Human Resources Mini-Guide


Human Resources – used to be called Personnel – it’s all about people and achieving an organisation’s goals through their workforce.

You may be involved in finding the right people for roles and looking after them when they’re employed by your company; making sure that their rights are protected and that their benefits are effectively taken care of. You will also need to be aware of employment law and health and safety legislation. Pay and Benefits, Contracts, Recruitment and Training and organisational development often fall under the HR umbrella. You’ll also be focused on productivity, staff engagement and performance management.


What skills and qualifications will I need?


Interpersonal skills – you’ll need to be able to find out about candidates and employees quickly, communication will be key to this role. You’ll be using sensitivity, tact, empathy and discretion – much of the information you will be privy to will be confidential.


Teamwork – working with a variety of people throughout the department and the company.


You will have excellent organisational and administrative skills, together with good time management and IT skills. You may be required to manage a budget and administer a pay and benefits scheme, so financial awareness and numeracy skills will be essential.


Multitasking! There will never just be one project on the go – you need to be able to manage your time and workload – give examples about how you have done this whilst completing your degree.


Degrees in Business, Maths, Science and the Humanities will give you analytical skills which would be useful in HR. You will be able to influence a business through planning and development in your department. You must be able to see the bigger picture as well as have an eye for detail.


Analytical skills and business awareness – you will need to plan business development and understand the dynamics of teamwork.


What else do I need to know?


There will be times where you will need to be diplomatic – for example if a company is going through a period of change due to redundancies or a merger or if there is disciplinary action to be taken against an employee.


Depending on the size of the company, you may be responsible for identifying training needs and arranging courses and individual development programmes.


You can undertake further training and personal development with qualifications in HR.


Top Tip


Get some work experience – apply to companies for internships or a training scheme. You will strengthen your application if you have some experience and can demonstrate your interpersonal skills. Be prepared to show that you are able to read human behaviour and body language.


Where can I get more information?


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the professional body for HR and has a website here: