Explore the range of human resources (HR) jobs and working environments to find the role that best fits your individual skills, experience and qualifications
Getting the right people into the right roles, motivating them to perform to the best of their abilities and providing a tailored career path through learning and development (L&D) are just a few of the main duties attributed to HR professionals.
Types of HR jobs
Here are some examples of graduate careers in HR management (HRM), recruitment and L&D.
Help others realise their ambitions and make suitable careers choices in this rewarding job where you'll be expected to offer expert advice, information and guidance. The work may be carried out in different settings such as libraries and job centres. Employers include universities, colleges, schools and local authorities, plus the National Careers Service.
A degree in sociology, psychology, counselling, teaching or youth work may boost your chances of landing a job in this area, but whatever the subject, you'll need to work towards the Qualification in Career Development. Learn more about the role of careers adviser.
Employee relations adviser
To ensure that a positive trust-based workplace relationship between employers and employees is established and maintained, some organisations may choose to recruit an employee relations adviser.
This role involves ensuring a consistent and fair approach to the policies and procedures set in place by a company, managing any conflicts that may arise and negotiating/discussing any issues with individuals and groups. You'll be tasked with providing administrative and case management support.
If you're looking to go down this career route, in addition to excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to work well under pressure, you'll need to have a good knowledge of employee relations and employment law. Previous HR experience is preferred in the majority of roles, as is a relevant CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) qualification.
Human resources officer
This typically office-based role will be focused on the business objectives of your employer and involve the development and implementation of staff policies. Depending on the size of the organisation you work for and the size of its HR department, you could be involved in a range of related activities.
As you progress in your career, a professional CIPD qualification will become essential in this highly-competitive industry. Explore what it's like to be a human resources officer.
If you're a computer expert with the ability to pass on your skills and knowledge to others, this profession allows you to design and deliver appropriate information and communications technology (ICT) training programmes.
Working in an office, you'll be expected to prepare the learning environment with IT equipment and design course materials, as well as carrying out performance assessments on skills levels.
Technical experience and qualifications are important in this career, with the IT Management for Business (ITMB) degree devised to bridge the industry's skills gaps. Find more about being an IT trainer and the types of IT training courses available.
Far more than simply offering guidance, the role is about building relationships with your clients, with the goal of empowering them to make strong choices. You'll be utilising your excellent communication skills, helping to identify an individual's key strengths, suggesting areas for development and encouraging them to set positive objectives. As well as one-to-one sessions, there's also the possibility of delivering group workshops.
A background in business or HR and training may be useful in some areas - for instance, career coaching - but it will depend on your chosen area of specialism and whether you work for an organisation or are self-employed. Accreditation can be obtained from professional bodies such as the Association for Coaching (AC). Discover how to become a life coach.
HR consulting, or human resource management (HRM), has become a distinct area of management consultancy. Providing solutions to businesses of all sizes, but typically small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the role's all about the processes involved with the management of a company's workforce, to achieve business advantage and improved performance.
With a varied skillset, an HR consultant will usually work with an organisation to ensure an HR department has the right procedures and guidelines in place. This could be to focus the company strategy, deliver organisational change (such as mergers or acquisitions) or to ensure the business is positioned to meet future challenges.
You may be expected to make recommendations in areas including: employee benefits and rewards, HR management, L&D, and talent management. Find out more about what it takes to be a management consultant and consider why study human resources management.
Put your expert psychological knowledge to the test by getting the best performance out of an organisation's workforce and improve staff job satisfaction levels. You may be expected to tackle organisational issues such as culture and change, while dealing with individuals on a one-to-one basis, as well as collaborating with teams.
There are in-house and consultancy roles available, with the scope of your activities determined by the clients you work with. However, to become an occupational psychologist, you'll need to meet the necessary British Psychological Standards (BPS) standards and be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Explore the role of an occupational psychologist.
Overseeing the organisation of the various activities that go into the effective running of an office, this management role will usually either be hands-on or involve the supervision of a larger workforce. This will depend on the nature of the business, its size and the structure of its management, but in any case you'll require excellent team-working and management skills.
There's no particular degree subject you'll need for this career, but business or HR management graduates with some relevant work experience may have an advantage when it comes to finding a job. Find out more about being an office manager.
Your remit will be to attract the right candidates and match them to job opportunities with your clients. Therefore, building relationships with employers to know what they're after is key - as is the ability to screen candidates for their suitability for advertised vacancies.
Long office working hours are typically the norm, so be prepared to perform to your maximum and endeavour to meet targets. In this industry, your degree subject will only become valuable if you're looking to work in an agency that has a specific market focus in this area. Get more details on what it's like to be a recruitment consultant and read 5 tips for a successful recruitment career.
To become an expert in the selling of your company's products and services, you'll need to be enthusiastic and determined. The job may require you to win new business by contacting potential leads and maintain relationships with your existing clients. Although your precise work activities will relate to your market and setting, you could be selling to other businesses or directly to customers.
Whether applying for advertised jobs or an employer's graduate scheme, relevant sales experience and key personal attributes are usually considered more important than your qualifications. Explore the role of sales executive and the top 5 skills for a career in sales.
Training and development officer
The growing L&D field requires candidates equipped to handle the training and professional development of an organisation's workers. You'll be responsible for ensuring all staff members have the motivation, practical skills and knowledge required to carry out their jobs.
While the position may be industry-specific, you'll need to possess strong HR skills and be prepared to study for relevant CIPD qualifications, especially if you aim to work at a strategic level and possibly move into consulting. Find out more about being a training and development officer.