How to break into first HR role?

Hi Everyone

Hope you are all well.

I have recently enrolled on a CIPD level 3 in human resource practice with ICS learn. I decided to study this course after leaving my scientific career last month. I graduated with a Bsc(Hon) Pharmaceutical & cosmetic science degree 5 years ago and worked in pharma labs . I have been thinking of a career change for a while and finally made the first step forward with studying this course.

Now I am looking to find some experience within the HR industry, I have applied for a few roles within the West Midlands but haven't had any response, I have also emailed some companies for voluntary work but again nothing. I've registered with specialist HR recruitment agencies, but they require you to have at least 6 months experience within an admin role. I believe I have brilliant transferable skills as my previous roles involved me being in the office environment (admin duties, report writing, problem solving etc..) as well as practical work. I have come from a strict working background and  think I can push myself and do really well. I did however take a two year gap from the science industry which involved a lot of admin work and customer service. Can anyone give any advice on how to secure my first role? Any further tips?


  • HI Sonam
    Welcome. It can be hard getting that first job in HR and it really is just a matter of perseverance and making sure your CV is tailored to each job you apply for . This is a question that is asked regularly on here so if you do a search you should find some other threads with advice on them
  • Meg

    | 328 Posts


    9 Jul, 2018 15:35

    It can be really difficult. From my own experience, many years ago, I found half of the vacancies I approached didn't want me because I'd "be bored" starting at a junior level, and the other half didn't want me because I had no experience! I was quite happy to start from scratch despite several years in the workplace, and was content with a drop in salary and lots of filing and admin but it was a little soul destroying.
    Ultimately I managed to wangle an interview with a large hospitality chain and the HR Manager took pity on me and gave me the opportunity to join them on a FTC. That led to a permanent job offer and although I didn't take it, it gave me the experience I needed to be able to progress to my next role.
    I think all you can do is keep applying and keep your sense of humour about it all - one day you'll get there!
  • In reply to Meg:

    Thank you for your advice.
  • In reply to Tracey:

    Thank you, I have looked at my CV and have made a few adjustments. I will keep on going.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 8337 Posts

    Community Manager

    10 Jul, 2018 10:26

    Welcome to the Community, Sonam.
  • Hello,

    It can be hard getting that first role in HR. Looking back I was quite fortunate to secure one of the few HR placements locally as part of my bachelors degree, which then gave me 1 years experience. Have you looked for any internships as I think for temporary roles they may be more willing to employ someone with less experience or even voluntary work? If you contact charities they may be able to offer some voluntary work within their HR department - I did this for a while alongside my MSc.

    Good luck with your job search!

  • Hi Sonam,
    I am in the same boat as you, lots of transferable skills and have a strong business management background. I've decided to progress with the company I'm already working for and also networking where possible with people in the HR world. I would recommend attending as many networking events as possible as this may open some doors.

    Good luck

  • Hi Sonam,
    I am currently in the same position as yourself.
    I approached my Human Resource department and explained to them that i had funded and completed by CHRP Level 3 and wanted to move into a HR role.
    After 6 months of pursuing them i was enrolled onto our organisation first HR mentor programme and this has provided me with access to a world of knowledge (other than what you can access yourself e.g using the CIPD website, reading etc)
    Also within my current role i am always proactively looking at what i can do or get access to to keep my knowledge up to date and provide evidence to show that i am transferring the desired skills of a HR professional e.g. reading company policies and providing support/guidance to fellow colleagues/management or analysing data such as retention etc.
    Organisations are currently offering apprenticeships due to the changes so keep an eye open for these!
    Good Luck.
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Thank you Steve.
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