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Careers in Human Resources

The human resources field, or HR, is one of the faster-growing career fields today. Job opportunities are readily available in many areas, frequently offering desirable pay rates and compensation. In fact, many career analysts estimate continued growth for human resources careers in the foreseeable future. With a median annual income that ranks above the United States national average, it’s easy to see why so many people are interested in this kind of work.

Developing company culture is a core responsibility of those in human resources jobs. This can include of a number of important considerations, such as the values and ideals a company puts forth, as well as things like how a group of employees work together and what systems are in place to ensure a cohesive working environment. Human resource workers will also be tasked with recruiting and training new employees as positions become available, conflict remediation, and management of payroll and benefits. Due to the importance of these tasks, HR professionals are an essential component of maintaining ongoing company success.

Starting in Human Resources

“Where does one even begin?” This is often the first question that jumps into a person’s mind when considering a new career. You might wonder which programs and schools offer the greatest benefits, and what the job prospects are like in your area. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to offer blanket answers to these inquiries. Consider these starting points before making a final decision on your career path:

  • Network with HR professionals who currently work in your area. Consider conducting informational interviews to learn more about applicable schools, programs, and the local job climate from those already working within the industry.
  • Join associations such as your local chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM). These types of groups can be very helpful in expanding your HR network, as well as your knowledge.
  • Communicate with the career services offices at any nearby universities or colleges. This can be a great strategy for learning about applicable programs and Human Resources careers in your area.
  • Research your earning potential online. Utilize salary calculators and refer to postings on reputable job boards to get a good feel for your market value.

In addition to these starting points, you will need either an associate's degree or other types of certification. If you are seeking a management position in this a field, a bachelor's degree will be required. When it comes to higher-level duties, such as senior management and directorial positions, candidates must acquire a master's degree. Those interested in high-ranking positions can either pursue a human resources master's degree or undergo a program for a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in human resources.

In addition to college coursework, HR professionals can also become accredited by the HR Certification Institute. Such accreditation can go a long way towards illustrating a candidate's continued growth and dedication to the very performance possible. Most coursework can be accessed via online learning institutions, which is highly convenient for many applicants.

By taking the time to determine the realistic prospects in your area, you’re less likely to embark on a difficult career path. It’s also good to gain insight about common pay rates, so you’ll know what your worth is when it comes time to search for a job.

Human Resources Jobs

It’s not possible to delve into availability of careers in human resources in each area, but there is promising information at the national level. The Occupational Outlook Handbook suggests that job and income prospects appear favorable over the next 10 to 20 years, likely making HR-applicable education a wise investment.

With this knowledge in mind, it’s wise to begin preparation early for your entrance into the human resources field. HR representatives work with people constantly, although simply enjoying this type of interaction is not enough for long-term success. An HR professional must display high degrees of confidentiality and integrity at all times. Increasingly, employers are also seeking workers who are educated in disciplines such as accounting, finance, and business management.

HR representatives in the past may have maintained greater focus on behind-the-scenes administrative duties, but many companies have started to look for more. For example, a human resources professional can be asked to contribute to areas such as staff retention and development. This expands one’s sphere of influence but also increases the range of job skills necessary for employment.

For human resource specialists, primary duties will include finding suitable hires and putting them through a screening/interviewing process. Specialists are also charged with managing the needs of existing employees, including things like employee interaction, payroll and benefits, and training procedures. When it comes to management positions within in human resources, this can entail planning and coordinating essential administrative functions, overseeing specialists as they perform their duties, and serving as a link between employees and management.

Typically, human resource specialists will focus on an individual aspect, while human resource generalists are involved in a many different areas at the same time. The amount of generalists and specialists on staff will usually relate to the size of a company (i.e. smaller companies tend to have fewer generalists). As for daily tasks, HR workers can expect the following:

  • Interview prospective applicants seeking employment
  • Gain information from employers related to qualifications and skills needed
  • Review new hire and existing employee paperwork
  • Undertake background checks and contact references
  • Perform hiring procedures for qualified candidates
  • Provide information regarding benefits and payroll
  • Manage orientations for new employees

Human Resources Management

As for HR mangers, daily duties often include:

  • Direction of disciplinary action
  • Make best use of employee talents through planning and direction
  • Supervise HR workers during the hiring and training processes
  • Conflict resolution of issues occurring between employees and managers
  • Coordinate adjunct specialist staff
  • Provide information on employee policies

Jobs with a human resources degree requirement generally offer better pay and compensation packages. They also usually involve greater challenge, and for many workers, a greater sense of accomplishment as result. Whether you’re just starting your journey into the working world or you’re looking to transition to HR from another industry, earning a relevant degree can provide you with a distinct advantage.

As a broad field, many educational programs can aid you in obtaining a career in human resources. A master’s degree is considered preferable in many cases, though a bachelor’s will often suffice. Specific areas of study can range from business administration to sociology or even psychology. Remember to network and communicate with working professionals and career advisers in your area for best results in your career pursuit.