I really want to break into the Human Resources industry but I am currently unemployed, is there anything you suggest I do while unemployed, during my career search that would make me a more attractive candidate for a position?
This question from one of my readers really made me feel for her. Here below, I’ve built on some of the tips I shared with her at the time. The should help you build a more attractive HR profile.
Maintain or grow your technical HR skills
1 – Read blogs, magazines and books, attend free webinars etc. Although a bit old, my post How do I learn C&B for free ? will give you some ideas which you can apply to any sort of HR specialisation you want to embark on.
2 – Why not start an HR certification ? Besides the obvious positive impact on the quality of your profile, especially if you are a beginner or still in the first third of your career, the alumni network is a good side effect by the way….
Network with other HR professionals
3 – Use LinkedIn and other relevant professional networking sites online to increase your exposure. Join HR Groups in your country, region, or specialisation.The aim is to raise your visibility, so the first step is to have a great LinkedIn profile !
Post and participate to discussions, but don’t pester group members with “I am looking for a job, any job, anywhere, at any salary, don’t care about the job content, just give me a job pleeeeeezzzzz !”. This is spam and will only get you negative feedback – and for sure, it will never get you a job in HR.
4 – “In Real Life”, attend events at your local Chamber of Commerce or any other relevant group and speak to people who are attending the same meeting.
A good way to proceed is to set yourself an objective to speak to 3 or 5 new people at each event and give them your business card (you need to have one, even if you’re unemployed).
Remember to give first, so make it about helping them and asking them questions about themselves first. Don’t go on and on about you and your needs immediately… You have to practice your “elevator speech” to make it clear what you are looking for without sounding sad or demanding.
Practice useful skills
5 – Enrol in Toastmasters to improve your speaking skills. This will be helpful in any career, and will also help you build confidence for your interviews.
6 – Maybe start a blog. Writing makes you organise your thoughts and what you’ve learned so that you can structure it in a coherent way. It gives you a skill which will be useful later in your HR career, as you will have to write some reports, send emails on touchy subjects, and craft change communication plans once you make your break into a job.
Maintaining a blog is also a great way of proving you can stick to a commitment, because it is a big time and commitment requirement… Trust me, I’ve been there with this blog !
If you’re unsure whether writing is for you, then give it a shot by writing a single article and have it published on someone else’s blog. It’s called guest posting and it’s a nice way of testing out the waters without having to commit (yet).
The other advantage of guest posting is that you can use that article and circle back to your credibility, to make your profile more attractive for your dream HR job :
- you can share the post on your own social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google+
- you can also improve your LinkedIn profile with it : add a link to the post to the “Publications” section of your profile, and/or upload a PDF version of the article to your summary.
Where to guest post ? You could start by checking the blogs that you read on a regular basis, especially if they’re targeted at the country of place where you want to work. You could also check New to HR, Women of HR , or even express your interest to post here on Compensation Insider if you are in the Total Rewards space.
7 – As a future HR leader, why don’t you volunteer at a group targeting job seekers and help them review their resume, prepare for interviews etc ….
I did that some years ago while I was in-between jobs and it really helped me put things into perspective about my own search, while at the same time providing much needed support to others.
It will help you practice interacting with people from different backgrounds, with different personalities, and who are sometimes completely resistant to your advice or seem unable to apply it. Keeping your patience, adapting your speech to the person who is in front of you and resisting frustration are all skills that will prove invaluable for your future HR career.
8 – Finally, there’s a great book that I read when I decided to leave the Corporate world and set up my own business. Business Model You : a one-page method for reinventing your career is really worth the time investment as it will help you explain who you are, what you bring and what you want in a very clear way. These skills are not useful only to people who want to pivot their career, but also to job seekers. Highly recommended !
On to you now ! Do you have any tips that you could share with fellow readers who are looking for jobs in HR ? Please share them in the comments section !
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