HR consultants are externally hired professionals who advise a company on human resources related issues. This can be an incredibly fulfilling role: you’ll take on new challenges, guide people in unfamiliar territory and help to improve workplaces for everyone – all while being your own boss. Below, we explore how to become a HR consultant.
Skills and qualifications
You don’t necessarily need to have a degree, but it can help. At the very least you should have gained a few years of industry experience and taken the opportunity to study for some industry-specific qualifications such as the CIPD Level 5 or Level 7 certificate. If you want to enter the industry quickly after little experience you could consider studying for a master’s degree that specifically focuses on HR.
When you work as a consultant, you’ll take on freelance contracts as and when they suit you. But to keep this pipeline of work coming through, you’ll need plenty of contacts who trust you. This makes networking crucial. By developing relationships with other HR professionals working internally you’ll put yourself at the front of the queue when they search for support. On top of this, referrals from former clients can help you find extra work – always ensure that you leave a client satisfied and you never know where it might take you.
Staying organised as a freelancer can be difficult: you don’t want to experience periods where you’re not working enough, but you also want to avoid working too hard. The best way to stay on top of this is by creating a detailed schedule. Once you know the hours that you want to work and your current capacity, you can accept or decline work based on what works best for you.
Of course, you’ll need support to help you make it as a successful HR consultant though. For a start, specialist payroll software can help you work more efficiently than ever before as you tackle HR issues. On top of this, it can be worth joining a professional body such as the CIPD. By joining a professional organisation, you can meet like-minded professionals, get support with your work and receive any advice on legal matters. Even the best HR professionals work best with support behind them, and you should give yourself every edge by looking for help from software and professional organisations.
Becoming a HR consultant can be incredibly rewarding. And it’s even more exciting when you’re thriving in the industry. By getting the appropriate skills, networking, maintaining a healthy work/life balance and getting support you can push yourself towards becoming a successful HR consultant.
HR Future Staff Writer