GUIDE 2023

How to Become an HR Consultant without Experience

Looking to become a human resources consultant and learn the necessary skills for the role? You are at the right place. Here is a step-by-step guide on becoming an HR consultant.

In the HR consultant’s role, you get to solve other companies’ issues and become a problem solver. You serve as a middleman and guide organizations’ HR departments and talent management to create new handbooks, new policies, or solve a never-ending internal problem. Moreover, larger companies opt to hire an HR consultant to get an external perspective on a particular challenge or project. 

As a result, the consultant can focus on addressing bigger problems instead of getting wrapped up in internal organizational politics or other problems that make objective decision-making challenging. 

In this article, we are going to provide a comprehensive guide on how to become an HR business consultant. So, without further ado, let’s jump into the guide.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average base salary for an HR consultant is $68,466 per year, and the employment rate for HR consultants is expected to grow by seven percent by 2029. 

They expect career opportunities for human resources consultants to increase as more corporations outsource their human resources needs in light of the growing complexity of HR laws and regulations.

A human resource consultant is a professional hired externally who solves a human resources-related issue. They are mostly hired to provide high-level solutions and recommendations to management teams. Meet with clients to determine their HR needs or issues, work with clients to develop, revise and implement appropriate HR policies, and assess the client’s current HR services and programs. 

Follow these steps to learn the procedure to become a human resources consultant:

Step 1: Become a Certified HR Consultant

There are no institutions with courses focusing on HR consultancy. So, how can you acquire the necessary skills without professional help?

Multiple renowned online resources offer elaborate courses for HR consultants. Getting a valid certification is a way to kickstart your dream of becoming a professional in the human resources field.

Online courses in an hr certification institute allow you to gain the fundamental knowledge of problem-solving and how to get the gist of the career.

You need to acquire a solid understanding of the technical skills required for an HR consultant’s role. Moreover, you must figure out the tactics of efficient workforce planning. 

Below are some of the terms you must familiarize yourself with before applying for a job as an HR consultant:

  • Human resources policies and procedures
  • Strategic planning
  • Administrative development
  • Executive communication skills
  • Human resource management
  • Diversity
  • Business leadership

If you read the above terms with more focus, you can get an idea of what the role looks like and the mandatory business terms you need to be aware of.

Our HR generalist and management courses allow you to enhance your technical skills as an HR consultant.

Step 2: Get a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources or Business Management

In a four-year bachelor’s degree, you will be able to major in subjects such as human resources management, project management, or business administration which will teach you about business communications, professional development, marketing, and operations management. These are all important areas of knowledge for an HR consultant.

A degree with a concentration in an HR-related field will look better on your CV when you apply for work in a human resources department or with a human resources designation.

Step 3: Gain Professional Work Experience

Get an opportunity to complete an internship during your university degree, which will include assisting with job interviews, observing the administration of employee benefits, employee relations, labor relations, and completing basic administrative tasks. This can help you apply the skills and knowledge you are learning in the classroom in a real-world environment. You also benefit from learning from the experience of those around you. 

Alternatively, apply for entry-level positions as an HR specialist, associate, assistant, or recruiter. Employers will hire you if you have some experience under your belt.

Step 4: Determine a Niche

The first step is to understand if you are an HR specialist or a generalist.

If you have a bachelor’s degree in human resources and gained experience working in HR. In that case, you already have some exposure to a number of different areas within human resources. However, as you consider your next career step, you will need to decide whether you intend to specialize in a particular aspect of human resources, such as recruiting or benefits or offer general human resources support across a number of disciplines.

There are usually multiple opportunities for both specialists and generalists, so which you choose is a matter of preference. However, if your education and experience so far have tended to be in a particular area of HR, you must specialize. 

You can also provide general HR support while having specialist skills in a particular area.

Step 5: Get a Master’s Degree

You can become a human resources consultant without a master’s degree; however, some employers prefer candidates with this level of education. 

Having a master’s degree demonstrates a higher degree of competency and knowledge that sets you apart from other job candidates and HR consultants. 

For a master’s degree in HR, you take courses in subjects such as business ethics, dispute resolution, and advanced labor law. You can find online classes that will fit your schedule while you are working part-time or full-time in an HR profession.

Step 6: Build a Professional Website

This will help potential clients find you and learn about your consulting services. You can create a free website using WordPress, but consider purchasing the site’s premium plan (eight dollars a month)—it provides:

  • A custom Web domain
  • Advanced design tools
  • Google Analytics support
  • Ability to monetize your website with ads

Step 7: Set Up a Corporate Bank Account

To avoid blending your personal finances and business, open a checking account that is dedicated to your business. Having a corporate bank account will also aid in writing checks for business expenses, tracking receipts, and preparing tax returns a lot easier.  

Step 8: Build a Client Base

All HR consultants need to start networking and build a client base. 

There are multiple ways you can do this, such as getting recommendations through prior college or work contacts or joining a professional organization that offers ways you can publicize your services. You can also advertise your skills through HR-related websites or write on HR-related topics for a blog or for trade publications.

Be prepared to utilize a large portion of your time building references, marketing your services, and reaching out to potential clients.

Step 9: Develop an Online Presence

In today’s digital era, having an online presence is a must. Your product is your skillset, and having a presence on social media is critical to building a brand as it builds credibility.

Think about your potential clients. Are they on Twitter? Are they on Facebook? You want to be seen by the right people, so you need to be on the right platforms.

Step 10: Mentorship

Becoming an HR consultant can be intimidating, but you don’t have to go it alone. You can find a coach who helps build you up and increase your confidence. You can find an enthusiastic mentor from your contacts and network or find someone who mentors for a living. 

Find a mentor who has reached far in their career where you would like to go in the future. This can be someone in the human resources department who has experience in a specific area of interest to you. They can help advise you with their guidance, nurture your career, and introduce you to individuals who can advance your skills and interests.

Step 11: Be Willing to Take Projects

Look for opportunities in your present work situation to expand your skills by taking on demanding projects. Not only can tasks like these help you grow as a human resources professional, but they can also lead to more interesting project work and perhaps even consideration for promotion.

Step 12: Develop Communication Skills

Communication is a big part of your work as an HR consultant. Whether you are advising a client, managing conflict, or negotiating compensation with a new hire, good communication skills can make a difference to your success. 

Consider taking in-person or online classes or reading books to help you develop your communication skills.

How to Become an HR Consultant at Your Organization?

Here are some steps to follow if you want to become an HR consultant at your organization:

1. Volunteer for a Work Project 

A prospective HR consultant must always be willing to work. So, if you are looking to progress towards an HR consultancy position, then you must become willing to learn how they tackle projects.

You can request a senior HR professional or senior to assign you the task, or you can work voluntarily on a task as a side project to practice the skills and learn the process.

This way, you will not just practice the skills required to become an HR consultant, but you are also building a portfolio to showcase your skills when the right time arrives.

2. Participate in Solving Hurdles

Again, voluntarily taking over the projects and making efforts to solve issues reflects your willingness to learn more and become a better professional. 

So, you can work and suggest solutions to your supervisors’ management problems in their daily activities. This way, you will help get noticed, and your chances for a better job role will increase.

3. Develop a Portfolio 

Make sure that the projects you are helping on are getting recorded in your portfolio so that when the right time to apply arrives, you can present it to your recruiters. 

This way, they will know that these projects as proof of your work, and such practices will reflect your passion and interest. In addition, a great portfolio will embellish your skills and complement your HR consultancy job application.

4. Apply to an HR Consulting Job

When you think you have developed the desired skills, proceed to progress in your career. 

Submitting a job application in an HR consulting business with a proven work track record and a brilliant portfolio will enhance your chances of selection. Not just because you are experienced and have the needed skills, but because you have proved in real-time to your seniors that you can learn more, thus delivering more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers provided by our experts regarding a human resources consultants role:

What is the difference between an HR manager and an HR consultant?

When comparing HR consultants versus HR managers, the main difference is consultants are outsourced experts brought in to strategically direct a business. In contrast, HR managers are internal employees who manage recurring and strategic HR. In addition, in some businesses, companies share the HR functions amongst various staff.

How do I become an HR Consultant?

No official qualifications are needed for an HR consultant, nor is the need for an HR consultant degree. However, you will ideally have five years of in-house HR experience to build human resources skills and a strong will to succeed in your own business.

Is Human Resources Consulting a good career?

Becoming a human resources consultant is a great career path with interesting work, daily challenges, professional independence, and a steady job market.

While this position requires an individual to juggle many responsibilities, from hiring and recruitment to training and labor relationships, most HR consultants report high levels of job satisfaction.

Additionally, human resources specialists typically make more than the average salary. While the salary can range anywhere from under $30,000 to over $110,000 in a year, the usual average salary for an HR consultant is around $65,000 a year.

How do HR Consultants get their first clients?

Follow these six steps to get your first HR client: 

  1. Understand how to sell your services.
  2. Research the industry.
  3. Build your network.
  4. Prepare your pitch. 
  5. Provide solutions. 
  6. Create a pricing strategy.

Su​​mmary

If you are interested in having a career in HR consultancy, go through the provided guide on becoming an HR consultant.

Familiarize yourself with the skillset required to become one. Develop a sound understanding of terms like HR policies and procedures, strategic planning, organizational development, business leadership, executive communication skills, and human resource management.

In addition, you must know how to analyze data and develop reports for management regarding specific HR projects.

Good familiarity with software and advanced service tools is also crucial for auditing. The HR consultant needs to check the client’s HR activities to verify they are compliant and offer other HR-related training to each client.

We can say that a human resources consultant is a good role, which is also rewarding in financial and quality aspects.

Note that HR consultants provide human capital guidance and advice to various companies. For example, they develop human resource models, advise businesses on policies and procedures, and resolve any issues that a company might have with its workforce. They also assist with recruiting and training new employees. 

Once you fulfill the steps mentioned above, you can start applying to the HR consultant roles to land your dream client.

 

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.