From Classroom to Conference Room: How to Land Your First HR Job

By the time you got to this article, I believe you already know you want to develop your career in HR. Maybe you already know in which direction you want to go, or maybe you don’t have the foggiest clue where you want to go, but it’s okay. I’m here to help.

Hi, my name is Merima and in the next few paragraphs I’m going to try and answer all questions I had as a beginner in HR, and I believe you have too.

  • What is recruiting?
  • Is there a difference between recruiting and sourcing?
  • How to actually start working in recruiting?

Before we start, you need to know I’m no expert on the topic, I’m only here to share my experience and key moves that got me a job as an active Sourcer in Germany. 

First things first, what is actually recruiting? 

Well, I’m not going to bother you with any kind of official definition just because I feel there is a lot of relevant literature on that topic. A simple Google search will tell you that recruiting is actively seeking out, finding, and hiring candidates for a specific position or a job.

Now, since we know that recruiting is a very wide field, we can easily deduce that recruiting and sourcing are not the same. Sourcing is a part of recruiting – it’s actually the seeking part of recruiting. When you work as a recruiter your main goal is to HIRE the best candidate, and when you work as a sourcer your main goal is to FIND the best candidate. See the difference?

So the first step in the hiring process is to SOURCE candidates. From there you can start recruiting. Recruiting starts when you reach out to the candidate to see if he is interested in the position you are hiring for.

I’m sure as a student you have some ideas on how to find your dream job. Well, in my experience, it doesn’t always go according to plan. 

During my master’s studies, I decided I wanted to work in HR but I didn’t know where to start. I did have some kind of training in HR, but during my first job interview for a Junior Recruiter, it turned out not to be nearly enough. So, my first step was to find some more training in HR.

I started with Popcorn Recruiters Academy – which I do recommend if you have no idea how to actually use LinkedIn (like I didn’t at that time). From there I went to HR Starter which was my first overall experience in HR training

All of the topics this course covered during the lectures were on point and served me as an entrance to HR career. I met some great people there who gave me a chance to use the things I learned. From there I went to an internship program in the HR World organization, where I developed my skills even more and had a chance to connect with people from the industry.

Now, since recruiting is such a vast field, I would recommend you decide the niche you would like to work in and continue to learn and grow there. It would be easier for you that way. During this experience, I got access to a really large network of HR professionals to whom I could reach out for a piece of advice and guidance (no one will ever tell you “No” if you have any questions and ask politely – remember that).

After you feel you gained enough experience and knowledge to feel secure enough to start working, I would suggest starting to interview for the jobs. Every interview offers a connection that could be valuable later on and a precious experience that shows you where you need to improve – if you need to improve. Remember – there may be a lot of disappointments, but every rejection you get serves you to get better at your skills and as a preparation for the next interview.

This interviewing process lasted a whole year for me. Finally, in December 2022, I got my chance to prove my worth. I found a person who believed I have something valuable and gave me a chance to show it. All of my previous interviews came to my aid because I could anticipate questions and prepare my answers. It meant that very few things could surprise me and I felt very secure in myself.

So, I got the job I currently do. Is it my dream job? – No, there are other career paths in HR that interest me more. But is it a step on my way to my dream job – hell yes. During these past four months that I’ve been working, I realized that I need to get really good at what I do now to be able to get to my dream job. And I’m doing it now. I’m still learning, still growing, and developing myself – that work doesn’t stop with signing the contract – on the contrary, it intensifies.

To summarize – all you need to land your first job is to believe in yourself enough to try and for the other person to believe in you enough to give you a chance.

So, start today, start learning, and start that course you saw months ago and never had time to get to it. 


Happy job hunting!


Author: Merima Bradarić

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