How You Broke into HR

How You Broke into HR

It seems like the number one question asked on the HR Careers message board is, "How can I break into HR?"

These Monster users followed their dreams. So for all of you who have hit the wall in your job search and are ready to give up, these stories are for you.

Richard's Path to Recruiting

I began a career in educational sales that lasted about five years. During those five years, I won numerous awards.

I went to an employment agency just to see what was out there. I was hired by the agency as a recruiter and found it to be rewarding financially and personally. I was able to use my selling skills and at the same time learn about the many ways companies are run. This gave me the staffing and recruiting knowledge for a future HR position.

I had my own small employment agency for a while, and I did some contract work for a Fortune 100 company. A year later, the company created a recruiter's position for me and my career in corporate human resources began.

I was 50 years old when I was hired by this Fortune 100 company. So don't give up the dream if you're a little seasoned.

Richard's story shows there is more than one way into HR. You are never too old to make a change.

Shauna: From Receptionist to Director

Approximately 14 years ago, I was a receptionist at a manufacturing company. The controller discharged the HR professional, pulled me off the front desk and asked me to go to it. I had no human resources background whatsoever.

Everything was in disarray. [My] first priority was to get payroll completed. I spent the next 90 days getting everything in order.

After everything was straightened out, the controller hired someone to do the HR job I'd been doing. He said I had done a good job, but he wanted someone with experience. He put me back on the switchboard.

After tasting the HR field, I knew I liked the work and was good at it. Once I was back on the switchboard, I looked for another job, this time an HR position.

Despite my limited experience, I was offered an HR opportunity with another organization. As opposed to HR generalist work, the position was specifically concentrated in benefits.

I have continued to build on my human resources experience and have worked in various industries, enhancing my knowledge base. Currently, I'm director of human resources and education and development at a growing company. I've been able to achieve this at 34 years of age.

Most people in Shauna's position would have stomped off the job if they had been told they had to go back to the switchboard. Shauna didn't let a step back deter her from pursuing a job she enjoyed.

Donald's Two-Step

I had just graduated from college with a BS in political science. I discovered how hard it was to find a job in HR, so I began temping as an administrative assistant in HR departments. I finally saw a job ad that read, "Looking to learn HR from the ground up?" I applied and got the job.

The position was for a front desk receptionist/HR assistant. I sat at the front desk for eight months. During that time, I went to every class and seminar imaginable. In November 1998, I completed the Society for Human Resource Management's generalist class and was promoted. In December 2000, I passed the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) exam.

I now have experience with staffing and recruitment, compensation, benefits, payroll, employee relations, development and performance management. I am still learning more each day.

This fall, I'll return to school part-time to begin my MBA. I eventually want to break into consulting. My advice for anyone wanting to get into HR is to look at the big picture and be willing to take a step back to get where you eventually want to be.

Donald didn't get where he is today by luck. He took the initiative, and now he's well on his way to having a successful career in HR.

Learn more about human resources careers.

Latest Jobs

All transmissions & Automotive
Posted: 05/24/2015
Cumming, GA, 30040
MGA Home Healthcare
Posted: 05/24/2015
Austin, TX, Austi
MGA Home Healthcare
Posted: 05/24/2015
Austin, TX
RemX Specialty Staffing
Posted: 05/24/2015
West Chester, DE
RemX Specialty Staffing
Posted: 05/24/2015
La Vergne, TN, 37086

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile


Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
Create and connect.
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.


100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2015 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2015.8.0.34-207