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A good degree (2:1 or above) is usually required for graduate schemes and graduate-level vacancies. This industry is open to graduates from any discipline, and while HR-related degrees may be relevant, they are not necessarily considered an advantage.
Employers look for a number of skills and attributes. These can be developed through work experience and will often include:
In recruitment, confidence and the ability to work under pressure and achieve set targets are particularly important.
Internships offering opportunities to gain work experience are not very common in this sector. Related degree courses tend to provide sandwich course placements within the industry.
It is possible to gain relevant work experience through temporary work in administrative positions, or by sending speculative applications to companies with large HR departments or to large recruitment consultancies.
Work experience in any commercial environment will provide valuable understanding of how businesses operate.
Many universities offer postgraduate degrees in areas such as human resource management and industrial relations, some of which are CIPD accredited. However, postgraduate study is not essential for entry to the sector.
CIPD and REC qualifications are highly regarded in the industry as an indication of professional expertise and will often be essential for senior positions. Some organisations may offer to fund some or all of the course fees for employees studying part time whilst working.
Entering the sector as an HR administrator within a company and rising through the department, with CIPD training, to manager level is a common route for graduate development. Alternatively, graduate HR schemes offer the opportunity for fast-track career development.
This is an industry where movement between companies is common, and often necessary for career progression. The skills required for HR and recruitment roles, particularly at senior level, can also be transferable to other industries, such as sales.
Although chartered status is not compulsory, memberships of the CIPD and REC are growing and can be a useful way to make contacts and learn about opportunities. Networking is an important way to further your career and making a good impression with your own and other employers can be effective.
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