Career in human resources

The ultimate guide to a career in human resources

A career in human resources is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to help people make the most of the time they spend building their careers or doing their jobs. This is a career that capitalises on your soft skills while also requiring a broad range of knowledge on many topics.

For example, a professional in human resources will need a working knowledge of workers compensation and taxes. They’ll also need to know just as much about safety protocols and the latest employee retention strategies or training initiatives. The larger the company you work for, the more specialised your role may be.  In any case, choosing a career in human resources means you will have excellent prospects in the foreseeable future.


Education

Education is key to building your career in HR. For most, a degree unlocks many great-paying entry-level jobs in many industries. It may even allow you to gain a position in management after a few years. However, to attain the highest levels of career success, you will need to invest in either an advanced degree or specialised certifications.

If you’re still in school or have some time to plan, it would do you good to take as many psychology and business courses as possible. After, plan on getting your degree at a minimum.

Higher education

To make the most of your degree go for the subjects that will give you some experience in HR. This includes business degrees of all kinds, specific human resources programs, or a degree in industrial or organisational psychology.

Those that are looking to become specialists rather than HR managers will need to look into getting a Master’s degree, according to experts. Having an MBA will make obtaining this position much easier. Alternatively, a law degree will set you apart in a specialization that deals with HR law and legal regulations.

Qualifications

The Society for Human Resource Management is a reputable organisation within the human resources industry. In addition to offering skill-building courses and networking opportunities, it offers two credentials that hold weight within the hiring process.

For many, the Professional in Human Resources credential is a must-have. Later, it can be upgraded to Senior Professional in Human Resources. Both credentials require a demonstration of skill and experience as well as the ability to pass their respective exams. For those looking for an entry-level job, the APHR or Associate Professional in Human Resources requires no experience and may help you stand out from other applicants.  

Networking and skill-building

To begin, if you are still a student, becoming a member of local business groups is a great way to meet professionals. As is joining local business development groups and organisations. Internships can help you gain experience early and build up your network as well.

Further, many HR professionals find networking comes naturally to them. Those that do not will find it a challenging way to build up soft skills – skills that are necessary for any HR professional to zero in on – as well as build their career opportunities.

Finding a job and beginning your career

Human resources is a field which can allow you to move up quickly if you can take advantage of the experiences and opportunities offered. This is a field that relies heavily on experience and self-motivation to learn and apply what you have learned.

Your first, entry-level job is all about getting more experience. From there, you can move on and up. Working through those first five years can be tough, but after that, if you made the most of your journey, there should be a management opportunity available to you.

Moving up

If you’re looking for a career that will allow you to reach the highest levels of employment, human resources is a solid choice. With enough experience and at least a degree, you should find it possible to attain a management role. As a manager, you can expect to earn a high salary and have expanding job opportunities, according to current projections.

HR specialist is another type of role that is on the rise. Unemployment in this field is considerably lower than average. Rather than the generalist career or the management track, this field allows you to focus on your personal strengths. You could become one of many types of specialists, with two of the most popular being compensation and benefits specialists or labour relations specialists.

Beyond management, the most experienced HR professionals may eventually become CHROs – chief HR officers. When hiring for this position, companies will look for those with a diverse human resources background, some management experience, and at least a decade in the HR field.

Do you have a career in human resources? What advice would you give? Please tweet @CareerCamel with your comments.

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