Consider attending HR conferences, joining professional associations, and seeking mentorship from experienced HR professionals. These connections offer guidance, support, and various opportunities for career advancement.

Another sure-shot way of ensuring you advance in your career is to keep abreast with HR trends and best practices. Make it a habit to regularly read HR literature, participate in webinars, and engage in continuous learning. This knowledge will not only keep you competitive in your current job role, but also prepares you for leadership roles like HR Manager or HR Director, where you can influence organizational strategy and contribute to overall business success.

A combination of education, practical experience, and professional development is essential for you to land an entry-level HR job. From earning a degree in human resources, or a related field, to investing your time in HR certifications, there are a number of ways in which you could gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in HR and draft a compelling resume for potential employers. Remember, the field of human resources is constantly evolving, and being proactive in learning and adapting to new trends can open doors to exciting opportunities in your HR career.

Is a career in HR worth it?

A career in HR is worth it for many reasons. It offers diverse opportunities, from recruitment and employee relations to benefits administration and training. HR professionals play a crucial role in shaping company culture and ensuring a positive work environment. Providing job stability, competitive salaries, and opportunities for advancement is another reason why many prefer to pursue a career in HR. If you enjoy working with people, solving problems, and contributing to a company’s strategic goals, a career in HR can be highly rewarding and fulfilling.

How do you begin a career in HR?

To begin a career in HR, consider earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field. You could also pursue HR certifications to enhance your credentials. Next, work on building strong communication and organizational skills which are essential for HR roles. It’s also vital that you familiarize yourself with HR software and tools, and tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight your education, internships, and relevant skills. As a final step, don’t forget to increase your professional network by joining HR associations and attending industry events. This combination of education, experience, and networking will position you for success in an entry-level HR role.