Are you known for your people skills? Do you enjoy helping others? If so, you might want to consider a career in human resources (HR). A wide variety of industries have a human resources team, whether you work in a one-person office or a large company.
We’ve gathered information and tips on HR jobs and salaries so you can decide whether this career path is right for you.
Main Takeaways: Getting a Human Resources Job
- The human resources department is in charge of the wellbeing of the office. People who are organized and work well with others tend to excel in this career path.
- Education varies for HR positions. Depending on the position you want, you could be required to undergo specific training. We explore those requirements below.
- The HR landscape changes as companies employ more remote workers. The importance of the HR department, and their function, has shifted as more people work from home.
- What Are Human Resources?
- What Are People with Human Resources Jobs Responsible for?
- Do I Need a Human Resources Degree to Work in this Field?
- Types of Human Resources Jobs and Titles
- Salary Ranges and Expectations for Human Resource Jobs
- Projected Growth Rate of the Human Resource Field
- How to Get a Job in Human Resources
- Top 6 Skills to Be Successful in Human Resources
- Opportunities Abound in Human Resources
What Are Human Resources?
Human resources are employees that make up the workforce of an organization or business. Human resources management is the division within a company that manages interviewing, hiring, ensuring all employees are treated fairly and administering employment policies.
HR departments help to bridge the gap between employees and management and increase workforce performance and satisfaction.
What Are People with Human Resources Jobs Responsible for?
Human resources professionals play a key role in businesses. There and perform many job functions, including:
- Recruiting and hiring
- Training and onboarding
- Developing and enforcing HR policies and procedures
- Responding to grievances
- Creating contracts
HR professionals work with management and employees to create a positive work culture and environment. HR managers oversee an HR team of assistants, generalists, benefits specialists and other staff members.
Do I Need a Human Resources Degree to Work in this Field?
There are varying levels of education required depending on the job classification in human resources. Here are general recommendations:
For an administrative or entry level position, an associates or bachelor’s degree is highly desirable, although not all employers may require it. For an HR or mid-level specialist, a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business management is highly desirable.
For management or director level, a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree is typically required for senior or management-level HR positions. A Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification, awarded by the Human Resource Certification Institute, is also typically required at this level.
The Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) exam is another credential that may be required. Both the SPHR and SHRM credentials are multiple-choice, computer-based exams given at designated testing centers which test knowledge of general HR practices and procedures.
Most non-entry level HR jobs also require specialized knowledge of various HR software programs such as Kronos and PeopleSoft. Some employers may accept applicants with a well-rounded HR history and vast experience in lieu of education, but that’s the exception and not the rule.
Types of Human Resources Jobs and Titles
Let’s take a look at sample HR fields and titles that can fall under the larger HR umbrella.
Entry-Level Human Resources Jobs
Entry-level HR jobs (entry-level assistants or entry-level recruiters) might assist and support HR managers with paperwork and other administrative tasks as well as vet and onboard talent.
Recruiting coordinators (also titled junior recruiting coordinators and senior recruiting coordinators) specialize in all areas of an organization’s recruitment needs. They might:
- Develop job descriptions and posting open positions
- Schedule interviews and conducting background checks
- Maintain applicant records
- Represent companies at career fairs and recruiting events
- Source qualified candidates using social media and recruiting databases
An HR assistant, recruiting assistant or HR benefits specialist performs primarily administrative functions such as documenting absences, grievances and terminations and compiles performance and benefits reports. HR assistants may also support recruiting, hiring and training processes.
An HR generalist (also called a people and culture generalist) performs a wide range of tasks in support of HR managers and directors, such as:
- Administering HR policies, programs and procedures
- Employee relations
- Training and development
- Compensation and benefits administration
- Employee safety awareness education
Human Resources Manager
HR managers (also called HR/operational managers or people and culture managers) are responsible for key functions within organizations:
- Overseeing recruitment and hiring processes
- Resolving disputes between management and employees
- Provide insight and guidance on sexual harassment policies and fair hiring practices
- Developing and implementing HR procedures
- Coordinating workforce talent to best utilize employees’ skills and expertise
HR directors, or vice presidents of human resources, are executive-level individuals who oversee an organization’s HR team including HR managers. HR directors make executive decisions regarding HR system software, new policies rolled out company-wide and managing HR initiatives.
HR directors also advise senior leaders on all HR reporting and how the company can save money.
Salary Ranges and Expectations for Human Resource Jobs
What kind of pay can you expect in an HR job? If you have no experience and are a recent college graduate, you’ll make about $15.11 an hour, according to Payscale.com. Here are some average annual salaries for mid to senior-level HR roles:
- Recruiting coordinator: $46,203
- HR generalist: $53,116
- Human resources managers: $65,986
- Training and development manager: $75,192
- HR director: $87,437
Projected Growth Rate of the Human Resource Field
The projected growth rate for HR jobs varies depending on the job. Here are a few examples:
- Labor relations specialists: -8% by 2026 (poor)
- Compensation and benefits managers: 5% by 2026 (average)
- HR specialists: 7% by 2026 (average)
- HR managers: 9% by 2026 (average)
- Training and development managers: 10% by 2026 (faster than average)
New people management categories open up new opportunities within HR organizations. The Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends Report found that 84% of executives consider people analytics to be a high priority for their organizations.
People analytics, also known as talent or HR analytics, refers to using technology and statistics to analyze large sets of talent data to help HR managers and executives make better decisions about workforce planning.
Other trends such as remote workforces pose additional challenges to HR organizations. A study by the International Workplace Group found 70% of employees are working remotely at least one day per week, so HR managers need to be able to effectively manage HR functions for both on and offsite employees.
Specializing in areas such as people analytics and remote workforces mean you can carve out your own niche in and command a higher salary.
How to Get a Job in Human Resources
Here are some tips to help jump start your job search if you’re looking for a job in HR.
- Consider an internship. Many companies offer paid internships. Internships are a great way for you to see what it’s like to work in the field on a day-to-day basis. The experience could be a great resume booster and you could be hired full time.
- Check with your college’s career placement office. Career placement advisors have access to job listings and can help you find an HR job.
- Register with a staffing agency. Sign up with a staffing agency that specializes in placing HR candidates.
- Keep up on your training. Beyond earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree, acquire as many HR certifications as possible and enroll in human resources training courses.
- Join professional organizations. Join professional HR organizations such as the National Human Resources Association and the Society for Human Resources Management. You’ll be able to network with other like-minded individuals and find out about job postings.
- Tweak your resume. Make sure your resume highlights all related HR work, job duties, internships and college coursework and education.
- Network. Connect with colleagues and business partners on LinkedIn and social media to let people know you’re looking for an HR job.
- Apply. Post your resume on job search sites. Search for specific job titles and target organizations that are reputable and offer solid career paths.
Top 6 Skills to Be Successful in Human Resources
What kind of abilities and strengths do you need to be successful in a Human Resources career?
1. People Skills
You’ll need exceptional people skills so you can effectively relate to employees and colleagues. You’ll also need to be viewed as trustworthy and personable and should be able to comfortably speak and present to large and small groups within an organization.
2. Organizational Skills
Good organizational skills are essential for HR workers. You may be called upon to organize personnel files and maintain databases of employee information including hiring data, applications and terminations.
3. Tech-Savvy Skills
Most organizations use complex computer-based systems to track HR processes and programs, so you should know the latest HR software so you can analyze and interpret HR data and reports.
4. Time Management Skills
All roles within an HR team are required to juggle and prioritize many different tasks and job functions, so good time management skills are required. Various HR initiatives will involve strict timelines to achieve corporate goals.
Change is inevitable, so it’s important to be flexible. HR policies and processes are continually updated to reflect current laws and changing employee culture, so you’ll need to be adaptable.
6. Project Management Skills
HR organizations will always have various projects and initiatives in play, whether it’s a small software system update or a company-wide policy rollout on new compensation and benefits information. You may support an HR manager or lead a project, depending on your job.
Opportunities Abound in Human Resources
There are plenty of job opportunities available in HR. You can specialize in a number of areas such as recruitment, training and benefits. A solid HR team is essential to profitable businesses, so there will always be a need for HR professionals. A job in HR can provide a solid plan for retirement and job security as long as it fits your skillset.
Check out the best courses for office manager training to learn more about what it takes to be successful in a career in human resources.