How to get into it
This is usually a first job that can act as a route into HR. Administrator roles tend to serve as entry opportunities for graduates or school leavers with previous administrative experience who want to get into HR.
There can be fierce competition for permanent positions in this area, so finding a route in with no experience can be difficult. Gaining six to 12 months’ experience can make a significant difference in finding a permanent position.
It can be helpful to look at the interim option to gain this experience. Historically, maternity cover has been a successful route into the marketplace.
Employers are more flexible on the interim side due to the reduced supply of interim candidates. Therefore, those with an HR degree but no commercial experience, or administrators with no HR experience, have a greater chance of success.
What you need to succeed
Usually a degree, but some employers will take on school leavers with suitable previous work experience.
An interest in HR is essential, along with the ability to learn fast and multi-task, as are strong organisational skills and discretion – you will often be dealing with highly sensitive information.
What is involved
You will provide administrative support to the HR department – ranging from involvement in the administration of advertising vacancies and selection, through to managing contract, offer, salary and bonus letters, and taking minutes.
You will often be the first point of contact for all HR enquiries, and will usually be expected to maintain the HR information systems.
Excellent for progression into mainstream HR roles. Good experience gained as an HR administrator will usually lead to HR assistant or officer/adviser positions. Equally, the administrative experience gained could lead to non-HR roles, such as personal assistant or office manager.