Everything you need to know about starting a career in Human Resources

Katie Harrison
Campaigns Executive

Every company, no matter how big or small, depends on one department to keep their internal structure running smoothly: Human Resources.

From managing staff benefits – including social events, healthcare, company pensions and charity engagement -  to arranging regular training and development opportunities, the HR team is often heavily involved in every aspect of a company’s culture.

Interested? Read on to find out more…




What does an HR job look like?

From company to company, HR job titles can vary massively.

Here are just a few examples of some popular entry-level positions:

  • HR Administrator/Advisor
  • Resourcing & Development Administrator
  • Operations Administrator/Assistant
  • Employee Relations Assistant
  • Internal Communications Officer
  • Employee Engagement Officer


Whilst the titles may differ, you will find several core responsibilities that make up an essential part of any HR professional’s daily tasks: 





How much would I be paid?

Although pay is affected highly by location, the average UK salary for an entry-level role such as an HR Assistant ranges from £15,535 - £26,103, with an average of £19,961. In London, this average rises to £23,516.


What would a career in HR look like?

There are two main career paths in the Human Resources sector: Generalist and Specialist.

Specialist HR personnel focus on a single area of expertise, such as recruiting or training, whereas a Generalist will handle a number of areas and tasks simultaneously.

Smaller companies will have maybe one or two Generalists overseeing all HR duties, whilst a larger company will hire several Specialists devoted to particular areas and services.

Whilst this is an important career choice to consider, you will have plenty of time to explore all possibilities in your first HR role, where you can discover which part of the industry appeals to you the most.


What do I need to apply?

Whilst there are no specific degree requirements for most HR roles, being able to demonstrate the following skillset in your CV and/or Cover Letter will stand you in good stead when applying:

  • Communication skills – whether you’re conducting interviews or leading training programmes, being able to communicate clearly and efficiently with team members on all levels of the company will be crucial
  • Organisation skills – you need to be the king or queen of multi-tasking, as you’ll be required to manage a vast range of tasks across the day, often at the same time
  • The ability to prioritise – since your to-do list will have no end in sight, it’s essential that you can assess what needs the most attention and ensure that all tasks are completed by their deadline
  • Confidence and compassion – as the internal “face” of the company, you are the first port of call for any staff with questions, queries or concerns. Being relatable, but also professional, is very important for any HR professional
  • A genuine interest in people – whilst a lot of the tasks may be of an administrative or operational nature, ultimately Human Resources is about dealing with people and ensuring they are safe, happy and healthy in the workplace.



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