Starting a career in human resources begins with the same tools as other professional jobs--education, experience and networking. If you've never worked for a large company or known a small business owner who handles her own human resourcing needs, you may not be aware of the issues you'll face in human resources. Finding out what you'll need to know and do to be successful in starting your career in human resources will make the process less intimidating.
Increase your knowledge about human resources. While it is possible to start a career in human resources without any formal education in the field, you will need a college degree for most positions. If you are still in college or are able to return to school, focus your course load on human resources-related classes or, if offered, choose human resources as your major. If you already have a degree in a different field, consider taking a few of the many human resources courses or trainings offered by adult education or continuing education programs. There are also reference websites and books that can help you prepare for a career in human resources by increasing your knowledge of the many issues faced in the field.
Visit the human resources department at your current employer and ask the people who work there how they got started and what they think is important for someone looking into the field. Small businesses may not have a department or even a single employee designated for human resources so ask around to see who handles those issues. You may even offer to take some of the responsibilities on yourself to gain experience and credibility if your company decides to hire someone for human resources.
Volunteer in the human resources department at a nonprofit organization. They have human resources needs, too. It is likely that your volunteer time will be spent filing or answering phone calls, but the exposure will help you understand how a human resources department works. You can demonstrate competence and the ability to maintain confidentiality while volunteering, which could lead to more responsibilities to beef up your experience.
Start searching job sites and classified ads for entry level positions when you are confident that you have the skills and knowledge to start your human resources career. While you may want to aim high and go for a director's position right away, it is unlikely you will get the job unless you've worked in the human resources field for many years. However, you can still submit a resume and introduction letter to those job offers as long as you specify that it is for a support position and not the job that was advertised. You should also send your resume and cover letter to companies not advertising an open position because you never know when a new opportunity will become available.