Transitioning to a Career in Human Resource Management

Tips for Transitioning into HR

Business woman finally transitioned to an HR role and is excited to share with her coworkers.
Jose Luis Pelaez Inc / Getty Images

What do lawyers, ministers, and psychologists have in common? People in those professions have all made the transition to Human Resources management and the field is full of professional who took wildly divergent paths to get there. Here are some common ways in which people transition into Human Resource management.

Making a Lateral Move into Human Resource Management

  • Start in an administrative role with a company and gradually take on more Human Resource management work over time.
  • Decide to work in Human Resource management and network with HR professionals in community organizations and the Society for Human Resource Management until an opportunity appears.
  • While working in another role in the company, express ​the desire to move to Human Resource management and apply when an opening becomes available.
  • Work in a component of Human Resource management, like training or recruiting, grow to like the field and decide to learn about the whole HR role.
  • Decide to try the field of Human Resource management and take some classes or earn a PHR to prepare to enter the field.
  • Major in sociology or psychology without a career path in mind and find a good fit with Human Resource management.
  • Work in a Human Resource management internship.
  • Start in sales. Sales is equivalent to recruiting; if you can pick up the phone, call someone and make an effective pitch, then you can be a recruiter.

    Transitioning into Human Resource Management

    Here are some tips to enhance your chances of moving into Human Resource management:

    • Review your prior employment, education and experiences. Tailor your resume and cover letters to highlight the components that qualify you for a career in Human Resource management. Don't expect your prospective employer to connect the dots as the employer won't take the time. Draw the connections to earn yourself an interview where you can further elaborate on your skills and interests for the HR job opening.
    • Network with people who post HR jobs and influence decisions about who is hired for a position in Human Resource management. In addition to social media networks such as LinkedIn and Twitter, try the many Human Resources communities that exist at locations such as job boards, SHRM, WorldatWork, and Workforce magazine.
    • Make your workplace aware that you are interested in an HR role and ask how you can prepare to apply for an HR opening.
    • Consider a position with small business as they're likely to hire candidates who can shoulder a variety of jobs. You might be able to sell your experience in IT,  accounting or bookkeeping, for instance, and take on those tasks in addition to HR.
    • Take an inventory of your "soft skills" that can easily be transferred to Human Resource management including interpersonal and communication skills, dealing with confidential information and conflict resolution skills.
    • Work with a temp agency to gain some experience in recruitment, then apply for an HR or corporate recruiter job that comes through the temp agency.