Human Resources

Human resource management, sometimes known as personnel management, involves supporting and effectively managing the people who work for an organisation. The role of human resources (HR) is to make sure the organisation creates policies and procedures that are in line with employment law. HR may also be involved in supporting an organisation in the following areas:

  • Workforce planning and job analysis
  • Recruitment and selection
  • Performance management
  • Employee relations
  • Pay and reward

HR is a key business function with professionals making decisions and choices that enable organisations to operate effectively, competitively and profitably. It is important to be aware that the role of HR focuses more on developing business strategy than looking after the welfare of staff members. Decisions on policies and procedure that the HR team design and implement are not always popular with staff. Therefore it is important to have good communication, problem solving and negotiation skills for this career.

Getting into the role

There are various entry routes into HR work. Typical entry is either via an established graduate scheme, combining work experience with a Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) recognised qualification or as a junior HR administrator or officer. Employers are looking for candidates with excellent communication and influencing skills who work well under pressure and can manage others effectively.

  • Try to get as much relevant work experience as possible before making your graduate job applications. Use CareerConnect to search for relevant internships and placements.
  • Volunteering to do specific projects within an organisation such as reviewing absence or induction policies may also be a good way of gaining experience. See our advice on volunteering to help you.
  • STEP is a national vacation programme offering 8 weeks experience in a small company in the UK completing a live project for the organisation. It offers the opportunity to gain real responsibility and a good understanding of a career
  • Develop your commercial awareness and business understanding. Read industry specific journals such as People Management. Back issues of this journal are available in the Careers Library.
  • Think about becoming involved in societies - organising events or managing teams will also demonstrate relevant skills to employers.

Vacancy Sources