HR Graduates – Getting on the first step of your Career Ladder

Posted by Red Tree on 21/11/18 in Advice & Tips

HR Graduates

Getting on the first step of your Career Ladder

Recently, my colleagues and I have had the pleasure of assisting some HR graduates / almost graduates with CV advice in NCIRL.

It is always a pleasure dealing with people who are positive and motivated about their career and as HR is such a competitive market, it is crucial to have all the essentials covered to be that ‘rockstar’ HR graduate that all the companies are vying for.

Here are some tips on some of the essentials:

Aim for perfection in the CV

  • A 2-page, professional font, typo free CV is not just important, it is essential. Simple things like having justified paragraphs, consistency with punctuation and a 2-line personal profile make the difference between a person getting a call from the hiring manager / recruiter or not.  Ensure that the grammar is correct, there are no Capital Letters in the middle of sentences and use the header space for name, address and contact details if needs be.

Truth – the whole truth and nothing but

  • As a seasoned recruiter I have come across incidences where people have put information on their CV that is not quite true!! If you put on your CV that you got a 2:1 honours grade and didn’t – remember that a lot of companies seek transcripts of your final results. Hobbies and interests are another one that people can get caught out at interview so if you claim to be an avid literature reader and haven’t read a book since Leaving Cert’s Hamlet it might be time to take that off!

Think like a Recruiter/Hiring Manager – and keep it professional

Chameleon Thinking

  • Currently with a booming economy, candidate shortage and everyone vying for top talent Hiring Managers are seeking HR Graduates who will take up a role within an organisation and STAY! Having a proven ability to adapt to a challenging working environment or situations is a big plus in this market. Any previous work experience during college that might have tried and tested you a bit is a positive as it displays qualities such as adaptability, resilience and staying power which are crucial factors securing a top class role .

Key Achievements

  • This is key in any CV and is the piece that can set your CV apart from the rest. College, 2nd level achievements, sporting, voluntary work and achievements during part time work are all things that should be highlighted.  Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an important initiative in most organisations so having employees who have a proven interest in volunteering is a big plus. Seeing evidence that someone is a high achiever in sport / work / academics will set your CV apart from others who may not have highlighted it on their CV.

Relevant Work Experience

  • First step on the career ladder without having HR experience is always the trickiest step to take. Transferable skills are key here so when looking for those part time roles during the college years make sure that they are customer focused, have an administrative element and require you to think on your feet as these will be essential skills in your HR career.

Referee Details

  • It is perfectly acceptable to put “References Available on Request” but putting a referee’s name and mobile number on a CV is not and could be in breach of data protection rules.


For more CV tips from our team, click here!

To view and apply for our latest HR roles, follow this link.

NCIRL have excellent courses if you are interested in developing your HR knowledge/ further your HR career, which are CIPD accredited. We have linked them here.

If you are a recent HR graduate, click here to read why you should register with a recruitment agency.

To get in touch with Denise Grant, our HR and Managed Services Consultant, email or call 01 5541292 today.