Landing an Internship in Human Resources

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Landing an Internship in Human Resources

You’re a people person. The idea of managing a company’s most valuable resource—its employees—is exciting to you. If this sounds like you, a career in human resources is a great career path to explore. From helping to attract top talent, to managing employees and creating programs and strategies to maximize satisfaction and performance; HR is a dynamic field where you will encounter an ever-changing series of challenges. As you know, a solid internship can be invaluable for your career development. Here are a few tips to help you land that HR internship:

1.      Research the Specific Industry. HR departments generally perform the same functions, but there are many unique challenges, concerns and issues that are industry-specific. Do your research! Make sure you know the nuances that apply to your industry in terms of HR and as a whole.

2.      Familiarize Yourself with Hot HR Issues of the Day. You should be able to speak intelligently about recent issues, events and legislation that impacts the HR department’s processes. Check out the websites of HR organizations such as Professionals in Human Resources. Companies like, that provide HR products and services, often share industry-relevant news on their blogs. You’d be surprised to learn how little some people prepare for interviews! Going this little bit further can produce big time results.

3.      Know What to Look for in an HR Internship. You should never do an internship just so you have something to put on a resume. Use your internship experiences to their full advantage! Look for quality opportunities that will offer training and experience in key areas of this field. Examples include staff development programs, diversity and inclusion, recruitment, workforce planning, information systems and technology for human resources, counseling, organizational development, staff retention and employee retention. If you already have a specific role, industry or career track in mind, choose your opportunities accordingly.

4.      Know the Difference Between a Generalist and Specialist. If the interview will be for a generalist HR position, for example, you should be aware of broader concepts like equal opportunity, information systems, recruitment practices, occupational health and safety. If you will be working a specialist HR internship specialties could include counseling, staff retention, staff development and training, grievance resolution, mediation and organizational design. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the role you will be playing so that you can prepare your internship applications accordingly.

Human Resources is ever-growing field, and can be quite competitive; but a quality internship where you can really experience day-to-day life in the typical HR department is priceless. Choose your opportunities carefully and do your research to stand out from the pack.

This is a post by Anna Hicks.