When it comes to people in an organization, the department to look to is human resources. HR is responsible for almost everything when it comes to employees, with the universe of responsibilities encompassing the following:
- Employee relations and ethics
Advantages of a career in HR
There are many positives of a human resources career. Some are enumerated below:
- Income and opportunities: Statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) suggest that the median salary for an HR manager was $126,700 per annum, which is 4% higher than that for all management occupations for that year.
- A stable career: An HR career is always in demand, given that employees will always be needed. As per the BLS, the employment of HR managers will show a 7% growth by 2028, beating the average for all occupations by 2%.
- Making a difference: An HR professional has the chance to make a real impact on the lives of employees at the company. There is substantial satisfaction to be derived from helping the development of colleagues and coworkers, and assisting them in reaching their professional potential.
Some people begin their human resources career right out of college, while others may transition into it from other fields. Whatever be the entry path, the following educational requirements are worth taking note of:
- Bachelor’s degree: A number of job openings in HR require candidates to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in disciplines such as human resources, business, or related subjects such as psychology or sociology. Such a qualification equips students with the capabilities to:
- Develop requisite communication skills
- Think analytically and critically
- Learn the rules and laws of HR
- Master’s degree: A master’s degree is typically required for jobs higher up the HR leader, such as Chief Learning Officer or HR Director. The choice of programs could be either an MBA with a specialization in HR or a Master’s degree in HR. In such an educational program, students learn about business strategy, managing talent, data-driven metrics, professional ethics, and more.
- Certification: A popular way to advance your HR career is to get certified. HR Certification is accredited proof of specialized knowledge and skills in the field, and typically requires a smaller investment of time to achieve.
The following are some of the major bodies offering HR certifications:
- Talent Management Institute: TMI credential is recognized in 183 countries across the globe, serving to help professionals take the next step upward in their human resources careers. TMI offers a total of five certifications, including two programs in collaboration with the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
- Association for Talent Development: ATD offers instructional seminars, training modules, and workshops from international practitioners for a meaningful, practical experience for HR employees. It has more than 100 programs, including talent management and other disciplines within HR.
- Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development: CIPD is considered as one of the foremost professional bodies in the HR field, with its HR certifications held in high regard for HR roles. There are a foundation, intermediate, and advanced levels in its courses, each of which has awards, diplomas, and certificates.
Professional skills needed
Education aside, a good HR career also requires other hard and soft skills, of which the key ones are explained below:
- Interpersonal skills: It is important to be able to interact properly and successfully with employees at all levels of the organization. This requires clear communication with a diverse set of people and tactful redressal of complaints.
- Technological competence: Most HR tasks are part of a human resource information system (HRIS), and the increasing digitization of the world means HR professionals must adapt to new technology. They need to know the best tools to use and the way to use them properly.
- Knowledge of finance and statistics: This helps to understand and explain the return on investment from HR. It is also helpful for calculating the impact of pay practices, create turnover reports, determine salaries, and more.
- Legal awareness: Compliance is intrinsic to HR, and comfort with HR laws and common issues is a source of a competitive edge in a human resources career.
- Recruitment: Part of the responsibilities of the HR department, this is now more than just publicizing job openings. The candidate-driven market means the employer’s brand must also be promoted so that the best candidates are attracted.
HR careers include generalist and specialist roles, with the former common at smaller organizations and the latter focusing on a single aspect of HR at larger organizations. Some of the common roles are as below:
- HR generalist
- Talent acquisition specialist
- HR data analyst
- Payroll and benefits administrator
- Employee relations manager
How to find a job in HR
As with other career paths, it is advisable to work on the resume to highlight prior employment, education, and experiences that are relevant for the field. An updated LinkedIn profile could also help to build your personal brand and network with people posting HR jobs. Also, with most entry-level positions requiring prior experience, getting a relevant internship during college time is always helpful.