The role of HR administrator is normally seen as either a first job for a graduate, or a route into HR for someone with general office experience.
There is often fierce competition for this kind of role, so gaining six to 12 months’ relevant experience will help you to stand out from the crowd.
Temporary roles and maternity cover often prove popular routes into HR and act as a great way to build experience.
If you are looking for your first job, it is important to demonstrate strong people skills. An HR-related degree has its obvious benefits, as does a basic grasp of employment law and the issues surrounding HR departments.
What it involves
All generalist HR roles involve offering support to the organisation’s managers and staff, and you will be expected to provide professional advice on a range of HR issues. Employees who prove themselves capable and willing will often find they are quickly given more responsibility, and their level of involvement should increase with time.
Experience is the key to career progression through generalist roles, although the knowledge you gain in different areas of HR will always be of benefit if you are hoping to move into a more specialist area of HR, such as training, compensation and benefits, or recruitment.
While these positions may act as the perfect ‘stepping stone’ to specialist roles in HR, there is also a fulfilling career to be had if you remain a generalist. You may also draw inspiration from the sheer variety of day-to-day work on offer.