Recruitment & HR
Almost every organisation now has Human Resource (HR) staff in some capacity. The HR function is at the heart of good business performance: in order for organisations to succeed it is essential that they make effective use of their people, and the HR role is key in achieving this.
Recruitment is a major function of HR and roles in this area are sometimes in-house or in a consultancy. Although most graduate opportunities are within large commercial organisations with large HR teams or in the large public sector employers, opportunities exist in organisations of all sizes.
Where do I start?
Within the Recruitment and HR sector there are a range of occupations, Prospects has a useful list of job profiles each containing relevant information about key responsibilities, skill requirements, starting salaries, entry requirements, career prospects with links to major employers and current graduate vacancies.
Jobs roles in this sector include:
- Careers adviser
- Human resources officer
- IT trainer
- Management consultant
- Occupational psychologist
- Office manager
- Recruitment consultant
- Training and development officer
As part of your job-hunting strategy you will need to keep up to date on developments in this sector and keep track of any vacancies that are coming up. Below are some key resources to help you research opportunities available. The knowledge gained through your research may help you to target your applications and will help when preparing for interviews.
- Targetjobs - General careers website with dedicated HR and recruitment information for graduate roles.
- Chartered Institute of Personnel Development - Useful website for daily human resources news, employment law updates, features and comments on personnel issues.
- HR Magazine - Website covers the latest in Human Resource research and trends through in-depth reports and insightful interviews.
- Human Resource Management Guide - Publishes articles and news releases about HR surveys, employment law, human resource research, HR books and careers that bridge the gap between theory and practice.
- Recruiter - Online resource for recruitment professionals. Get the latest news, jobs, features and insight from across all industry sectors.
- Recruitment Times - Leading source of news and information for the recruitment industry.
Competition for jobs in this sector is high and work experience could be the deciding factor to securing a graduate job. Undertaking work experience is invaluable in developing expertise and the all-important transferrable skills, which will help you demonstrate your motivation and commitment to this area of work.
However finding experience will take time and effort; employers receive many CVs every week so you will have to work hard to stand out from the crowd. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV through the Careers and Employability Service website.
The key to success is to prepare thoroughly, do your research and organise your experience in good time. Think about small and medium size companies as well as large organisations.
It is also worth considering the voluntary sector for work experience; the Careers and Employability Service offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies. Similarly you can access these opportunities through the paper-based bank located in the Careers and Employability Centre.
If you wish to instigate voluntary work experience during the vacation periods please refer the 'External sites' on the voluntary work experience section of our website.
Tips to build experience:
- Get involved in relevant University societies or external groups where you can practice and develop the transferable skills relevant to a recruitment or HR role or take on HR-related tasks.
- Research opportunities to mentor as a volunteer, this is excellent experience and will provide great examples of skills that are required for roles in the sector.
- Be proactive and make direct contact with organisations that interest you and apply speculatively; send a targeted CV and a covering letter focused on why you are interested in them and why they should be interested in you.
- Create a LinkedIn profile to network with sector employers - see our Networking and Social Media section for further guidance.
Finding a job
HR has become increasingly popular with employers as they come to appreciate the legal and financial implications of not having good HR. Organisations offer specific graduate programmes and entry level positions to enable graduates to get a foothold. Vacancies are advertised on individual organisations' (in both private and public sectors) websites, as well as in journals and newspapers.
Larger organisations usually hire for their HR Graduate programmes between September to December each year, so check the websites of the firms you are interested in early, to confirm the dates and deadlines. Vacancies may appear under other sectors as well as HR, e.g. Human Capital Management, General Management, Administration, or the sector of the organisations main business, for example an HR vacancy at a bank may well come under the finance sector. Recruitment consultancies often advertise vacancies throughout the year.
Below is a list of useful websites to help you start your job search
- Personnel Today - Online resource with comprehensive job vacancies listing and useful careers advice in article form.
- Changeboard - Provides a broad range of vacancies across the sector and across different industries.
- Local Government Jobs – Listings of current vacancies in local authorities UK wide. Search on 'Personnel Assistant' or similar to find a number of HR entry level posts suitable for new graduates.
- Simply HR jobs – Specialist job site for the HR sector.
- Targetjobs - Website dedicated to graduate jobs, work experience, news, careers advice and deadlines, with sections specific to recruitment and HR.
- The Big Choice - Provides access to graduate jobs, volunteering positions, placements and part-time work as well as careers guides, advice, and lists of upcoming graduate recruitment fairs.
- Graduate-jobs - Dedicated HR section provides information on HR jobs around the UK.
- Milkround - Information on 100’s of internships and work experience opportunities across the UK and Worldwide.
- The Guardian - National newspaper with dedicated careers/jobs section including information on HR schemes.
Tips for finding a job
- Keep your online job search flexible as some employers might use different titles to describe the same job role.
- Most companies have a Twitter and/or Facebook account, register with them as this is often a place where new opportunities are posted, and where you can keep in touch with their current activities .
- Be realistic - you may need to consider relatively junior roles to get your career off to a start, but entry positions of a clerically-based nature will give you opportunity to develop your craft.
- Get networking - check our employer events and attend them to build links and gain information on the sector.
- Keep abreast of employment law, the labour market, government policy changes or recruitment trends.
- Read some of the numerous industry titles to stay updated on what's happening in the sector, and maintain an interest in business and commercial topics.
Need more help and information?
How can the Careers and Employability Service help you?
The Careers and Employability Service offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:
- Career options
- Further study
- CV and Covering Letters
- Application forms
- Job search
- And more......
Please visit our services for you section for more details about our support and services.
The Careers and Employability Service has an online Jobsboard advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised matching job service.
Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or Google Hangouts appointments, please contact us to discuss your needs.
If you need more information why not check out some of the resources below to help you to research a sector in more depth.
- Access the link register with our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to sign up with the University of Portsmouth's very own on-campus graduate recruitment team.
- HR Job Vacancies – Specialist recruitment agency with jobs in HR.
- Michael Page – Recruitment consultancy that regularly recruits graduates from any degree discipline as trainee recruitment consultants.
- Recruitment to Recruitment - Specialist consultancy serving the recruitment industry.
- Reed – Provider of permanent, contract, temporary and outsourced recruitment solutions, IT and HR consulting.
- Agency Central - UK's leading Recruitment Agencies and Job Sites Directory. To find specialist recruitment agencies, select an appropriate ‘skillset’to bring up a list of suitable agencies.
- People Management – Online magazine of the CIPD, HR and training careers
- HR Zone – Articles on specialist HR topics