How to become a HR Manager

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become a HR Manager? Besides having experience in the HR industry, you will also need to posses the right skills, knowledge, and qualifications to make the most of your career. We’ve created a quick guide to help you develop your career in the world of HR and progress onto a managerial position.

What is a HR Manager?

Firstly, you need to research what is involved in being a HR Manager. Think about the role specifications and what you’ll need to know and be able to do in order to perform effectively.

A HR Manager oversees the smooth running of a company liaising the senior management team and the other employees.  Some of their responsibilities include recruitment, strategic planning and coordinating the administrative tasks of the company.

With the need for HR talent in the industry, becoming a HR Manager can be a high-paying and rewarding role.

Education and Qualifications

Entering the HR profession is possible through several different routes and may not require you to have a bachelor’s degree or any other qualifications. However, HR managerial roles are highly sought after, so getting qualified could give you an edge over the competition. Many employers will even put mandatory qualification requirements in the job description, so make sure you do your research before applying!

Here are some of the different qualifications that might prove vital in securing a job as a HR Manager.

Higher National Diploma (HND)

A Higher National Diploma is a qualification provided by colleges in the UK. A full time HND can take up two years to complete or three to four years part time and is equivalent to two years at university.

Available HND subjects that can assist your route into HR: Human Resources, Business and Management, Psychology and Social Administration.

Undergraduate Programmes

Undergraduate credited programmes in HR management can help you gain, skills and knowledge in the management of important workplace situations, executing business social responsibility strategies and diversity management.

Training Schemes

Training schemes such as apprenticeships and graduate schemes are a great way to kick-start your career at an entry level but you’ll continue to see the benefits throughout your career.

Postgraduate Programmes

Postgraduate programmes can really make you stand out when you are applying for jobs. You can, of course, attend a university to gain your qualification but you could also consider studying for an online master’s degree.

CIPD Qualifications

The CIPD is the most highly regarded professional qualification for HR and L&D in the UK and many other countries across the world. For mid to high level positions within the HR sector, a CIPD qualification is considered vital by many employers.


CIPD Qualifications

CIPD qualifications are internationally recognised and offer you an accredited route into the HR industry. Whether you’re starting out in your HR career or already working within a support level role, the CIPD Level 3 Certificate in HR Practice or Level 3 Diploma in HR Practice will provide you with a strong foundation of all the areas in HR and develop the essential skills and confidence you need, to progress your career further.

On successful completion of the Level 3 programme, you can then progress your HR career into a managerial role. The CIPD Level 5 Certificate in HR Management or Level 5 Diploma in HR management qualification will give you a deeper understanding of all aspects of the profession and help you get qualified towards your professional development.

Work Experience 

To become a HR Manager, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of the business and commercial world. Work experience will help you develop the correct skills and knowledge you need to progress in the world of HR.

  • Send out speculative letters to companies asking for work experience or shadowing opportunities.
  • Check different job sites online for any vacancies available
  • Network and get in touch with key people in the industry that you can speak to

If it is not possible for you to find a job in HR then find a vacancy in relevant roles first, such as, recruitment, training and development or supervisory roles.

Once you’ve got on the HR ladder, the more experience you gain the better. Remember to always keep seeking out new responsibilities and opportunities for growth within your role and you’ll be on your way to being ready for a managerial position.

Apply for a management position

Before you apply for a management role, make sure you have the following:

  • At least 5 years of work experience in an HR role
  • Excellent leadership, communication and interpersonal skills
  • An excellent understanding of employee and labour law
  • The ability to work within a stated business plan, develop staff and work according to the needs of a business.

Working towards a HR management role is definitely achievable. Click here to find out more about our CIPD HR courses and get one step closer to that dream job.


Posted August 22, 2018