Human Resource (HR) Resume - How-to Guide for 2021

6 April
9 min read

HR managers ensure a safe and thriving work environment for employees.

But before you can help the employees, you need to become one yourself.

This involves creating a job-winning HR resume.

But what does a good HR resume look like, anyway?

This is a question that can’t be left answered. 

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

This guide will show you:

  • A job-winning human resources resume example
  • How to create a human resources resume that hiring managers love
  • Specific tips and tricks for the human resources job industry

Here’s a human resources resume example, built with our own resume builder.

hr resume example

It’s now time to adjust the above example and make it yours.

How to Format a Human Resources Resume

HR jobs are highly sought after.

As such, you need to do everything in your power to stand out.

But before we get to the juicy stuff, you first need to select the correct format.

A well-formatted resume allows the recruiter to instantly see what a great HR manager you are.

With “reverse-chronological” being the most common resume format, we recommend this format for HR managers. It shows the peak of your work experience first, and then works back through your history and skills.

reverse chronological format hr

You could also try the two following formats…

  • Functional Resume – This format focuses on your skills, which makes it the best format for HR that are highly skilled, but have little in the way of HR work experience. 
  • Combination Resume – This format mixes both “Functional” and “Reverse-Chronological” formats, which means it focuses on both your HR skills AND work experience. 

Pro Tip:

  • Keep your resume to one-page. This shows the hiring manager that you can keep information brief and precise. Feel free to check out our one-page resume templates.

Use a Human Resources Resume Template

If you’re an office HR manager, there’s a high chance that Word is used on a daily basis.

However, just because you experienced with Word, doesn’t mean it’s the best tool for creating an HR resume.

For an unbeatable result, you may want to use an HR resume template. Select any of the following professional templates and tailor it according to your needs!

What to Include in a Human Resources Resume

The main sections in an HR resume are:

  • Contact Information
  • Work Experience
  • Education
  • Skills

For an HR resume that stands out from other applications, add these optional sections:

  • Awards & Certification
  • Projects
  • Volunteer Experience
  • Languages
  • Interests & Hobbies

We’re now going to talk about each of the above sections, and explain the best practices for writing them.

For an in-depth rundown on which sections to use, check out our guide on What to Put on a Resume.

How to Write Your Contact Information Section

As a HR professional, you should know that words should be chosen carefully. 

You should take the same level of caution when writing your contact section, as any mistake can render your whole application useless. 

For your contact information section, include…

  • Full Name
  • Professional Title – This should align with the job description, which is “HR Manager”
  • Phone Number – Triple-check this. One small error can really mess up your chances
  • Email Address – Make sure to use a professional email address (firstname.lastname@gmail.com), and avoid that email you created back in 7th grade (jimlovespizza@gmail.com)
  • Location – City & Country
  • (Optional) Relevant Social Media

Correct Example:

  • Vanessa Mills - HR Manager. 101-358-6095. vanessa.mills@gmail.com

Incorrect Example:

  • Vanessa Mills - HR Hero. 101-358-6095. nessie123@gmail.com

How to Write an HR Resume Summary or Objective

Here’s a question:

What takes less than a minute?

Well, a recruiter reading through a typical HR resume. 

This means you have an incredibly short window to catch their attention.

But is this even possible?

Yep! Just use a resume summary or objective.

These are brief, sharp paragraphs that go on top of your resume.

resume summary for hr resume

Let’s now look at how the two sections differ:

A resume summary is a short summary of your professional experiences and achievements. It is the best option for individuals who have multiple years of paralegal experience.

HR Resume Summary Example

  • Human Resources Manager with 5+ years of experience seeks to improve employee retention and overall efficiency at XYZ Office. Career highlights include handling all employee relations in a 75-employee finance firm, reducing recruitment lead time by 35%, and increasing employee retention by 17%.

On the other hand, the resume objective focuses on your professional goals and aspirations. It is ideal for entry-level HR candidates or individuals who want a change in their professional career. Although you’re talking about your goals, it is important to relate the objective to your future employer’s gain.

HR Resume Objective Example

  • Motivated Human Resources specialist looking to become the new HR Manager at Law Firm X. Experience includes sitting in on interviews, drafting confidential documentation, and organizing employee events. Enthusiastic to manage the HR department, where my skills can be leveraged for improved employee retention and office efficiency.

So, which one is best for you? 

Well, a summary is suited for HR managers who have previously held the position, whereas an objective is suited for those who are hoping to become an HR manager for the first time (student, graduate, or switching careers).

How to Make Your HR Work Experience Stand Out

For recruiters, finding the best candidate is an odds game.

As such, they are constantly looking to increase their chance of success.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to hire someone with vast HR work experience. 

Sure, your qualifications and personal skills are super important, but your professional experience reigns supreme.

Follow this layout in your experience section:

  • Position name
  • Company Name
  • Dates
  • Responsibilities & Achievements

And it should look something like this:

Example:

Human Resources Manager 

Top Office

03/2017 - 04/2021

  • Handled all HR issues in a 75-employee finance firm
  • Oversaw the recruitment process, which reduced lead time by 35%
  • Increased employee retention by 17% 
  • Developed new training programs for a motivated and confident office environment

To show why you’re the best person for the job, make sure to highlight your best achievements.

For example, instead of saying:

“Managed recruitment”

Go for…

“Oversaw the recruitment process, which reduced lead time by 35%”

So, what’s the difference between these two statements?

So, the candidate managed recruitment… But what is so special about this? Will this make the resume stand out?  

Nope!

Compare this to the second statement, where it shows the candidate reduced lead time by 35%. This statistic instantly shows the value of hiring the employee, which is something that will stick in the recruiter’s memory.

Pro Tip:

  • Use the job description to your advantage. You can see if there is anything in the job description that matches your work history. If so, definitely include it!

What if You Don’t Have Work Experience?

Maybe you’re a graduate who has never worked full-time before?

Or maybe you’re transitioning from a different industry?

Whatever the situation, there are options if you don’t have experience as a HR manager.

Typically, HR-hopefuls will need to show that they have some HR experience. But this doesn’t mean that you needed to work under the title of “HR Manager”.

For example, let’s say you worked as an office assistant…

You could talk about how you were responsible for keeping records accurate and up to date, which are vital HR skills.

From there, you can take up a temporary position as an HR assistant, where you gain even more on-the-job experience.

For the students read this, you’ll enjoy our guide on how to make a student resume!

Use Action Words to Make Your HR Resume POP!

Since the aim of the game is to make your resume stand out, we’d recommend using some of these power words:

  • Conceptualized
  • Designed
  • Devised
  • Determined
  • Drafted
  • Formulated
  • Introduced
  • Initiated
  • Launched
  • Originated
  • Spearheaded

How to List Your Education Correctly

The next section in any HR resume is the education section.

Now, there is no set path to becoming a professional HR manager, so just be honest and describe your educational path to date. 

  • Degree Type & Major
  • University Name
  • Years Studied
  • GPA, Honours, Courses, and other relevant achievements 

Here’s a practical example:

B.A. in Human Resources

Boston State University

2013 - 2016

  • Relevant Courses: Constitutional/Administrative Law, Criminal Law, Contract Law, Equity & Trusts, EU Law, Public Law, Land Law, Tort Law
  • GPA: 3.6

Now, you may have a few more questions, here are the most frequently asked questions:

What if I have yet to finish studying?

  • Whether or not you’re still studying, you should list every year of education so far

Should I include my high school education?

  • Only if you don’t have any higher education. The hiring manager won’t care about your high school education if you have a law degree

What goes first, education or experience?

  • If you’re an HR manager, your work experience should come before your education

If you still have questions, you can check out our guide on how to list education on a resume.

Top 10 Skills for an HR Resume

You need a certain set of skills to be a great HR manager.

It’s these skills that the recruiter is scanning for as they read your resume. 

Here are some of the most important HR skills to list on your resume:

Hard Skills for an HR Professional:

  • Recruiting
  • Onboarding
  • Data analysis
  • Evaluations
  • HR Software (HRIS)

Soft Skills:

  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Employee relations
  • Organization

Looking for a more comprehensive list? Here’s a mega-list of 100+ must-have skills.

Other Resume Sections You Can Include

By this point, you’re likely itching to get your resume out to the companies you want to work for.

After all, your resume is now the best it can be, right?!

Well, not really.

Remember, the #1 goal in the application process is to stand out.

And a resume that looks like a carbon copy of all the others is not going to do that.

If you’ve got your skills and experiences sorted, the following sections may be the deciding factor.

Awards & Certifications

Were you awarded for any projects during university?

Have you finished any HR-related courses on Coursera?

Whatever the recognition, you can improve your resume by including awards and certifications.

Awards & Certifications Examples

  • Recruiting, Hiring, and Onboarding Employees - Coursera Certificate
  • Preparing to Manage HR - Coursera Certificate
  • Improve Your English Language Communication Skills - First Language School

Languages

Whether or not the human resources job requires you to speak a second language, the ability to do so is very impressive.

So, feel free to add a language section if you have space.

Order the languages by proficiency:

  • Native
  • Fluent
  • Proficient
  • Intermediate
  • Basic

Interests & Hobbies

Now, you may be wondering, “why does the recruiter need to know about my passion for art?”

Well, because it shows your personal side.

And you’re more than an HR machine right?! 

As such, include some of your interests to become more relatable.

If you want some ideas of hobbies & interests to put on your resume, we have a guide for that!

Match Your Cover Letter with Your Resume

Oh dear…more writing.

But bear with us for a moment, as it’s for good reason.

Cover letters are still a vital part of the application process.

You can use this guide to write a dazzling HR resume, but failure to include a cover letter still gives your competition the edge.

Cover letters give a chance to talk to the recruiter with more depth and personality. 

Even better, it shows the company that you want THIS job, and you’re not just randomly sending resumes to every company in the local area.

Just like with the resume, the cover letter needs to be structured correctly. Here’s how to do that:

cover letter structure hr manager

And here’s what goes in each section:

Contact Details

Your personal contact information, including full name, profession, email, phone number, and location

Hiring Manager’s Contact Information

Full name, position, location, email

Opening Paragraph

Your introduction should be very strong. If you don’t manage to hook the hiring manager here, they’re not going to read the rest of your resume. So, mention:

  • The specific position you’re applying for
  • Your experience summary and top achievements

The Body

Once you’ve got the hiring manager hooked, you can go through the rest of your work history and personal background. Some of the points you can mention here are:

  • Why you want to work for this specific company
  • Anything you know about the company’s culture
  • What are your top skills and how are they relevant for the job
  • If you’ve worked in similar industries or positions

Closing Paragraph

This is where you:

  • Wrap up any points you missed in the body paragraph
  • Thank the hiring manager for their time
  • End with a call to action. Something like, “I’d love to further discuss how my experience as an X can help the company with Y”

Formal Salutations

To keep everything professional, use formal closing, such as “Best regards” or “Sincerely.”

Creating a cover letter is a craft. But don’t worry, you can call on our how to write a cover letter for guidance.

Key Takeaways

Congrats!

We’re assuming that you followed all of the advice in this guide, and are now about to receive an interview…or five. 

Before you go, let’s go over the main rules when creating a HR resume:

  • Select the correct format for an HR resume. Use a reverse-chronological format, and follow the best layout practices to keep everything clear and concise
  • Instantly grab the reader’s attention with a summary or objective 
  • Prioritize talking about your achievements, instead of your responsibilities
  • Match your resume with a HR cover letter that follows the best practises