HR & recruitment

Types of job

Every organisation is different and so is the way their HR function operates. From generalist roles to specialist positions, there are many different functions, depending on the organisation's size and needs:

  • HR generalist
  • Recruitment, resourcing and talent planning
  • Learning and talent development
  • Organisation development
  • Employee relations
  • Employee engagement
  • Performance and Reward

To read more about these roles visit the Chartered Institute of Professional Development (the professional body for HR and people development).

The CIPD has also created a very useful careers guide which is worth a read: Progress your HR career.

To raise the profile of Human Resources (HR) and Learning and Development (L&D) careers among young people and attract new talent into the industry, the CIPD has created a virtual HR World. The HR world features 14 different roles, from HR apprentice to HRD, and specialist roles across L&D, recruitment, reward and employee relations. Visit the HR world now.

Luke Smith – HR Assistant

Entry routes

There are three main routes for graduates to enter the HR profession:

  • Graduate scheme - Many large organisations offer HR graduate schemes. Apply for these in autumn term of your final year. These schemes are the most competitive route in to the profession.
  • Postgraduate course - There are many postgraduate courses including Masters and Postgraduate Diplomas in HR.
  • Entry-level/graduate-level role - most graduates enter the profession via this route. You could apply for entry level roles a few months before you are due to graduate (use the websites listed further down this page to identify vacancies). Example entry-level roles include Personnel Assistant, HR Assistant and HR Officer. Starting at this level will help you gain relevant experience that will allow you to progress in your career. 

Find out about getting into HR

Getting experience

Experience relevant to personnel work can also be gained in other related fields, particularly retail management and recruitment consultancy.

HR experience is not essential to enter the profession but is often a distinct advantage. Large organisations across a broad range of sectors offer HR internships such as Nestle, Lloyds TSB, EDF Energy, J.P.Morgan, P&G and Goldman Sachs. Some work placement opportunities are also advertised on Careers Connect.

It is always worth applying speculatively to smaller organisations, sending your CV and cover letter to potential employers. 

Find a job or internship

Read CIPD job hunting guide - CIPD advice on finding a job in HR 

Personnel Today – An excellent source of information on HR careers

Changeboard – Contains lots of sector vacancies and careers information

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

People Management – Online magazine of the CIPD, HR and training careers

HR Zone – Articles on specialist HR topics


Professional Services