How to Become an HR Executive Without Experience

Looking for the steps to become an HR executive without experience? This article covers a step-by-step guide to becoming an HR executive without formal experience.

An HR executive is a technical and highly dynamic role, so you cannot just jump into it without fulfilling the specific qualification criteria and technical competencies.

An HR executive is a top-tier of the HR department, thus they have to oversee the ongoing operations, plan for future projects, and develop strategies for improving the department’s performance. Thus, to fulfill these job requirements, you must have a sound understanding of HR operations, efficiently carry out a project, and plan market competitive strategies. The job duties are limited to just these, the overall impact is much broader.

Let’s have a look at the steps you need to accomplish to learn these skills and become an HR executive. To learn more via video, watch below or skip ahead to continue reading.

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Human Resources

Acquiring the minimum education is the first step in your journey to becoming an HR executive. Know that professional HR executives hold at least a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in human resource management.

Seeking knowledge from a university/college in human resource management will not only provide you with an official degree as a testimonial for your HR skills, but you also get to learn:

  • Supervision of the HR team
  • Leadership theories
  • Organizational behaviors
  • Industries psychologies

In addition to that, the majority of human resources professionals hold a bachelor’s degree in the business management, and business administration industry with a specialization in human resource management and HR leadership. A degree in business administration with a focus on the human resources industry will teach you the workplace laws, integration of business management into human resource management and relevant concepts, critical thought processes, and employee relations.

To secure an HR executive’s role, sometimes companies do not put harsh restrictions on the degree fields. For example, a skillful candidate from the tech/IT industry, or finance sector can also be accepted for the role. Thus, mastering the skills is more crucial than acquiring a degree in the relevant field.

So, if you are shifting your educational background from an IT field to an HR field, this might be a piece of good news for you if you have professionally mastered the fundamental skills to become an HR executive. In such cases where candidates are shifting their focus from an entirely different field to the human resources department, it is a good tactic to get certified in the human resources field. This way, you can present credible proof of your knowledge and HR skills.

Our HR management course helps you to improve your technical HR skills associated with the HR executive’s role. Check it out, you might want to enroll right now for the exceptional learning outcomes you can acquire through our course.

Human Resources Certifications

Step 2: Learn the Payroll and Employee Benefit Programs

An HR executive must know the payrolling structures and how the employee pay and benefits package programs work for the betterment of the organization.

You must learn the strategical method to oversee the individual payroll benefits. In addition to that, you also work on the determination and verification of the employee working hours in the organizations to calculate their month-end payable salaries.

Furthermore, an HR executive is responsible for pension, taxes, raises, and bonuses, thus a strong knowledge of figures and accounts is also mandatory to secure this seat.

Step 3: Familiarize Yourself With the Disciplinary Action

In a human resources department, proper disciplinary action is necessary for a healthy workspace. You must develop experience in handling employee conflicts at the highest level of leadership to ensure fairness in the workspace. It is crucial to understand the importance of this responsibility as wrong disciplinary action damages even a company’s reputation, and may cause legal repercussions.

HR Executive ResponsibilitiesFor a healthy work environment, research on ways how to identify the cause of issues in the workspace. In addition to that, you may have to learn to maintain a strong rapport with all business members to decide which employee is best and which one should be let go off according to the business’s hierarchy.

Just knowing these skills is not enough, you must develop a work portfolio that can showcase your disciplinary skills for the HR executive’s role.

Step 4: Specialize the Crucial HR Executive Skills

A certificate in human resource management not just depicts your dedication and interest in the HR executive’s role, but also demonstrates your expertise and specialization in the field.

Sometimes, an educational degree might be outdated in comparison to the job requirements of a tech-savvy industry. Thus, there arises a need to fulfill this gap.

Certifications provide you the privilege to acquire the most recent skills needed for a specific role. You can become a certified HR professional through certifications from well-known online institutes. In addition to that, you can opt for different online certifications to master the fundamental knowledge of a specific field.

With the right certification in the human resources field, you can get to learn:

  • HR strategic planning
  • Talent acquisition tactics
  • Projected characteristics
  • Human resource management rules
  • Tips to monitor HR employees and workspace
  • Difference between HR ethics and misconducts
  • Job application analyses
  • Staff retention
  • Employee development and engagement
  • Recruitment metrics

Certifications are a privilege to learn many other technical terms solely dedicated to the human resources department.

Top 8 Strengths for an HR ExecutiveA certificate also complements your resume, and henceforth your job application. The employer will know that you have the tendency and the required skills for this executive role. In addition to that, an HR management certification will make you a specialized candidate for a human resources professional executive role.

Step 5: Master these 3 Fundamentals of HR Executive’s Role

Having certification and a degree can help you get selected for an interview, but without knowing the fundamentals and technicalities of an HR executive’s role, you cannot rock the interview.

Thus, you must have a solid understanding of the fundamental operations that HR executives have to go through in their day-to-day routine tasks. Here is what you should learn to become an HR executive:

Recruiting and Staffing

Recruiting the right talent is fundamental an HR executive must learn to become an HR professional. HR executives are responsible for planning strategies for job advertisements to recruit a suitable match. In addition to that, an HR executive sometimes has to look after how human resources managers are planning the assessment tasks to judge the candidates. Thus, they look after the staffing and recruitment of qualified candidates.

Performance Management and Evaluations

HR executives are involved in analyzing the employee performance metrics and evaluation results. This way, they foster communication with the employees.

Furthermore, HR executives are also responsible to define competitive strategies for business objectives and goals. This way, they guide the employees about the business flow and guide them about suitable steps to help the company achieve its goals through their duties. This way, you can also enhance your interpersonal skills.

Succession Planning

Succession planning is a technique to identify employees who can replace their leaders when the right time comes. For example, when an HR manager is retiring, succession planning helps to choose a junior employee in the replacement of the HR manager to take the lead. HR executives are expected to hunt such employees full of talent who can come forward and take the lead as human resources managers.

Global Executive Leadership CompetenciesThis fundamental technique ensures that a business keeps on working smoothly even if the leadership changes. As an HR executive, you must ensure whether all the HR teams are struggling up to the target goals or not. So, you must learn these fundamentals to become a professional HR manager.

Step 6: Research About Healthcare and Safety Issues

An HR executive has to oversee all the health and safety issues of the organization. Thus, you must learn the technicality behind these crucial responsibilities. Some organizations can have their healthcare and safety policies, while some might follow federal and state laws. As an HR executive, you are the protector of the worker’s rights. Thus, you must review all strategies behind the health and safety policies to make sure employees properly follow them. Although it may seem seamless, looking after the healthcare and safety measures becomes challenging in outdoor organizations like heavy machinery industries. Thus, familiarizing with the organization’s working environment and preparing yourself accordingly is a good tactic.

Step 7: Learn Policy Implementation and Development

As the HR executive is a senior professional role, you must learn the procedures of policy development and their implementation in an organization. As you will have to ensure that employees follow the same policies and strategic HR initiatives, thus good leadership and influencing skills are required for a successful HR initiative and better employee development.

You must develop good mentoring skills as it will be your responsibility to explain company policies to new employees to make them aware of the organization’s preferences and work infrastructure.

In addition to that, you must learn the policies associated with sick day leaves, working hours, overtime duties, and reimbursements, so you don’t affect the employee’s rights unconsciously. Thus, a sound knowledge of policies and laws is crucial for this role.

Step 8: Learn Tricks to Maintain Employee Records

One other aspect that you must learn to become an HR executive is to maintain employee records. As an HR executive is expected to keep the employee records up to date, you can learn and master HR software to ease this process for you.

On top of that, familiarizing yourself with a process to maintain personal behavioral employee records to analyze that employees follow the laws is also mandatory for an HR executive.

Maintenance of employee records is also necessary for emergencies. Not just maintaining them, but making them accessible for everyone in the meantime is more important. Thus, good practice and complete knowledge of the record system are also mandatory. Usually, the emergency records include information for emergency contacts, employee blood groups, and other relevant medical information.

Thus, you must learn to maintain properly reviewed and accurate employee data for updates and better performance of employees and thus the whole organization.

Step 9: Practice Fundamental HR Skills to Gain Experience (Optional)

One can become a professional HR executive by gaining the right knowledge. But, how do you know that you have acquired the proper skills for the role? Here comes an option for you to start practicing the gathered knowledge.

You can do so by working as an intern in an organization, voluntarily working for a startup as their HR executive and or an entry-level position as an HR manager, or by winning freelance HR management projects.

Having the fundamental knowledge is not sufficient to know how to put that acquired knowledge into practice. Even though gaining experience is not a pre-requisite to secure an HR executive’s role, you can get plus points on your resume, and can also compete with other job applicants through your experience.

Thus, you can either join an HR department as an HR manager, HR business partner, or HR recruiter to put what you have learned into action.

By working as a recruiter, you will know the challenges that come with hunting for suitable talent. You can also work along with the HR analytics team to understand how employee performance metrics work in achieving the team goals.

Practicing the skills boosts your confidence in HR skills, and also helps you prepare yourself for the technical interviews for the HR executive posts.

The other method is that you can gain informal experience by hunting freelance projects and practicing your HRM skills. Hunt for the online recruitment projects and work on them to practice your recruitment and talent acquisition skills.

You can also work by analyzing market trends and designing business HR strategies for companies of different niches. You may present these projects as a portfolio in your job application, and increase your chances of winning the seat.

Step 10: Apply to the Right HR Executive Role in a Reputable Industry

Now that you have the mandatory skills for this executive role, now it’s time for you to hunt for your dream HR executive job and make it a reality by securing the seat. Understand your interests, and apply to companies that best suit your interest and skills.

Everyone has personal preferences, so set some boundaries, and preferences for each role you hunt. Because at the end of the day, it’s not all about what you give to the company, but it’s also about what the company gives you in return. Prepare well for the interview, and fulfill your dream of becoming an HR executive.


Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about HR executives.

What Is the Salary of an HR Executive?

According to Glassdoor, an HR Executive earns an average of $81k per year with a base pay of $64k and additional payments of $17k per year. This means $6750 per month, and $1687.5 per week, with approximately $42.2 as the hourly rate.

Know that $81k is the median salary. The lowest recorded annual salary for an HR executive is $41k, while the highest recorded salary of an HR executive is $166k per year.

Is HR Executive a Good Job?

Yes. Only if you have an adequate interest in the job responsibilities and skills of an HR executive, then HR Executive is a good job for you when it comes to interest.

In financial terms, an average HR executive earns $81k according to Glassdoor, which is, in fact, a good salary in comparison to an average annual salary of a worker in the United States according to Indeed.


By now, you will already know that an Executive’s role is pretty daunting and challenging. Thus, if you want to become an HR executive, then follow the above-mentioned step-by-step guide we have drafted to become an HR executive.

Fulfill the least qualifications criteria with a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business management, or finance with a major in HR. Learn the fundamentals for this role, and master the technical skills. Practice the skills and acquire experience to increase your chances of selection. Hunt for the right role based on your interest and skills.


If you are new to Human Resources and are looking to break into an HR Executive position, we recommend taking our HR Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, build your human resources network, craft an excellent HR resume, and create a successful job search strategy that lands you a sought-after HR Executive job.


Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.