How to Become an HR Intern without Experience
Looking for a guide on how to become an HR intern? Then you came to the right place.
Internships are the first step to attaining a full-time job in a department you love. They help you learn, grow and make mistakes. However, internship programs can be extensive and hard to get into.
Some programs need you to have prior experience, even though internships are considered the first step for many candidates. However, there is no need to fret, as there are many factors that you can do to land your first human resources internship.
Are you trying to figure out a way to become a Human resources intern without much experience? Anxious about not getting into an excellent job without any extensive prior experience?
Don't worry; you are in the right place to get some solid advice about human resource internships. This article is your guideline on grasping a real job without any experience whatsoever. So, let's get started. But, before that, let's talk about how the HR functions:
An HR department looks after:
- Administrative support
- Organizing company events
- HR policies
- Updating employee absence records
- Job alerts
- Job postings
- Filing hr documents
- Being aware of labor laws
- Market salary information
- Fair labor standards act
- The company's benefits packages
- Performance evaluation
- Employee relations
- Payroll data
- Looking after the organization's culture
- Setting disciplinary actions
- Checking employee information
- Filing hr documents
- Being well-versed in company policies
- And working on inspiring employee growth in the company.
A sure way to kickstart to attain a Human Resource internship is by attaining a bachelor's degree in communications, human resources, education, or business management.
However, having a degree in hand is not the only main thing. Many companies now prioritize experience over degrees, so hiring managers prefer hr interns or other interns with experience before integrating them into HR teams.
If you are figuring out leads for how to initiate your HR career, let's get started by giving you the critical information. We provide a holistic guide below on becoming a Human Resources intern.
Step 1: Get Your College Degree
As generations change, degrees do not hold the same importance as before. However, to get into HR, it is still essential to get a reasonable degree from a reputable university as an HR manager requires that.
Human resources internships entail knowing your field, as an intern's responsibilities lie in giving valuable insight, good communication skills, human resource management, organizational skills, and being detail-oriented. A degree teaches hard and soft skills, including speaking and negotiation skills and valuable knowledge of human resources.
If your school offers an HR program, it will include organizational theory, legal issues, compliance, performance management, employee training, working on labor legislation, company databases, and growth. With a university degree in hand, it elevates your position to get into an internship.
You gain a higher edge than your classmates if you have an active history in extracurriculars, volunteering, and projects.
Step 2: Reach out to the Right People
When you are entering the job market, ensure to reach out to the right network of people. Build your connections, and expand your reach to get to know HR business partners.
For example, you can maintain a relationship with your classmates so they can refer you to an internship once they land an opportunity. Or remember to attend career events to meet industry leaders, such as an hr generalist or an hr manager. Professionals are always working for suitable candidates for open positions in the job market.
If done correctly, you will land a solid group of connections who will mentor and lead you to a fruitful future. Human resources mean working with people, so building a network is helpful in your efforts to find a job in the field.
Remember to use social media platforms, join diverse HR organizations and associations and look for people who will evolve your circle. Furthermore, there is always an option to connect with professors with connections, reach out to alumni who are already working in their respective fields or contact HR staff who work for companies of particular interest to you.
Step 3: Put Effort into Crafting Your Resume
Before applying, update your resume with the skills and experience related to the human resources department. Look at job opportunities that suit your goal. Even if you have zero experience in an HR position, you can identify various skills gained during your education that make you a top candidate for an HR internship.
First and foremost, build a resume that sets you apart. There is a lot of demand for HR internships, and there are numerous human resources interns, so how do you ensure your resume stands out?
- Have a good resume layout
- Keep it to one page
- Work on font, size, and styling
- Focus on impact
Secondly, be confident that you know what content to put on your resume. Look at job boards and internship programs, and see what is in demand. Here is an extensive list of things you must include in your CV:
Full name, first and last name, your email address, as professional as possible, and sometimes linking your social media profiles such as LinkedIn or Medium.
An objective lists down the motivations and aspirations for the job.
The typical format consists of chronological logic, starting from any latest experience.
As mentioned previously, there are two types of skills, soft and hard skills. Soft skills include attributes such as communication, leadership, openness, etc. Hard skills refer to technical knowledge or anything learned through experience. So stuff like specific software or tools.
Ensure to add your university name, program name, and the years attended. GPA is an excellent addition to the resume, as it highlights your academic career. Adding honors and academic achievements embellish the resume further.
If you have any space left on the one page, which should be your entire resume, then feel free to include your hobbies, habits, interests, or achievements.
For an intern, in the case of not having any experience, there is no need to worry about the gaps in your resume, as HR managers are not accepting you to have a fully realized resume.
However, as a fresh graduate, you need to ensure that your coursework list is fully filed and highlights your HR or administrative courses, academic accolades, and general skills.
Think of the skills you can develop at your university:
- Becoming an RA.
- Working at the university magazine.
- Becoming a professor's assistant.
- Becoming the head of any student-led club.
- Any summer internships.
You can gain many different interpersonal skills in such positions, like communication, problem-solving skills, and time-management skills. So no matter the internship you're applying for, the HR department will always consider these skills highly.
Don't worry if you do not have a lot of assistant positions on your resume. You still probably participated in campus events or helped out in multiple other ways.
Step 4: Get a Certification
Getting a certification is highly valued by human resources professionals, as it can show your professional achievements demonstrate your proficiency in the HR field. You usually have to take an exam to showcase your skills and knowledge to obtain a certificate. The requirements for each certification vary.
Top certifications for HR candidates include Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP), Professional in Human Resources (PHR), and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). In addition, the Society for HRM is a professional membership association that offers several of its certifications. SHRM also has student chapters at various college and university campuses, allowing students to network with HR professionals and find mentors.
You can nourish your skills with a certificate in human resource skills. Certification in the relevant field assists you in learning the skills from a professional standpoint and increases your chances of landing a good internship. You can get an HR Generalist certification to boost your chances of getting an HR internship.
Step 5: Make a Cover Letter
Cover letters are becoming increasingly important for companies, showing that individuals are investing time to understand the company's vision.
Once you research the company, write a statement about why your vision aligns with theirs and why you want to work specifically for them. Your cover letter should include what plans you will have for the company, what changes you want in the HR department as a human resources intern, and how you can effectively bring forth positive change.
A good cover letter can make your application attention-worthy and become the final push to land any internship you apply for.
Your main goal is to learn and gain practical experience with the internship. The cover letter showcases your motivation for the job and the company.
You don't need to mention any experience (especially if you have none) as long as you explain why you want the internship you're applying for.
Step 6: Ace the Interview
After attaining your degree, college credit, skills, and certification alongside the cover letter and resume, the only thing left to do is acing the interview.
Be confident about your skills and propose why you are an excellent resource for the internship at the company. If you deliver well and with ease, then there are few chances that you won't be a viable candidate for selection.
Some of the most common questions asked in an HR interview are:
- Why are you interested in the HR department?
- Do you have any experience with human resources?
- Why do you want to work for this company, specifically?
Only two queries should be on your mind once you are clear about your game plan over the six steps above. First, how to be a great HR intern, and second, how to have a good internship experience?
Frequently Asked Questions
Here's a list of frequently asked questions about becoming an HR intern.
What Makes a Good HR Intern?
Skills make or break a person. So there is no question that employers will be seeking you if you are an excellent HR intern.
If you're a student working on getting into the HR field, then remember to continue working on your business strategy, communication, and energy, as these are needed talents for an HR intern. Hard skills like software matter as much as soft skills in a Human Resources department, so work to develop those as well. Always be on the lookout to stand out amongst thousands of applicants, so work on your resume and interview skills and figure out the current trend with employers. Research and tune yourself according to what you discover, and keep volunteering and practicing to become the best version of yourself. Hard work, genuine interest, and talent will take you further than anyone else in the field.
How to Have a Good Internship Experience?
A good internship experience should open you up to a land of endless opportunities and avenues. The internship should equip you with advice from your supervisor and insights about the best ways to become a great asset to the HR department. You should build your network, get close to people beyond company time, and ask your supervisor to write a recommendation for you. Finally, remember to utilize the internship to the maximum capacity, as that can transition you to your first entry-level position in HR.
If this advice rings true to you and the steps look like something you can efficiently work on, you are closer to your HR internship than you think. Just follow these simple steps for a guaranteed elevation to your ambitions.
New to Human Resources and are looking to become an HR Intern? We recommend taking our HR Certification Courses. You will learn how to cultivate your skillset in human resources, build your HR network, craft an excellent HR resume and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after HR Internship. As mentioned above, certifications can give you an edge over many other candidates.
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.