Careers Service Occupations

HR, Recruitment & Training

HR, Recruitment and Training

About

The value of the recruitment industry was over £35.1 billion to the UK economy in 2015/16 (Recruitment Industry Trends Survey, 2015/16).

Working globally is a growing trend in HR, a 2009 survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) revealed that 30% of people working in HR had international responsibilities. 

Careers advice

Industry news

Human resources

Recruitment 

Training

Professional bodies

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates. They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.

The main professional associations for this sector include:

Making contacts 

Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field come through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

Social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter, is useful for making contacts, finding employers and opportunities. Find out more about how to use social media for your career and subscribe to our HR & recruitment twitter list.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and other events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. For events for this sector see Careers Service events and External Events.

Roles & Skills

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Human Resources

Compensation and benefits manager

Equality and diversity officer

Human resources administrator

Human resources assistant

Human resources manager

Human resources officer

Headhunter

Human resources consultant

Recruitment

Recruitment consultant

Recruitment manager

Training

Training and development officer

Training and development manager

See Information technology for information and vacancy sources for the role of IT trainer.

Skills employers look for

  • organisational skills and attention to detail
  • ability to act with discretion when handling confidential or sensitive issues
  • excellent communication skills
  • negotiation skills
  • ability to meet target and deadlines
  • decisive thinking 

See also TARGETjobs: What skills and competencies do you need for a career in HR?

Gaining Experience

Getting into HR, recruitment and training can be very competitive. Work experience is invaluable in developing relevant skills and demonstrating your commitment to recruiters.

Finding work experience

It may be worth asking your existing contacts (friends and family, via social media, etc.) whether they know any HR officers or recruitment consultants that you might be able to shadow, as many people’s current workplaces will have an HR department. Try a tailored speculative approach to the HR department of a firm you have an interest in. 

Recruitment consultancies have offices in most towns and cities. You can use finding companies below to help you identify recruiters. Look at the ‘Finding an agency’ section of Recruitment Agencies.

Specialist training roles are often followed after more general HR and employment experience. Work experience in training may therefore be more difficult to obtain but a speculative approach; or approaching an employer for shadowing rather than paid experience, can be productive. An alternative is to carry out voluntary work where you could develop, the motivational, leadership and organisational abilities necessary for most training roles. 

Part-time work

In almost any part time job, you could build on your commercial awareness and gain an understanding of how organisations operate – knowledge vital to this sector. In larger organisations especially, you may be able to find out about the role HR plays where you work. 

Administrative part time work in an office environment can also help develop relevant practical skills for HR and employment positions.

Recruitment positions tend to be very sales/target driven.  A part time role where you use these abilities (such as in retail) could help you decide whether this is the kind of environment you would thrive in, as well as developing skills for your CV. 

Part time tutoring roles can help develop skills and knowledge valuable to a future position in training – though any of the other HR related experience listed here is also relevant. See our Education and part-time job pages.

See part-time jobs for sources of vacancies.

Internships

Internships and placements are possible in HR and employment. You need to be aware that this area is popular, so paid opportunities quickly get taken up.

Finding companies

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

See Researching Employers for more information on how to find companies.

Finding Jobs

Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and research employers for speculative applications.

Vacancy sites

Graduate schemes & entry level jobs

Some graduate training schemes exist in this competitive area, but places may be limited. Be sure to apply early to avoid missing deadlines.

See Graduate jobs for more vacancy sources.

Finding companies

Find companies that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

See Researching Employers for more information on how to find companies.

Study

Human Resources

A postgraduate qualification or CIPD qualification can improve chances of securing a HR position. But it is not essential. 

Some graduate employers may fund or allow you to study for a postgraduate or CIPD qualification during training.

Recruitment

A postgraduate qualification is not essential to work in recruitment. The Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP) does offer qualifications in recruitment practice and management.  

Further information on study & training

See Finding Courses and funding postgraduate study for more information on further study.