Resume Tips for HR Professionals

As an HR professional, it is critical for your resume to emphasize your participation as a true business partner and trusted resource for staff on all levels, not just your function as another administrative arm of a company. Your desire to remain current with employment laws and best practices, thorough understanding of the needs of diverse workforces, and strengths in effectively tying corporate objectives with individual goals are also key “selling points.” Additionally, HR technology is booming and new tools are being introduced all the time, so the ability to readily learn and implement these systems is essential.

Are you a new graduate? Consider highlighting applicable coursework and school projects (even if they were hypothetical). Include leadership roles in school or community organizations and present any relevant internships in a traditional chronological format with day-to-day duties and achievements. Unpaid experience is still experience.

If you are an HR assistant or administrator, focus on critical support provided to higher-level HR personnel, technical competencies, filing/recordkeeping skills, database management abilities, and contributions to key projects. Emphasize dependability and flexibility, including the willingness to take on new responsibilities.

Mid- to executive-level HR professionals often have great stories to tell on a resume. Keep it concise, but be sure to cover the challenge, action, and results when possible. Were you specifically hired to reverse low employee morale? Mention the tactics used and by how much morale improved as evidenced by increased retention rates, satisfaction scores on surveys, and other measurements. Did you work with a mix of union and non-union workforces? Be sure to include those details as well as any applicable accomplishments such as resolving grievances. Were you brought into a company to create its very first HR department? Describe the policies/procedures and programs established, HR personnel recruited, and systems implemented as well as their direct impacts: enhanced compliance, improved performance, and/or streamlined operations.

For individuals making a career change into HR, make the focus of your resume’s prime real estate (the first half of the first page) on transferrable skills and accomplishments. This is best achieved through a hybrid or functional format. For example, I’ve worked with several educational leaders seeking HR roles in other industries. In their case, I let recruiting/staffing, change management, multi-campus oversight, and training and professional development experience shine in a way that can be readily applied to a wide range of organizations. Another common transition is sales to recruiting: relationship building, assessment, and account management skills are a few of the transferrable qualifications to emphasize for these individuals. Furthermore, I’ve often found that if a career changer has leadership experience, many of their duties are HR related by default (especially if they worked for smaller companies and/or ran their own business).

An effective HR resume shows an individual’s balanced dedication between people and processes: saving costs without sacrificing employee benefits, facilitating major company changes without losing staff engagement, and recruiting top talent while also cultivating leaders within existing workforces. As an HR professional, you understand the importance of a strong resume, so be sure to put your best foot forward!

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