Job Hunting

How to Land Your Dream HR Job in Further Education: Tips and Tricks

June 14, 2023

Table of Contents

Are you looking to land your dream HR Manager job in the UK further education sector? Then this article is for you. We'll take a look at how to identify career goals, develop your professional brand, network and build relationships, prepare for interviews and follow up after interviewing - all of which are essential steps when applying for HR manager jobs. Working in HR within the further education and skills sector has its own unique challenges too so make sure you read on if that's your chosen sector.

Are you looking to elevate your career in human resources? At BoltJobs, we share a multitude of opportunities tailored to your specific needs and aspirations. Our offerings range from entry-level roles such as HR Assistant to more senior positions such as HR Manager and HR Officer roles. For those aiming at strategic and leadership roles, our HR Director and Head of HR vacancies might just be the perfect fit for you.

Understanding Human Resources

It's essential to remember that HR is fundamentally a business function. Although being a "people person" can be an advantage, understanding the role of HR in a business context is crucial for achieving success in this field.

Roles and Responsibilities

The further education and skills sector in the UK is a vibrant, dynamic and ever-changing environment. It’s an industry that relies on human resources professionals to ensure its success. HR managers play a key role in creating strong teams of people who can deliver results for their organisation, whether they are directly delivering training or in support roles.

HR Managers are responsible for recruiting staff, managing employee relations, developing talent management strategies and overseeing performance management processes. They also create job descriptions, design employee handbooks and develop policies to help maintain a positive work environment. Furthermore, they are often involved in the hiring process by reviewing CVs, interviewing candidates and making offers of employment. Additionally, they manage the entire employee lifecycle from onboarding new hires to motivating employees during their tenure with an organisation as well as dealing with disciplinary actions when necessary.

Within the FE sector, HR Managers can be expected to take on other responsibilities related to leadership, administration and safeguarding, such as a knowledge of the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework.

Educational Requirements and Degrees

Bachelor's Degree

To begin your journey in the HR field, it is generally expected to hold a bachelor's degree, such as an undergraduate human resources degree, a business administration bachelor's, or a degree in a closely related field. Earning a bachelor's degree will provide you with the foundation needed to understand the key aspects of human resources management, such as recruitment, training, and employee development.

Master's Degree

Although not always required, pursuing a master's degree in human resources can increase your chances of obtaining higher-level positions in the HR field. Furthermore, obtaining a master's degree can allow you to gain in-depth knowledge of specialised topics, like organisational development, labour relations, and more. Some HR professionals opt for a master's degree in HR or a closely related field, such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration) with an HR concentration.


While degrees are important, having an HR certification can demonstrate your commitment to staying updated with the latest trends and best practices in the field.

In the UK, various professional certifications are available for those interested in a career in Human Resources. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is the most prestigious professional body in this field. It offers several levels of certifications depending on your experience and career goals.

  1. CIPD Level 3 Foundation Certificate in People Practice: This is suitable for those starting their HR career, or those looking to increase their HR skills.
  2. CIPD Level 5 Associate Diploma in People Management: This is more suitable for existing HR practitioners looking to further their knowledge and expertise.
  3. CIPD Level 7 Advanced Diploma in Strategic People Management: This is targeted towards experienced and senior HR professionals seeking strategic knowledge to make a significant impact on their organisations.

Furthermore, you can also consider qualifications from the British Institute of Recruiters (IOR), such as the Certificate in Professional Recruitment. These certifications help in developing skills and enhancing knowledge, thereby boosting your career prospects in the HR sector.

Developing Relevant Skills

To thrive in a human resources job, you need to develop certain core competencies. Some of the key skills required include:


Good communication skills are essential for a successful career in HR. You should be able to effectively convey information, both in writing and verbally, to employees and management. Look for opportunities to enhance your communication skills, such as joining a public speaking club or taking a writing course. Reading books and articles about effective communication can also help you expand your skill set. Here's an article about improving communication skills that you might find useful.


Being able to solve problems effectively is an important skill in HR, as you'll often be required to tackle complex issues that affect employees and the company. Developing your problem-solving skills could involve undertaking training courses in critical thinking, analytical thinking, and decision-making.

You can also hone your skills by practising with puzzles and riddles, as well as learning from experienced HR professionals. Check out this article about mastering problem-solving skills for more tips and techniques.


Empathy is crucial in HR, as it allows you to understand and relate to the feelings of others. This leads to better employee support, conflict resolution, and stronger relationships within the workplace. You can enhance your empathy by actively listening to others, considering their perspectives, and practising mindfulness. Volunteering or participating in courses that focus on emotional intelligence are also great ways to build your empathy skills. This guide on empathy in the workplace offers additional insights and strategies.

Remember, continuously working on these key skills will help you become a more competitive candidate and a better HR professional.

Gaining Work Experience


One of the best ways to gain experience in HR is to find an internship in an HR department. Internships are designed for people to learn about a specific field, making them an excellent first step for those looking to break into human resources. As you complete your internship, take the opportunity to learn from your colleagues and build your professional network.


Another effective approach to getting a job in HR is networking. Attend industry events, conferences, and workshops to meet HR professionals and recruiters. Be proactive in joining professional associations and online communities where you can participate in discussions and demonstrate your knowledge of HR topics.

Don't forget to leverage your existing connections. Reach out to friends, former classmates, and colleagues who might know of HR job opportunities or can introduce you to people in the field. By continuously expanding your network, you increase your chances of landing a job in human resources.

Remember, gaining work experience in HR requires persistence and effort. Keep honing your skills, staying informed about industry trends, and actively pursuing opportunities suited to your career goals. Soon enough, you'll find your way into the world of human resources.

Job Application Process

Tailoring Your CV

Crafting a personalised CV is essential in landing an HR job. Adapt your CV to showcase your education and experience relevant to the specific HR role you’re applying for. Consider creating a personal brand to further distinguish you from other candidates. Formatting and organising your CV in a clear and concise manner will significantly enhance its impact.

ReEad this article for tips on how to perfect your CV.

Impressive Cover Letter

An outstanding cover letter allows you to demonstrate your passion for the HR field and your potential employer. Address the key requirements listed in the job description and explain how your skills and experience make you the perfect candidate. Be concise and use a professional tone, but also let your personality shine.

If you would like to know more about creating a cover letter, check out our article here.

Preparing for Interviews

As an experienced HR professional, you understand the importance of preparing for interviews. Before you even start applying for jobs, it's important to identify your career goals and develop a strong professional brand. You should take the time to research the organisation and role thoroughly so that you can show your knowledge during the interview process. Researching companies’ background information such as their mission statement and core values will give you an edge over those who haven't done so beforehand.

This demonstrates that you are invested in wanting this job and have put effort into learning more about what they do as well as their culture. Additionally, having a comprehensive understanding of commonly asked HR interview questions such as “What would be your ideal work environment?” or “How do you handle difficult employees?” is paramount in order to come up with savvy answers that demonstrate both your experience in human resources management and problem-solving prowess.

Make use of your professional network to gather insights about the company and the HR field by leveraging your networking skills. During the interview, showcase your enthusiasm and passion for HR and how your expertise can contribute to the company's success. Additionally, learn how to stand out amongst other candidates during the interview process.

Follow Up After Interviewing

After an interview, it is important to take the initiative and follow up. A thank-you note or email should be sent within 24 hours of the meeting. This shows appreciation for their time and consideration as well as for keeping you in their minds. Additionally, stay connected with potential employers through networking in the future as it could lead to job offers or referrals. It is also important to stay patient throughout the process; a good job search takes time.

Continue engaging with potential employers by following them on social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter, attending webinars hosted by them, reading industry news related to them, etc., which will help you stand out from other applicants during the hiring process.


How do I start a career in HR?

To start a career in HR, you should first complete a college education in a relevant field, such as business or human resources management. This typically involves completing key courses that support an HR role. Additionally, you can gain professional certifications, such as those offered by the SHRM to improve your expertise and employability.

Is it hard to do HR?

HR can be challenging, as it requires managing various aspects of a company's workforce, such as driving talent acquisition, employee development, and benefits administration. It also involves staying updated with labour laws and creating policies to ensure compliance. However, with the right education and skill set, you can succeed in HR and make an impact in your organisation.

Is it hard to get a job in Human Resources?

Landing an entry-level job in HR may be competitive, but there are proven tactics that can help you break into the field. Networking, tailoring your CV to HR positions, and gaining relevant experience through internships or part-time work will improve your chances of getting hired. Patience and persistence are key when looking to secure a position in the HR industry.

What is important about the job of an HR manager?

The role of an HR Manager is pivotal, primarily due to the responsibility of ensuring fair and equitable treatment of all employees. This multifaceted role encompasses a spectrum of duties including, but not limited to, recruitment, staff training and development, benefits administration, handling of employee relations matters, compliance with labour laws, and the conduction of performance reviews.

It also involves ensuring the precision and relevance of job descriptions and fostering a conducive work environment. An adept HR manager will also employ data-driven methodologies to pinpoint potential areas of enhancement in their organisation's workforce management strategy.

What are the major challenges currently facing HR Managers?

HR Managers encounter a diverse range of obstacles in today's dynamic further education sector. A key challenge lies in attracting and retaining top-notch staff, given the complexities involved in securing candidates with the ideal blend of qualifications and experience for specific roles.

Ensuring adherence to regulations like health and safety laws, data protection laws, employment laws, and safeguarding legislation, while guaranteeing fair treatment and compensation for all employees, adds another layer of complexity.

Moreover, they are expected to stay abreast of industry trends to make insightful decisions about personnel management strategies. An often overlooked aspect is the importance of HR managers attending to their own health and wellbeing, given the stress and demands associated with supporting others in navigating their challenges in the workplace.

How much money can you earn in HR?

The earning potential in the field of Human Resources (HR) in the UK can vary greatly depending on the specific role, the size of the organisation, the industry, and your level of experience and qualifications.

Entry-level positions such as HR Assistants can expect to earn between £18,000 and £22,000 per year. As you move up the career ladder, HR Officers or Advisors might earn anywhere from £25,000 to £40,000 per year.

For senior positions, an HR Manager's salary often ranges from £35,000 to £60,000, and highly experienced HR Directors or Heads of HR can command salaries of £70,000 to £100,000 or more per annum.

Please note that these figures are estimates and actual salaries can vary. It's also worth considering the other benefits that often come with HR roles, such as pension contributions, health insurance, and professional development opportunities.

Michele Andrews
Michele Andrews is a seasoned HR executive with a strong track record in people management, specialising in talent acquisition, growth, and fostering positive workplace cultures across digital start-ups and multi-academy trusts.