Almost 50% of employers offer roles in human resources (HR); discover what skills and qualifications you'll need to land your dream role...

Do I need a relevant degree?

You don't need a relevant degree for a job in recruitment and HR. However, employers usually seek graduates who have at least a 2:1 and, in some cases, 300+ UCAS points. You'll also probably need to take a professional course by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) at some point in your career.

Most employers in the recruitment and HR sector will consider graduates of any discipline. Despite this, some employers do prefer candidates to have degrees in certain subjects, such as:

  • business;
  • economics;
  • finance;
  • HR;
  • management;
  • psychology.

Applying to a recruitment consultancy that specialises in an industry related to what you've studied may also increase your chances of securing a job.

An alternative route to a degree is the work-based Advanced Apprenticeship in Recruitment (Level 3). Those with some experience in the sector could consider the Higher Apprenticeship in Recruitment (Level 4).

For more information on entry requirements and relevant qualifications, see job profiles.

What skills do employers want?

You will need to show:

  • ambition, confidence and the courage to challenge;
  • an entrepreneurial approach;
  • curiosity;
  • drive;
  • emotional intelligence;
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills;
  • organisational skills and the ability to multitask;
  • strategic thinking;
  • the ability to work to deadlines and meet targets.

Where can I get work experience?

Large companies that offer HR placements include BP, Rolls-Royce and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Some recruitment consultancies, such as Hays and PageGroup, also offer internships. However, this area is very popular with graduates, so opportunities are filled very quickly. You can also search for internships at Graduate Talent Pool.

Administrative skills are an important part of the job, so finding part-time or vacation work in an office environment would be hugely beneficial. You'd also be able to build your commercial awareness, plus gain an understanding of the vital role that HR plays within an organisation. Recruitment consultancies often require skills similar to those needed for sales, marketing and public relations (PR) roles, so experience in any of these areas would also be useful.

To find work placements and internships in the recruitment and HR sector, search for work experience.

How do I find a graduate job in recruitment and HR?

Graduate entry schemes in HR are offered by many large organisations, including BP, GSK, KPMG, Tesco and the National Health Service (NHS). You can get into HR at entry level and work your way up.

You could also send a speculative letter with your CV to local recruitment consultancies that you're interested in working for. You can search for recruitment consultancies in your area at the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

Some recruitment consultancies offer graduate schemes or encourage newly-qualified graduates with the right personality traits to apply. For more information, see individual company websites.

You can search for recruitment and HR vacancies at:

To find jobs in this sector, search graduate jobs in recruitment and HR.