This is a Catch-22 situation if I’ve ever seen one:
I was helping a friend with his job search. He is trying to obtain an entry level HR position. A position he found indicated the minimum education required was a high school diploma but 5 – 8 years of experience was necessary. Neither of us understood the logic. We do not know how a high school student can get that level of experience by the time they graduate. Could you please explain why this is common on most entry level HR positions?
I hate to say it, but this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of conflicting education and experience requirements in open positions. While we might not be able to change the company’s confusing requirements, there are some things to consider:
There’s “paid” and “unpaid” experience. We gain experience in many ways. Yes, some of it is through work. But we also can gain experience through our volunteer efforts. Think about all of the roles you’ve had and the experience you’ve gleaned as a result.
Don’t forget transferrable skills. Many very successful HR pros start their careers in other areas like finance, operations, and sales. If you have a background in another function, be prepared to talk about how that relates to the role you want in human resources.
Consider other entry level HR roles. There are many rewarding, fun, challenging, and well-paying jobs in organizations that support the traditional in-house human resources department. You still need know your stuff. But it’s a great place to gain experience a different aspect of the profession.
Lastly, if you want to learn more about what it takes to be a successful human resources professional, check out the latest book from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) titled “Defining HR Success: 9 Critical Competencies for HR Professionals.” This book outlines the SHRM competency model for human resources professionals, including the validation study.
What I really enjoyed reading this book were the examples that help us in developing HR competencies in particular areas. So, if your goal is to improve critical thinking, there’s a whole list of activities you can do to improve your critical thinking skills. It also shares how to develop a professional development plan. As we start to enter that time of year when we’re thinking about goals and plans and budgets, this is a good resource to help us focus on making ourselves better.
Whether your goal is to get a job in human resources or another department, remember to take a big picture outlook to your career. Fabulous opportunities are available everywhere.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby