How do I break into HR?

"A"
writes: I have recently progressed from working as an admin clerk, to becoming
a customer services and call centre adviser. I am studying LCCI Public
Relations Level 3. I am 17, and desperately want to succeed within HR. However
it seems that to study personnel you have to be working in a personnel
environment, and to work in personnel you have to have studied it! Is there any
way in – maybe as an HR clerk or assistant – at the stage I am now at? I would
really appreciate your help.

Margaret
Malpas, joint managing director, Malpas Flexible Learning writes:

It’s
really great hearing that you have such a clear career direction to pursue! What
I suggest is that you look at the CIPD programme called Certificate in
Personnel Practice. This is purpose designed for your situation, it takes about
seven months and gives an introduction to all key areas within
personnel. With this you would be very well qualified to apply for posts as a
personnel assistant.

Alternatively,
you could apply for jobs as a personnel assistant and see if they will sponsor
you to do the CPP, which is quite a common practice.

Good
luck with your career!

Peter
Wilford, consultant at Chiumento Consulting Group writes:

Getting into HR can be
difficult but there are a number of approaches to take:

Firstly, if you
are happy with your current organisation contact the HR Department for advice.
They may have vacancies, or give some pointers as to where to look in the local
area.

If this does not bring success,
use a combination of avenues for job seeking. This should include:

  1. Write to local
    employers, particularly those you see expanding.
  2. Contact your local college
    offering CIPD courses and ask them for advice on career opportunities and
    the names of local companies who might have suitable vacancies.
  3. Attend local CIPD meetings
    – a great way to network and to find out about local employers.
  4. Use your network to think
    about all the people you know who work in the area already. Ask their
    advice and any contacts that they might have. Remember you are not asking
    for a job but for advice and who to talk to!
  5. Look for clerical jobs in
    the local papers. Talk to employment agencies, locally, and national HR
    agencies. Perhaps help out with a local charity, within the HR field.

To
be serious about a career in HR a CIPD qualification is essential. Find out
about courses available before making the decision that HR is for you.

Talk
to your local college or contact the CIPD (web site: www.cipd.co.uk). Ask for a
list of colleges locally who provide CIPD courses.

Finally,
send your CV with a good covering letter to companies. Sell your achievements.
Employers will look at what you know about the reality of working
in HR and whether you have the commitment to do it. If you have done your
research well this will come across in your application and at interview.

For
tips on networking and writing
a CV
, see our Career
Guides
page

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