Published September 25, 2020
Is a Career Change to Human Resources a Good Move?
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Deciding to change careers can be a daunting choice. With the average Australian changing careers 5-7 times in their lifetime, it is worth considering how satisfied you are with your job, and if it is time for a different career path. If you have excellent communication skills, love working with people and are prepared to upskill, moving into human resources could be a perfect fit.
To help you make this transition into human resources as seamless as possible, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about how to get into this rewarding industry.
Why Transition into Human Resources?
The role of a Human Resources (HR) professional requires a broad range of soft skills that are incredibly versatile and can be seen in numerous other professions. As a result, there is a good chance that you may already have some of the necessary attributes to thrive in the role, including:
- Administrative skills
- Interpersonal skills
These skills are extremely reliant on a human touch, which ensures that the industry offers excellent job security that is unlikely to become automated.
As most businesses are placing a greater emphasis on human resources, an increasing number of jobs are being created within the industry. Opportunities to specialise in various roles of HR, including:
- Training and development
- Hiring specialists
- Payroll specialists
These are just a few of the specific areas within HR that you may consider. This industry also offers numerous positions of HR management and leadership, including HR Manager, HR Leader and HR Director roles, making it a fantastic choice for career progression!
HR Industry Outlook
A full-time position as a human resources professional earns an average salary of
Within a managerial position, a human resources manager earns an average full-time salary of
Skills of a HR Professional
Human resources departments are primarily involved in dealing with employee relations within the business. With such a significant focus on working with people, interpersonal and communication skills are essential to this role. Additionally, having administrative expertise and sound knowledge of the ins and outs of human resource duties are also pivotal within this position.
Human Resources Knowledge
Working in an HR position requires expertise across a range of areas within the business. This may include the recruitment process, understanding employment law, employee absentee procedures and conflict resolution. Having qualifications in human resources management is a great place to start to familiarise yourself with these topics.
The HR department will oversee many of the administrative tasks required within the business. Having proficiency in various administrative duties, including employee absences, payroll and recruiting advertisement is ideal, as these are all daily tasks associated with this role.
A HR professional needs to be able to communicate with other employees within the company effectively. Often involved in conflict resolution, pay disputes and training, the HR team must find the most productive way to communicate with staff to achieve the best outcome. It is pivotal that a HR professional is also an excellent listener in their role.
The role of an HR professional will often deal with employees during difficult situations or problems that require a resolution. As a result, this means the position requires excellent interpersonal skills, and an ability to develop a rapport with employees. Having employees feel that they can talk with the HR team about any issues that arise is a crucial attribute for working in human resources.
Various study options are available to consider, depending on what your career ambitions might be within this industry. Having a qualification behind you when changing careers can minimise much of the risk associated with leaving your current job.
- Working as a human resources professional or HR generalist can generally be achieved by obtaining a Diploma of Human Resources Management.
- A Certificate IV is a great introduction to a HR career if you are still unsure and want to explore more!
Many of these study options also offer online courses which could be useful for career changers who require studying on their schedule!
These qualifications can also lead to a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources, which may prove useful if you are interested in entering this industry at a mid-level HR job.
Moving into the HR Industry
Starting a new career path does not necessarily mean you need to start with an entry-level position. Relevant HR qualifications, previous experiences and a professional resume and cover letter will give you the best chance possible to begin a mid-level career position in human resources. Some handy tips to optimise your resume and cover letter for a transition into HR include:
Turn your previous experiences into an advantage:
Although you may have little experience in an HR position, a cover letter is a chance for you to utilise your previous jobs credentials to your advantage. As HR is a broad area that requires expertise across a range of topics, you may find that your last job had you perfecting skills that are highly desirable in the HR field.
Highlighting this experience in your previous jobs in your cover letter and how it can be useful in the HR position will make you a favourable candidate. Evaluating the job description and aligning your previous experience with the desired skill set in a cover letter will be incredibly advantageous in showcasing your skills to a recruiter.
Highlight your achievements:
A resume and cover letter are a great place to highlight general attributes that are desirable for just about any position. Skills that are generally sought after for most roles include:
- Having a strong attention to detail,
- Being organised
- Working well in a team environment
Include examples of times you have exhibited these skills in the past, in an effort to help convey to the recruiter what great qualities you would bring to this position!
Explain why you are making a career change into HR:
A change in careers is something that requires a great deal of consideration and effort. From leaving a previous position and upskilling to ensure you are qualified for the job, plenty of work has gone into transitioning into the HR industry. In your cover letter, ensure that you have effectively communicated what has drawn you to the HR industry and what you believe you can bring to the table. Let your passion for the role shine through because that’s what will set you apart.
Want an honest look into working in HR?
A career change into human resources can be an incredibly satisfying move. HR roles present a fantastic opportunity to work with a variety of people and ensure they have what they need to succeed in their own careers.
If you’re seriously considering making the jump, take an honest look into working in an HR department, including revealing common myths about the industry.
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