How To Transition in the HR Field in Canada


Human resources management is a desirable career for many of those who want people-oriented work and plenty of opportunities for professional development. Some of us only realize this at a certain point of life after dedicating years of education and work to a completely different field.

The good news is that transitioning into HR mid-career is possible and can be accomplished more easily than into the areas that require specific technical knowledge and skills. If you’re serious about getting into HR, here are a few common steps to take.

1. Do Thorough Research

The last thing you want is to spend time and effort on getting a job you don’t really want to do. To prevent this from happening, you need to do proper research on what working in HR entails.

Look for HR positions on the job search websites and read the lists of responsibilities carefully. This will give you a basic understanding of what a typical HR role in an organization looks like.

HR positions can be diverse, focusing on recruitment, administration, training and development. Analyzing the difference between them will help you determine your goal clearly.

Start networking actively. Ask your peers to introduce you to somebody working in HR. Talk to the employees of an HR department in your organization. Approach an HR association, such as Chartered Professionals in Human Resources, to meet the industry experts.

Ask them questions about their work, how hard or rewarding it is, what they enjoy doing and what the main challenges are. The more people you speak with, the more valuable insights you’ll get. This will help you make an informed decision.

 2. Expand Your Education

If your prior training is related to business, social studies, psychology or any similar disciplines, your transition into HR should be a smooth one. With any other background, you need to pay special attention to developing HR-specific knowledge and skills. This can be done with the help of human resources courses online, such as the ones offered at Ashton College. They will cover all the important areas of HR and build your strong foundation for pursuing a career in this field.

HR courses online are a great option if you’re currently working and cannot take a lot of time off for your studies. In addition to flexibility and convenience, they will provide you with an opportunity to connect with the seasoned HR instructors and peers who might be going through the same process of transition. Learning about other people’s experience can be useful to understand how to make faster progress and avoid mistakes.  

Taking human resources courses online might also help you find a mentor who can guide you through transitioning into an HR career. This can be one of the faculty members or somebody else they may recommend to you. Building your network is an excellent opportunity to explore your options and even improve your chances of getting a position in human resources.  

3. Increase Your Chances

Review your prior education and work experience and tailor your resume and cover letter to the HR openings, highlighting those components that qualify you for a career in this field. Your main goal is to show to the potential employer that your knowledge and skills are relevant. If you take human resources courses online, you might find it easier to do so.

Show interest in HR to your current employer. This might land you an opportunity to gain practical experience when some HR assignments might be transferred to you.

Consider being flexible and working overtime on these tasks. Show how your other skills and expertise can help you cope with the HR responsibilities and persuade the management you want to be of help to them. The employer will appreciate your eagerness and might even assist you in making a transition.  

Think about opportunities to gain practical HR experience. You may want to seek internships in various HR settings. Or work with an agency in a temporary or part-time capacity. Or look for an opening in a small business where you can combine HR tasks with your previous experience in tech, bookkeeping, law, you name it. Don’t be afraid to start with an entry-level position and be prepared to learn on the job. Stay open to new opportunities, absorb any knowledge you can get and develop the skills you lack. Good luck!  


Human resource management online course at Ashton College is accredited by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources Canada and the member associations in all provinces except Ontario & Quebec. It allows students with a Bachelor’s degree to pursue the CPHR designation without taking the National Knowledge Examination (NKE). Learn more on Ashton College website.

For the latest HR and business articles, check out our main page

Reader Feedback

We want to hear from you!

Do you have a story idea you’d like to see covered by PeopleTalk?

Or maybe you’ve got a question we could ask our members in our People & Perspectives section?

Or maybe you just want to tell us how much you liked the article.

The door is always open.





How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Enter your email address to receive updates each Wednesday.

Privacy guaranteed. We'll never share your info.

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>