Best HR Articles HR Career Development HR Certification Job Seeker Tips

Human Resources: Why Won't Your Degree Land You That Plum Job?

Photo courtesy of

In Human Resources, a college degree is an important asset in the workforce, because obtaining a degree shows that you can follow through on your commitments. The coursework you complete for your degree also gives you the knowledge you need to enter graduate-level programs or apply for entry-level jobs in your field.

Unfortunately, some graduates believe that their college degrees are the only things they need to qualify for their dream jobs. If you do not have the qualifications required for the position, even your degree will not convince a recruiter to pass your resume on to a hiring manager. There are several reasons you might not land a job even if you have a college degree.

Getting Your First Job in Human Resources 

As a college graduate, you might qualify for a job as a human resources assistant or entry-level recruiter, but there is a good chance you will not qualify for jobs that require several years of experience in the human resources field. A human resources generalist, for example, typically needs to have experience in recruiting, compensation and benefits management, employee performance management, and several other functional areas of human resources. As someone who just received a college degree, you may not have that required experience.

Obtaining the Experience You Need for HR Success 

If you have worked in the human resources field for several years, you may not have the right experience for the job. Some nonprofit organizations want to hire human resources professionals who have nonprofit experience. If you spent five years working for a for-profit organization in the private sector, you might not have the experience needed to make a smooth transition from your current job into another position.

Why am I not getting the Human Resource Jobs?

In some cases, you may have presented a stellar resume and had all the right experience for the job, but you didn’t get the position because the recruiter doesn’t think you are a good fit for the organization. Andrea Kay of “USA Today” says some managers pass on otherwise good candidates because of how they come across in their interviews. Some hiring managers said they did not hire candidates who complained about past jobs or got defensive about past work experiences. Sharing too much personal information with an interviewer is cited as another reason why some qualified candidates are not offered jobs.

If you are worried about how you come across in interviews, work with a career counselor or ask a professional you trust to conduct a mock interview with you.

Advice for Landing a Job in Human Resources

Your college degree can open doors, but you also need to have the right experience for the job. If you have been turned down for a human resources position, consider volunteering for a nonprofit to gain experience in recruiting or managing workers. If your college degree was not directly related to the human resources field, you should also consider taking courses in recruiting, employment law, and other related areas.

Guest Author: Nancy Anderson is the communities and article Editor for  Nancy has 10 years of experience in the online job search business with Beyond.  Nancy’s team produces dozens of articles every month for top internet sites.  Follow Nancy and the Beyond team on

Tess Taylor

Tess Taylor is the Founder and CEO of HR Knows

You may also like