How to Begin a Career in Human Resources

Many people are eager to start a career in Human Resources (HR). It is a fast-growing field with many lucrative opportunities for managers, HR generalists, and more. There are several job titles for which you may eventually qualify if you pursue an HR career. 

Career analysts expect the number of Human Resources jobs to increase in the future, and the median annual income for careers in the field is above the national average. This all makes Human Resources careers exceptional opportunities for people starting out in the workforce.

Check out the following information for guidance when you're considering a rewarding HR career.

01
How to Break Into a Career in HR

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It's easier to break into a career in Human Resources if you plan your life, education, and work experience around the field. The income and opportunity prospects, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, are favorable for the next decade or two.

HR is a professional career that demands integrity, confidentiality (employee information is sacrosanct), and a high level of interpersonal interaction abilities from its practitioners. Increasingly, for a successful career in HR, you will also need business management, finance, and accounting education and experience when possible.

You must be prepared to develop a thorough understanding of the business your employer is engaged in to succeed in a career in HR.

02
How to Prepare for an HR Career

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Liking people is not the only qualification for pursuing a career in Human Resources. It helps, but it is insufficient for success. HR jobs and careers continue to grow in sophistication, and the expectations of employers increase every year.

Your ability to contribute to employee development, organization development, employee retention, and a positive, motivating work environment is critical to business success. Consequently, these are expectations of the contributions of HR staff.

And, most importantly for the future, your expertise in measuring how HR processes and programs will contribute to the success of the overall business is critical to the success of the business.

03
Job Prospects and Earnings

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Occupational Outlook Handbook, the prospects for various Human Resources jobs vary by position. However, they range from growing as fast as the average growth for other occupations to having an even faster growth than the average for other occupations.

Research the available job prospects and potential earnings as you make your decisions about a career focus in the HR field.

04
Transition to a Career

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People take widely divergent paths on their journey to working in Human Resource management. They enter HR management by luck and by design, and they stay because they enjoy the work and the people. Common themes emerge when you read the stories people tell about their transition into HR management.

Readers have shared their stories about how they made the transition to HR. I have summarized some of their knowledge in this article.

05
Why Human Resources Leaders Need Degrees

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Human Resources leaders need degrees. If you are considering a career in HR or trying to advance your current career, a bachelor's degree and even a master's degree will assist you in achieving your goals and dreams. 

Degrees have become more important in most fields, but nowhere has the shift occurred quite as dramatically as in HR. Where in the early days of the field a person could advance to the level of a VP with no degree, this is less common now. Additionally, more HR professionals are obtaining legal degrees, because employment law is complex.

As organizational expectations of the potential contributions of an HR pro have increased, the need for the HR leader to possess both experience and a degree has increased, too. 

 

06
Are Certifications Required?

Some certifications can be helpful for an HR career
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There are several HR certifications such as the

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) through the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM)
  • Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI)

How necessary they depend on many factors such as your region and your expectations for your career in HR.

Certifications are not required to begin a career in HR. But, especially in larger cities and in major companies, the certifications regularly appear on job postings as requirements. Small to mid-sized organizations are slowly coming on board, so this makes the certification nice to have but not required.

Certified HR professionals make substantially more money than their uncertified peers, so certification is something you may want to consider as your progress in your HR career.

07
Ready to Start?

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Are you ready to begin your Human Resources career? If you've completed all of the earlier steps successfully, this preparation will boost your prospects for a successful career in HR.

Learn about job prospects in your area and the types of positions that may be open for you so you can quickly find your dream job in HR.

08
Find Out About HR Employment

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As you begin your career in Human Resouces, it helps to truly understand the basics of HR employment, including all the job titles and what people do in each position.