Jobs in HR – Little-Known Factors That Could Affect Your Next HR Job

​If you’re feeling you CAN'T win BIG in your current role, either RESOLVE to step up your performance TODAY or move into a new HR role elsewhere. NOT TOMORROW. NOW.

Alan Collins
Writer, Blogger

Do you want to discover how to make your HR job Hunting more effective? Do you want to know the 5 ways in making your resume stand out from the rest and speak blatantly about you?

While looking out for jobs in the HR Department, one of the biggest advantages you get is that you can apply for an HR job in ANY sector. Be it in Manufacturing, IT, Financial institutions, FMCG, Service industry or even as a matter of fact Startups, unlike other roles (marketing, operations) that are kind of stereotyped in nature, you can join the HR Function in any sector irrespective of the industry you are currently working in.

Amazing, isn't it?

You can earn some brownie points at the interview table by sharing your knowledge of the industry you're currently working in. However, the final hiring decision will not be solely judged by your sector specific knowledge but primarily on account of how well you understand the business and display your people management skills and competencies in the interview.

An exposure in multiple sectors, adds credibility and diverse experience in your HR role and portfolio.

Click to Tweet

But the secret is that even if there are so many jobs in the HR space, the vast majority of jobs in human resources are NEVER ADVERTISED and are either closed internally or through a reference.

Surprised. Even I was when I came to know about it.

Apart from hiring directly from premier MBA colleges, most of the HR managers prefer closing their HR positions either internally or through referencing from reliable sources. As mentioned, only a few jobs (around 30%) are floated in the market as most of the Hiring Managers are cautious while recruiting in the HR function. They want to be 100% sure that the person they are hiring has a strong ethical background and possesses good people management skills. Hence, even by chance you look at so many published HR jobs on various portals, only a few of them are closed from outside.

In this post (a part of our getting jobs in HR series) I’m going to share how using these simple yet effective techniques can help you win BIG and land up getting your next job in the HR function. Whether you’re just starting your career or you’re performing a senior or middle level role in HR, the techniques that I will share in these short series of blog posts will definitely go a long way helping you in future.

So without wasting more time, let’s quickly dive in.

My Story...

Let me share my own job hunting story with you. I still remember the frustration when I was out of college in 2006. My friends who passed out with me were too finding it hard to get a decent job. It was kind of knocking each and every door and forget about letting you in, nobody even wanted to listen to you. When I look back at my those good old days, I learnt and realised a fact that finding a decent start in the HR space was struggling then as a fresher and even now when you have gained a fair amount of exposure in the HR vertical.

What do you think? Do you feel that it is challenging to get a job in HR in any decent company? Please comment. I want to know your views.

Job Hunting - Modus Operandi

How do you normally approach the process?

  • You search and apply to jobs matching your expertise on LinkedIn or other job boards. You visit the career section of other organizations and submit your resume for a relevant role.
  • You directly contact companies or recruiters if they have any job opportunity for you

You repeat the process until you finally get a job or you are totally exhausted.

After putting so much of efforts and time, are you really sure that the job offer will be exactly what you were looking for? What is the kind of career you are looking to make in the HR vertical? Are you looking for government jobs in HR or are you open for corporate assignments as well? Do let me know your preferences in the comments section at the end of this post.

For this post, I will be touching upon important aspects of resume writing and making it stand out from the rest.

The Shocking Truth about Resume Writing

I understand it takes time and efforts to update your resume and it takes a hell lot of time if you're doing it for the very FIRST time. It becomes even more demotivating that after spending hours on perfecting your resume you still don’t know where to start. Randomly you post your resume on various job portals and then just wait for God (some recruiter) to call you. Also, recruiters who call you often don’t understand your work profile or the oppurtunity they want to offer, doesn’t make you feel excited. You connect with various people (online as well as offline) and then you don’t hear back from them.

Depressed? You’re not alone in this world.

Most of us follow the above listed methodology and few of us are successful in getting the right job.

So, what does this mean to you as a job seeker.

Are there no jobs in the HR function?

Is the hiring for HR jobs in the industry been frozen?

Are people in the HR role, not moving or changing companies?

Share your thoughts by commenting on what can be the possible reasons for such a scenario in the industry. Let me hear your problems.

While the companies are expanding globally and huge investments are been made, managing people is one of the top most priority for any CEO. Hence, to manage his people effectively, all CEOs are looking for good HR thought leaders and practitioners for taking care of their workforce.

But then why are these HR jobs not visible to everyone? Are all the companies closing their HR jobs internally, which I believe is not possible. 

So where are all these jobs going and how are companies recruiting HR people when they are not advertising their positions in the market.

How to take charge of your job hunting Process?

My Approach...

I took a different approach in addressing this concern. Back in 2006, I started my HR career in a startup taking care of business development and recruitment for them. Even though I was doing fairly well with them, I was always longing to be on the other side of the table. In my initial days, I changed jobs frequently which made me look like a "job hopper" but my focus and intentions were clear. To work in the core HR department in a corporate. I finally got a break in HR in 2008 and where I am today is all on account of focussed and dedicated efforts in the RIGHT direction.

So, what all things we should do so as to find our dream job in the HR domain? Stay tuned as in my subsequent posts, I will be revealing more techniques on this subject. 

But for now, let's work and get our basics right.  

Master these 5 techniques to create a killer resume for your next job in the HR Function

1. A single copy of your resume would not cater to address all the Job requirements in the HR function.

Applying to all HR jobs with the same uncustomized resume is a total waste of time.

Click to Tweet

For example, my current role is of an HR generalist or an HR Business Partner. If tomorrow I am looking for a Talent Acquisition role, I may customize my resume to highlight areas where I have significantly contributed in recruitment and hiring. If another day I am applying for a talent management role, I may not send the same copy which I made for my TA role.

Sounds logical? 

If you are aware of the role, try and present your credentials in a way that your resume is in line with the requirements mentioned in the job description

Note: A single solution will not be applicable to solving multiple problems.

2. Impress your recruiter by giving him what he wants

According to a research, recruiters hardly spend 30 seconds while going through resumes. To get their attention in these 30 seconds of time frame, you need to provide meaty information that quickly gets their attention. By making customizations I am not telling you to fake on anything. Its all about placing the most relevant information at the right place thereby helping or enabling the recruiter to quickly make decision as to whether or not to shortlist this resume for the next level.

Always consider your resume a mere knock on the door. Whether you will be invited inside totally depends on how good you are at creating a GREAT first impression.

3. Craft your resume for your next HR job in such a way that it portrays you as a solution provider.

Most of the companies today has what we call as “Job Descriptions”. Before applying to any job, read the JD carefully and then think and analyze as to what typical problems will be faced by an HR manager in such a role. Whether the JD is related to recruitment or training or any other role, the JD will help you to visualize as to what probable problems the company is facing and how you can be their LIFE SAVER.

The reality is no one is interested in listening to what you did way back when. They want to hear everything that you can do to help them TODAY. Right here. Right now.

People are looking for problem solvers and if you can’t articulate or present yourself as to how you can contribute in enhancing retention, improving revenues, cutting down on costs and making the company competitive, it would be better for you to sit and relax at home.

4. Avoid the biggest turn offs in resume writing 

Laszlo Bock, Head of people operations at Google shares the ways to correct the biggest mistakes he sees on resume made by people.

Laszlo Bock Head People Operations, Google

I have seen A LOT of resumes. Some are brilliant, most are just ok, many are disasters. The toughest part is that for 15 years, I've continued to see the same mistakes made again and again by candidates, any one of which can eliminate them from consideration for a job. What's most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these are good, even great, people. But in a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don't need to compromise on quality. All it takes is one small mistake and a manager will reject an otherwise interesting candidate.

In his intriguing post here on Linkedin, he shares how to avoid common mistakes in resume like typo, length, formatting and the most important about lying.  Continuing on the similar lines, he wrote his second post in which he addressed key questions that were raised by readers in his first post. Read both his posts to get hands on advice from the People Manager of the company which is considered to be the 'World's Best Places to Work'

5. Try and quantify your achievements so that it can be measured

In continuation to his last post, Laszlo Bock shares his personal formula for writing winning resumes here. He suggests a simple formula in making your accomplishments stand out. Present each of your achievements as:

Accomplished [X] as measured by [Y] by doing [Z]

Makes sense? Definitely when it comes straight from the horse’s mouth.

Start mentioning your achievements with an active verb, numerically measuring it, giving it a baseline for comparison and detail out what you did to achieve your goal. Check out his post and learn a more logical way of presenting information in your resume.

So, just to summarize and conclude on what we've discussed in this post:-


Make Your HR Job Hunting process effective by:

a) Understanding the job market and why these jobs are not advertised online

b) Finding a job in HR is a systematic process

c) You need to have a focussed approach while applying for HR jobs


Make your resume stand out from the rest so that it gets recruiter's attention

a) One size doesn't fit all - customize your resume as per the desired role and DO NOT blast the same copy to all the recruiters.

b) How to showcase yourself as “Captain America” and that you will be the best bet for any hiring manager.

What was your most effective job hunting strategy?

What I've shared above is my experience on how to get jobs in the HR department. I believe I’m still on a learning journey on this topic and would love to hear what you’ve learnt on this topic. Feel free to share your views with an example of what you’ve done with a link and share your lessons in comments below so that we all can improve on our mission to get jobs in the HR department.

How Can You Create A Revolution In Your Own HR Career?

I was planning to pen down my thoughts around this subject from quite sometime, but eventually I was not able to get the right title for this post. I was thinking of using "CHANGE" or "DIFFERENCE" instead of using a rather bold word like "REVOLUTION" in the title. 

A mail from our very own Shauna Griffis (aka HR Minion) asking for contributions for the next carnival gave me this ROCK solid word "Revolution". Now my friend Ben Eubanks is hosting the next HR carnival on 8th April and he wanted to ask HR folks as to what they think needs a "REVOLUTION" in HR. 

Taking a cue from the mailer on conversations about advances in the HR space and how to shed light on the topics that nobody else was covering, I thought talking about the HR leadership competency will be the apt subject to create what we say as a "REVOLUTION" in the HR space.

Now friends these six leadership competencies are developed by a great HR thought leader and a guru Dave Ulrich

About Dave Ulrich...

Dave UlrichHR Leader, Thinker and Guru

Dave is credited with the development of the "HR Business Partnership" model and has written many influential books on the HR subject. According to him to tackle the worldwide challenges and economic crisis, HR folks must work and develop these 6 HR leadership competencies to thrive in today's unpredictable economy.

MASTER these Six key HR Leadership Competencies and take your HR career to the next level.

Click to Tweet

1. Become a CREDIBLE Activist:

An HR person who can earn and maintain the trust of his employees and managers, while taking strong and proactive business positions. 

“Trust is the lubrication that makes it possible for organizations to work"

​--- Warren Bennis

For HR professionals working in high-performing organizations, it is essential to act as a credible activist. For them their words matter a lot and they will do what they say. For the,m commitment is everything. Such kind of integrity forms the foundation of their personal trust that eventually translates into their professional credibility. 

How to Develop this Competency and Become a Credible Activist in your Organization?

  • Develop STRONG and POSITIVE interpersonal skills to BRAND yourself as a CREDIBLE HR person
  • CREATE and DEVELOP a positive and flexible chemistry with your key stakeholders
  • Act as an INFLUENCER in the decision making process thereby translating it into business RESULTS
  • Take a STRONG position for all business issues which have not surfaced but can prove to be FATAL in future

2. Become a BUSINESS Ally:

An HR person who has a solid understanding of the business financials, strategies and context and uses them to make better decisions. 

I understand that at times it is felt by the top management that HR people does not understand the pulse of the business. They are not number crunchers and do not like to talk about business financials. I wrote a post on this subject and have laid a lot of emphasis on why knowing and understanding this information is the MOST important aspect to create a VALUE of your self and your department in the organization. 

Successful HR leaders invest a lot of time in developing their understanding of the market and business financials so that their opinions are not driven by emotions or from the so called "gut feeling" but they have a clear cut logic and data to support their thoughts and decisions. People at the top expect their HR leaders to think in the context of the business and the global environment. 

How to Develop this Competency and Become a BUSINESS Ally in your Organization?

  • BUILD your knowledge of finance and must FOCUS on execution
  • Get yourself ACQUAINTED with the line function
  • Get MULTI functional experience
  • LEARN how the business operates, margins and costs
  • GET a 360 degree view of the business

3. Become a STRATEGIC Architect:

An HR Person who can take the 'business strategic story' and translate it into HR practices and leadership behaviours

These HR professionals understand the global business context in terms of the social, political, economic, environmental, technological and demographic trends that affects the business either directly or indirectly. They also understand how their industry operates and what are the underlying dynamics in terms of competition, customer and supplier trends. 

With this knowledge they can develop a vision for their business and department for the future which can translate into key business strategies and annual plans and goals. 

How to Develop this Competency and Become a STRATEGIC Architect in your Organization?

  • THINK beyond your role
  • GET out of your comfort zone
  • GET connected to the strategic and transactional requiremnt of the business
  • GET exposure in business development
  • UNDERSTANDING how business makes money
  • KNOW the history of your business and narate it to inspire and motivate your people

4. Become an OPERATIONAL Executor:

An HR person who ensures things happen on time and everytime.

One of the key attributes of an HR Manager is to be an efficient executor. They need to ensure that daliy management taks are taken care of well within timelines. Management and allocation of resources holds key in becoming an operational executor. Stick to your HR yearly calendar and plans and cordinate with different processes or departments so that they all are well aligned to your goals and objectives.

How to Develop this Competency and Become an OPERATIONAL Executor in your Organization?

  • LEAD and ENSURE that all critical plans are completed in time
  • GET the top management buy-in for all your initiatives
  • DELEGATE tasks and make your team members accountable
  • BUILD on high achievement quotient and lead from the front
  • BE a part of active committees in the organization

An HR person who can shape HR practices that deliver talented people and capable organizations

Developing and building organizational capability by creating a strong system and process driven culture. Investing in your core compentencies and doing what you are good and known for. These capabilities include speed, innovation, customer focus, efficiency and creation of meaning and purpose at work. 

Developing and building organizational capability by creating a strong system and process driven culture. Investing in your core compentencies and doing what you are good and known for. These capabilities include speed, innovation, customer focus, efficiency and creation of meaning and purpose at work. 

HR managers can help line managers create meaning so that the capabilites of the organization reflect the deeper values of the organization. 

How to Develop this Competency and Become a TALENT MANAGER in your Organization?

  • IDENTIFY training needs of your employees complete them well in time
  • INVEST time in identifying and developing competencies of yourr people
  • INNOVATE and intregrate HR practices around your business issues
  • DO things differently. Let go the stereotype behavious

6. Become a CHANGE Agent:

An HR person who can make change happen and can help create new cultures, values and expectations

Effective HR professionals develop their organizations capacity for change and then translate it into effective change processes and structures. Ensuring a seamless integration of change processes that builds sustainable competitive advantage. They build the case for change based on market and business reality, and they overcome resistance to change by engaging key stakeholders in key decisions and building their commitment to full implementation. They sustain change by ensuring the availability of necessary resources including time, people, capital, and information, and by capturing the lessons of both success and failure.

How to Develop this Competency and Become a CHANGE AGENT in your Organization?

  • INVEST time in understanding technological advancements and how they can be utilised in your business
  • Building STRONG internal communication channels so as to create awareness on the change
  • DEVELOP on your persuassion and negotiation skills that will help in communicating change effectively
  • CREATE new systems and improve your existing ones

To cut the story short, this is a great time to be in HR as the future looks very promising. As HR professionals, my sincere advice to you is to master these 6 competencies as they will add explicit value to you and the organization. 

Do let me know you which are your weakest competencies and how do you plan to master them. Let me hear your views in the comment section below.

Books by Dave Ulrich

Why It Will be the Year of Mass Exodus?

This year will definitely be a year of change on the job front. With the economy slowly beginning to recover and people looking for more fulfillments in their careers, companies can expect somewhat of an exodus in the search for new horizons.

Not all businesses will bleed people, but the ones that will be most affected are ones that have done a poor job supporting, training, and rewarding their employees. These guys will feel the swift breeze of employees stampeding for the door as a result of their poor employee engagement.

In a recent post, Shuana Moerke of humorously listed some of the main reasons fed up employees will be seeking greener pastures this year. While some items on the list, such as “If you stub your toe one more time on that filing cabinet so help you, you are going to snap” made me laugh out loud, others on the list are serious food for thought. In this post, I’m going to expound on a few of Shauna’s insights and how they affect both organizations and employees.

The first two items in Shauna’s post go hand in hand:

“You don’t remember the last time you didn’t come in on Monday wondering who had been let go last Friday.”

“There are whole communities living in the piles of paperwork on your desk.”

As businesses have felt the tightening of the economy, they predictably react by looking for ways to cut costs. Of course, the first thing that’s gutted is the headcount. Instead of looking for creative ways to become more efficient, reduce waste, or renegotiate contracts, the knee-jerk reaction is to ax staff.

On the flip side, there is still work to be done-albeit by less people, putting a huge strain on the poor souls that are left behind. They are expected to redouble their efforts (without extra pay) to take up the slack. This is usually not anyone’s idea of an ideal work environment and leads to backlogs, which leads to anxiety. Thus you’ll find the number of employees online during lunch searching the want ads will go up dramatically. Can you blame them?

“It’s review time and your boss is avoiding you.”

This is definitely a bad sign. Some companies have greatly reduced, or even eliminated raises and bonuses in an effort to beat the recession. While some cutbacks are warranted, employees still expect some type of reward for holding the company together all year. However, taking the coward’s way out, some managers choose to avoid the subject until the last possible moment in an effort to dodge employee backlash.

The fundamental problem with this approach is this: Your staff is not stupid. They can tell by your furtive glances, closed door and nervous laughter when raises are mentioned, that something is up. It’s better to be honest and upfront so that people don’t have unrealistic expectations that are then crushed. Some employees will stay with a company, even in lean times out of a sense of loyalty. However, if you can’t even be bothered to tell them the truth, then why should they bother to stay?

“Your desk/boss has changed more times than months you have worked there.”

No one likes to feel insecure. When your managerial positions seem to be involved in an ongoing game of musical chairs, this does nothing to engender confidence in the company. There is the perception of instability in management, which makes you wonder if the company will weather the storm. Also, if all the managers keep getting fired, how secure is your job?

No one wants to come into work not knowing what the day will bring, or who they will be reporting to this week. Companies going through this type of management churn will see a lot of employees hitting the back door in a hurry.

“Your boss has started looking for a new job.” 

“All the co-workers you liked have already found better jobs.”

No one wants to go down with the ship and a sure sign that something is amiss is when your boss, who is more in the know about the direction of the company, starts visibly job hunting. If employees see that their boss is busy planning an exit strategy, that throws up a red flag and they follow suit. Some employees have even been known to follow an old boss to their new company!

Also, when it comes to coworkers, a mass exodus by the peers you like and respect can really sap your desire to stay at the company. For one thing, if they found better jobs, so can you. Secondly, who wants to stick around and be surrounded by the coworkers you don’t like and respect? This is not the time to lower your standards. Out the door you go.

“You can, and do, your whole days work within the first two hours.”

While some employees may think this is an ideal situation, which allows them to goof off most of the day, smarter staff members won’t be quite so giddy at the lack of work. Those in the know are aware that a company won’t continue to pay people to just show up. Lack of work is a sign of a decrease in customers and contracts. This creates reduced revenue, which has to be canceled out somehow. That means you. So an office with very little work is sure to send staff looking for a job with a company that actually needs employees.

“Your ulcer has an ulcer.” 

Stress kills. And the bottom line is that people are no longer willing to put their health and sanity on the line for organizations that are chronically unsupportive or that are being run into the ground. Gone are the days of unquestioned company loyalty. Employees are realizing that they are the tool that makes the company machine run and are placing more value on their contribution. As such a vital piece of a company’s success, if they are not appreciated, they’ll go somewhere where they are. End of story.

What about you? What are some reasons you think employees will be on the prowl for new jobs in 2011? Share.

How to Prepare For The Job Hunting Process?

This question is frequently been asked by many people who are looking to pursue a career change. I would say that there is no scientific approach wherein you follow steps from 1-2-3 and bang you have the perfect job in your hands. Job search is like a recipe wherein the ‘desired job’ is the final product while your positioning/uniqueness, process, diligence, firmness, presentation & performance, overall personality and pricing act as vital ingredients for the recipe. You been the chef can only cook or prepare a good recipe if you execute the search skillfully and use the above ingredients appropriately. Let’s check how to effectively use the above ingredients in a savvy job-search so that the odds work in your favor.

job_hunting process

Do a Self Assessment:

Identify the attributes which differentiate you from others. As competition grows day by day, it’s essential for an individual to recognize what makes him unique and what are things he needs to work on. Today’s employer wants to know the capabilities and drawbacks of the aspirant so that he can deduce whether or not to hire him for his organization.

A Solution To A Problem:

Every customer, even you, when going out in the market are looking for solutions to their problems. You would immediately pick on something that satisfies your current requirement. The same principle is applied to Job Hunting. The prospective employers are assessing their needs and then figuring out which applicant will address them best from the others. And the better you match, higher is your chance of getting a call. Also if you can gauge the employer’s needs and then promote your skills against those requirements, your chances of connecting are higher than when you concentrate only on your abilities without the customizing it for the current scenario.

Show Me Your Work:

All said and done on the aspects your resume must portray on the strengths and skills; however nothing is comparable to your actual performance. You must know the art of presentation and how you can prove the employer that you are their Best Man. Show proof of your competencies, deliverables, knowledge and creativity to the prospective employer. Show them a handy proof in terms of a report, newspaper cutting or anything else which clearly demonstrates and depicts your hold on your subject knowledge and ability. You should never leave any opportunity where you can show the employer how you are different and acquires a competitive edge in the market place.

Be Patient:

You must be watchful and focused in your job hunting activity. You efforts must be effective in a way that gives highest return on investment. You should be socially active in building your links and communities online so that you can seek advice, introduce and get information from the contacts. Never ask for a job upfront, rather try to get a colleague to help you in this by sending a recommendation which carries a lot of weight and your chances of getting hired also increases. I can be a helpful resource as I myself got through my current position through a friend in the same organization. It really works as it has a backing and ‘OK tested’ kind of proof from the person who has already built credibility in the organization.

Overall Personality and Body Language:

Companies today are looking to hire smart people. They not only want credentials but also a person with overall good personality. The way you move, talk, approach a prospective employer etc helps in gaining credibility in your selection, so focus on generating a dialogue, sharing experiences and thoughts and responding to the employer query appropriately.

How Much Will I Get Paid?

Compensation is the guideline to where you fit in an organization, how much responsibility/authority you merit. The company has an assigned budget for a particular position and seldom have they gone beyond the limit. In case you prove your self exceptionally good in the interview might force the hiring manager to revisit his budget, however such cases are rare these days. Don’t raise the issue of salary during the interview. Just assure them that if on mutual agreement, you’re a good fit, the financial details can be worked out. And when you talk of salary, frame it in terms of a range, not a single figure. But try to impress upon the employer that you can recoup the expense of bringing you on board through generating business and increasing sales.

Developing trust is very very essential at this point of the job hunt. After a successful connection with a prospective employer, you can develop a trust that can lead to discussions about an employment. Getting to this point requires correct marketing of yourself. And to accomplish this, follow these steps, though putting a distinguishable, unique value proposal is the key to your success. But even after that it takes time for things to click and for employers’ decision to commit to you. So keep up this campaign until you sign the dotted line. I hope that the strategies above will generate better and faster job leads than any other search methods. To your successful job hunt……..cheeers!!!