Starting A Career In HR. #NewToHR

Starting A Career In HR

Every year, a new crop of young professional enters the work force, and many of them pursue jobs in People Operations.

When these eager HR professionals enter the office for their first day, any one or more of innumerable problems could greet them.

We have some advice for people starting their careers in the field of HR that focus on common problems, but also tips for advancing through the ranks to establish a successful HR career.

To get the job, each people professional should demonstrate a host of skills armed with numerous plans and initiatives to conquer the tasks before them, but a series of common problems might trip up the inexperienced. Having just exited the classroom and entered the workforce, new HR professionals must avoid common mistakes.

First, we cannot stress enough the importance of knowing the organisation and your boss.

While a young HR professional might do work by the book, an experienced one will know how to do the job the way the organisation wants it. These experienced HR professionals will also have quickly picked up on things that annoy or infuriate their employer and avoid them.

Second, we suggest new HR professionals to practice diligence and accuracy. A mistake in paperwork can lead to so much lost time, which entails lost profits and might end in termination. Be diligent and accurate!

Our team knows that HR professionals have a complex job that requires mastery of law, company policies, and maintaining a balance between employers’ needs and employees’ rights and morale.

With so much at stake, we ask each young HR professional to get to know the policies and laws like the back of his/her hand. The labour law changes constantly and can trip up any employee, but it cannot fool the HR manager! With this base of knowledge, inexperienced workers will avoid common legal mistakes often involving rights, payroll, and taxes.

A new HR professional can avoid many of these mistakes and protect themselves by thoroughly investigating all claims according to the law and company policy.

In addition to avoiding these pitfalls, HR professionals should look ahead to their future and immediately start laying the groundwork for a long and successful career by keeping a few bits of wisdom in mind.

New To HR encourages new HR professionals to start building relationships with fellow workers by engaging their interests. It might take a long time to amaze someone by demonstrating skills and knowledge, but it does not take long to impress the same person by focusing on him/her.

By building relationships, HR professionals will grow their network and, therefore, prepare themselves for future moves up the ladder or across industries.

Similarly, request feedback. Employers like to look like experts. By asking for feedback,  you will demonstrate an eagerness to learn, gain valuable knowledge, and stroke the boss’s ego at the same time. It can only help to get feedback on your job performance.

After years of training, a job in HR might seem like a piece of cake, but by avoiding common errors and building toward a brighter future from day one, HR professionals can secure a long and successful career.

© New To HR

Interested in other HR professionals, read their short HR Career Story comments here:

I studied Physics and Electronic Engineering – not an auspicious start for an HR career. I joined a fabulous company as a grad trainee, 3M UK Ltd. In those distant days, they truly lived the concept of empowerment, creativity, teamwork, … I ended up designing the computer systems for their distribution centre in Bedford (a £massive project!) These worked … but not as brilliantly as hoped. I conducted research and found issues with management (not focusing on the behaviour changes needed, merely the tool), user training (not enabling them to feel the value, so they tried to find ways round the new tools), and culture (putting in technology typically restricts freedom more than it increases it). To cut a long story short, I ended up (a) working for three years on selling skills for HR – how to truly gain buy-in to new concepts, and (b) as Head of Management T&D. 30 years later, I LOVE HR … and we still have a massive amount to learn about behaviour engineering and the power of technology to add value (and to kill it!) I now run my own company with some similarly passionate colleagues, and am called an HR Futurist, Pragmatist, and Passionator … you cant get more fun than that. – Clinton Wingrove,  Performance & Development Consultant, Speaker, Author, Trainer LinkedIn


My first degree is in Chemistry and I spent the first 10 years of my career working as a scientist. I have always found people fascinating, our many differences and our many similarities. I was lucky enough to work for a company that encouraged career moves around the business, completed my CIPD training and have not looked back since. I am an HR Generalist and I love the scope and variety of the role. – Catherine Shaw, Human Resources Director Linkedin


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