Transferable Skills to the HR Profession

Julie Johnson headshot.
Julie Johnson
Talent Acquisition Partner
January 24, 2022

Are you considering a change in your profession? Human resources is a great career field option for individuals who have excellent people skills from industries like education, nursing and the service industry. At That’s Good HR, we don’t just practice good HR ourselves, we also help leading Indianapolis-area companies to staff their HR departments. And we can help candidates determine which transferable skills are best to highlight in their resume and interview for entry-level HR positions, with a special insight from our direct experience in human resources.

Feeling burnt out?

Especially over the last two years of the pandemic, a number of career fields have been increasingly burnt out. We’ve talked about the “Big Quit” at large, but employees in a few specific industries are really feeling the crunch of the pandemic in their careers. In a recent survey from Cross Country Healthcare, Inc., only 32% of nurses are satisfied in their current occupation, compared to 52% before the pandemic. 

In fact, 29% of nurses reported that their desire to leave just not their position but the nursing field entirely is dramatically higher now as opposed to pre-pandemic. Teachers are feeling the burnout as well, with 25% considering leaving education as a result of the pandemic, which is a major increase over past years, according to a 2021 Rand Corporation report. If you are feeling burnt out, a career change may be just the ticket to improve your job satisfaction.

Industries that transfer well to HR

According to Greta Cline, CFO/COO and Partner at That’s Good HR, in addition to education and nursing, other careers that can make a smooth transition to entry level human resource positions include flight attendants, trainers and jobs in the service industry. A big part of working human resources is, obviously, working with humans — so if you have significant experience with customer service and enjoy interacting regularly with your coworkers and clients, then chances are good that you would find great satisfaction in an HR career. 

For a number of HR professionals, they “fell into” their career working with job candidates. Although some colleges and universities offer undergraduate degrees in human resources, it’s not always a standard across higher education, so many people find a passion for HR when they start taking on new tasks in a different position. 

Some of the most common undergraduate degrees that HR employees possess can include business administration, marketing or PR/communication, education, psychology or other social sciences. Although many open HR positions require a bachelor’s degree, it rarely needs to be in human resources; companies looking to fill entry-level HR jobs are likely to accept your relevant transferable skills. Although you may need to take a step back in pay for an entry-level position, your job satisfaction can be expected to be much higher than a career you’ve burnt out on. 

Identifying transferable skills

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), “building positive relationships is an essential skill in human resources.” Even without official HR experience, there are a number of ways you can break into the industry with an entry-level HR position. That’s Good HR can help you structure your resume to highlight any HR-related skills you may have acquired in previous positions. Maybe you’ve helped with recruiting or training new employees in the past, or been part of budgeting or payroll administration. Make sure to include this in your resume, and you can explain in your cover letter or interview how the experience helped you realize your interest in the field of human resources. 

If possible, you can also try to get involved more directly in the HR department at your current company by shadowing someone or volunteering to take on HR-related assignments. Of course, if you think this may add to the burnout you’re already experiencing, you could try to learn more about the HR community outside of work. Studying for an HR certification, joining a local SHRM chapter or other association and networking with local HR professionals could be a great way to focus on new changes instead of the burnout while you search for a new position. 

If you are ready to make the transition to human resources, That’s Good HR is here to help! You can search open entry-level HR positions now, submit your resume or contact us directly at 317-469-4141.