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Top 9 Business Workforce Experience Tips

Business Workforce Experience: Workforce (WF) is a broad field. WF  professionals design compensation programs, administer benefits packages, ensure employee safety, hire and fire employees, provide training to employees and managers, and communicate critical information company-wide. In a field that covers so many different disciplines, some WF professionals need help finding ways to get started in their careers or expand their areas of expertise. Here are some tips on how to gain experience in workforce.

Business Workforce Experience

1. Find an internship in an HR department.

Since internships are meant specifically for people to gain experience in a field, they’re the first step for many people who want to learn more about human resources. Because there is a great deal of administrative work in WF, many large and mid-sized departments regularly hire interns to help.

Business Workforce Experience

2. Look for work with your current company.

If you’re currently employed, there may be projects going on in your own company’s HR department that need staffing. Contact your HR representative and ask whether you can help. Not all projects involve confidential data, so you might be able to gain hands-on HR experience and learn more about your company in the process. If you already work in a division of your company’s HR department, volunteer to help out in other divisions. For example, if you work in the benefits department, you might offer to help the recruitment department interview candidates at an upcoming career fair.

Business Workforce Experience

3. Volunteer for a nonprofit organization.

Many small nonprofit groups do not have dedicated HR professionals, and there are no special credentials required to practice HR. If you’re willing to work for free to gain HR experience, volunteering can help you gain exposure to higher level work than you might find in an entry-level HR job.

Business Workforce Experience

4. Consider taking an administrative support job in human resources.

Because HR is a field with a great deal of paperwork to process, there are usually a number of administrative positions in personnel departments. Many people seeking careers in human resources overlook these entry-level roles, but the people who fill them often are promoted over time. Many HR leaders started out as file clerks or receptionists.

Business Workforce Experience

5. Work for a staffing company.

Agencies that place temporary personnel can be a great way to gain experience in areas that overlap into HR. Staffing companies evaluate, interview, hire and place large volumes of candidates, and experience in these areas can position you for a corporate recruiting position in a larger HR department. Unlike HR departments, staffing agencies frequently hire people from sales positions or recent college graduates, and usually do not require HR experience to get started.

Business Workforce Experience

6. Join an organization for HR professionals.

Networking with other HR professionals can help you find entry-level opportunities that you might not find elsewhere. Many open positions are not advertised, but are filled through word-of-mouth. Joining a professional association and attending meetings and other networking events regularly will help you meet people who are filling HR positions. Most HR organizations hold an annual conference, which is another opportunity to gain exposure to HR professionals and learn more about various topics in the field.

Business Workforce Experience

7. Pursue certification.

The Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI) offers 4 types of certification: Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR), and certification for HR professionals in the state of California (PHR-CA and SPHR-CA). The Society for Human Resource Management offers extensive educational opportunities, including preparation courses for the various levels of certification.

Business Workforce Experience

8. Network online with people in HR.

There are numerous blogs, Facebook and LinkedIn groups, Twitter lists and other online networking opportunities available for people who want to connect with others in the profession. Many HR associations now offer online networking opportunities as well, which allow you to connect with hiring professionals outside your geographic area. The Society for Human Resource Management, for example, has a members-only section of its website called “HR Talk,” which allows members to discuss a variety of HR-related topics.

Business Workforce Experience

9. Be open to starting out in different disciplines within HR.

Human resources is a profession with a broad subset of areas, from compensation and benefits to recruiting to labor relations. Most HR professionals (especially those who rise to an executive level) spend time in several of these areas at some point in their careers. It’s generally easier to find work in benefits in the fall, when HR departments are getting ready for open enrollment. Recruiting departments tend to be busiest at the beginning of a fiscal year and after the holidays, when hiring picks up, so those are the best times to volunteer to help. Compensation departments typically have a set cycle for reviewing organizational pay practices, so determining what that time frame is will help you choose the best time to offer your services in order to gain experience.


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