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Careers Centre


About this sector

You can read information about role responsibilities, salary, working hours, what to expect, qualifications, skills, work experience, career prospects and related roles on the following Prospects Job Profiles:


You might also see other job profiles of interest in the Recruitment and HR profiles page (which gives links to the 9 profiles in the sector).


How to gain experience/internships

Although not essential, HR work experience can often be an advantage when applying for a graduate job. Any job can give you useful experience, particularly if you use the opportunity to observe people’s interactions, as an understanding of human behaviour is essential for HR roles.

Summer internships

Summer internships are an excellent way of gaining relevant experience in this field. These are highly competitive but a good range of internships are available across the sectors.

A number of employers offer structured internships in HR, many with application deadlines in the autumn/winter. Examples include:


Job search websites

Sign-up early to the following websites for alerts about HR internships with a wider selection of employers:

Other ways to get experience


How to get a (graduate) job

HR opportunities are available in a number of ways:

If you’re not joining on a graduate training programme, some organisations prefer to take entrants who have achieved the CIPD practitioner-level qualification. Study can be undertaken on a full or part-time basis; more information can be found on the CIPD website.

Graduate training schemes

Graduate training schemes are common in this sector.  Many leading public and private sector employers offer dedicated HR graduate programmes, eg

Job search websites:

Some Human Capital Consulting graduate training schemes

Recruitment Consultants


Applications, interviews and assessment centres

The recruitment process for HR graduate training schemes can vary from company to company, but is likely to consist of the following:

Formal assessments are, however, uncommon for direct entry jobs. Interview questions will probably be designed to find out about your interpersonal and team skills – be prepared to give examples to back up your claims. You can improve your chances of success at interviews if you keep up to date with trends and practices in the HR sector.

Research the company prior to an interview to understand the skills and competencies they are looking for. Also check the employer’s website as many provide details on their own individual recruitment and selection processes.

Relevant Postgraduate Study - is it a requirement?


Although not essential, a relevant postgraduate qualification can prove an advantage with some employers. Most employers offering HR graduate training schemes will enable you to study part-time towards CIPD qualification whilst working.

If you’re interested in funding a relevant course yourself contact the institution or try to visit before making an application. Assess what you may gain from such a course before committing yourself to considerable expense and ask questions about how successful these courses have been in gaining jobs for their past students.  An integrated work placement can add value.  Check that those courses you are considering are recognised by the CIPD.

Recruitment Consultancy

You don't need a postgraduate degree to work in recruitment as a consultant. There are, however, training courses offered by the Institute of Recruitment Professionals which may help build your skills and knowledge.

Key UK resources

Careers Centre resources


Use CareerConnect, your central careers hub, to:



General HR-related careers information

Professional Bodies, Trade Organisations & Journals/Magazines


International resources

The USA job market and recruitment timetables, for both internships and graduate jobs, for sectors of employment often differ from the UK.

The Careers Centre subscribes to the reputable independent USA careers information and vacancy provider Vault. The link below will take you directly to Vault subscription resources which cover this sector. You may find further useful and relevant resources linked from there as well.