Transitioning into Human Resources: Strategies for Boosting Career Success


Are you transitioning fields? Seeking new strategies to maximize your career? Maria is a MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology alumna who navigated her career from case management to human resources (HR). She recently landed a position at a marketing firm as a HR Specialist with an emphasis on industrial/organizational psychology and business development. In her new role, she performs HR functions and applies the knowledge from her Walden program to develop surveys, analyze data, and design training to promote employee engagement.

What strategies made a difference in her career transition?

Gaining Hands-on Experience
Maria took it upon herself to bridge the gap into Human Resources by networking with a friend whose company was looking for extra help in their HR department. Maria took a proactive approach by explaining her goals, what she wanted to learn, and how she planned to contribute as an intern. She carved out her own internship opportunity to gain skills in areas of HR related to industrial/organizational psychology. This experience increased her marketability for future opportunities.

Building Career Research Skills
Maria made an extensive effort to hone her career-related skills. She scheduled several career advising appointments during her Walden program where she gained insights into researching career options, employers, and jobs. Maria utilized the Walden University Career Services Center website to uncover opportunities aligned with her career goals. From her research, she was able to pinpoint the types of positions and areas of employment that would maximize her knowledge, interests, and skills.

Getting the Inside Scoop
When Maria applied for the HR Specialist position, she tailored her resume toward specific skills the marketing firm was seeking. This effort helped her land an interview with the HR Director. To prepare for the interview, she researched the firm’s website and located news articles that mentioned the firm. One article mentioned a new marketing campaign, which helped Maria ask in-depth questions about the impact of this campaign during her interview. The article also listed the name of their vice president whom she researched online. Knowledge of the organization and key stakeholders helped Maria identify and share examples of how she fit into their culture and could contribute to their goals.

Rebranding on Social Media
As an avid LinkedIn user, Maria updated her LinkedIn profile to emphasize her HR skills and academic program and joined LinkedIn groups related to HR and industrial/organizational psychology. The director at the marketing firm visited her profile and was impressed by her online presence. Her image supported her overall brand as a skilled, driven, and well-connected professional.

As Maria pursues a bright future in HR and industrial/organizational psychology, her advice for Walden students is to create a career strategy by researching position requirements, employers, and key stakeholders within organizations. She says, “Career Services helped me identify skills from my prior career. My boss valued the skills I brought.”

Would you like to gain strategies on how to build your experience, strengthen your network, and rebrand yourself for your future field? Visit Career Services Center’s Get Started page and start working on your career goals!

Written by Dina Bergren, Associate Director of Career Services