Nicole Parsons, partner at MP Ventures & Trusts says “Human resource specialists are essential gear in a successful company. As an HR specialist, you will be responsible for recruiting and placing workers, handling employee relations, overseeing payroll, training, and more.”
Traditional career pathways to becoming an HR professional are attained through a college education at the associate, bachelor, or master’s level. Additionally, we will cover other ways outside of College or University to get your HR career Started. HR Is a fast and ever-growing rewarding field.
Earn an associate’s degree to qualify for entry-level positions
An associate’s degree in HR is typically the minimum education requirement for an entry-level HR job. However, it is possible to get into an entry-level HR position without any college education, recent trends in the hiring process suggest having one increases the chances of being hired.
Associate degree holders are usually hired as human resources generalists. HR assistants, recruiters, payroll assistants, and clerks are some of the most common jobs for graduates that possess an associate degree.
“If you have an associate degree and you want to advance in the HR field, consider continuing your education,” says Parsons. “Achieving a bachelor’s or master’s degree combined with HR experience during your entry-level time will help advance you to get more specialized HR jobs.”
While in the entry-level position, it will be important to speak with your employer and ask if they offer any continual education, tuition reimbursement, or incentives. Building long-term relationships with companies is an often overlooked but crucial step in career advancement. In the advent that your employer does not offer any further education, many universities offer night, weekend, and online classes to meet your schedule needs.
Attain a bachelor’s degree to fill more specialized roles
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree are often hired as office managers, human resources officers, training and development officers, and other human resources specialists. As an HR major, you will study a range of topics, such as ethics, employment law, communications, and office technology.
While studying, it will be essential to select supportive elective fields of study to further enhance your HR specialization. For example, as an HR Specialist, you will be handling cases of harassment and expanding your knowledge of oppressive or hostile workplace dynamics by taking courses in gender studies, women’s studies, or the history of labor. Having historical and social insight into conflict can improve your working ability and style.
Although having a Human Resources major is ideal, do not feel discouraged from HR positions if your major is in another field. Graduates from finance, business management, and information technology often fill these positions just as well!
Get a master’s degree to qualify for leadership positions
If you choose to further your education in HR past a bachelor’s degree, enrolling in a master’s program is the next step. A master’s degree in human resources will qualify you for jobs such as program designer, learning officer, and training facilitator. If you have goals or ambitions to design innovative programs and train company staff this is for you!
Consider earning an HR certification
Certification is not always required for an HR job, however, it is held in high regard and it is common for hiring managers to look for one in your resume. Additionally, having the extra skill and certification usually comes with a higher salary.
The main certification organization is the HR Certification Institute. The HRCI offers many different levels of certification based on your education and length of time working as a human resource professional. This is a valuable addition to your skill set that can enhance your resume and workability.
Stay current on HR trends
Regardless of your educational background in the field, it is important to recognize workplace trends, standards, and protocols are ever-changing and important to keep track of. Your analysis and input as an HR Professional should be up-to-date and current. Understanding new trends and technologies can help you work more efficiently and understand new programs and procedures.
“If your employer or HR organization offers a workshop, consider attending. Online workshops and webinars have become increasingly common, says Parsons. “These remove the need to travel and will allow you to network with people all over the world. Consider this as an opportunity many in the past decades did not get. Use this to your advantage!”
Subscribe to HR publications. Workforce Magazine and HR Professionals Magazine address developments in the HR field. The International Journal of Human Resources Management is a research journal focused on HR trends. Publications will assist you with current issues that will help you build a successful career.
Seek out human resource internships
Internships are a great way to gain HR experience, especially if you are still in school. If you already have an interest in Human Resources, consider an internship, future employers will always be looking for experience and involvement.
While you are interning, there are several benefits like networking, connection expansion, technology interaction, and skill development. Job fairs and online job boards are great places to find information about internships. If there is a specific company that you are interested in working for, take some time to reach out and contact the company and inquire if the company has any open internships or learning opportunities.
While you are in school ask your professors about the internship position that you desire. Often Professors are in touch with professionals in the field and may know of open positions available. Visit the career and development center at your school as they are equipped to help you navigate all of your career questions.
Additionally, they are able to directly connect you with internships that are relevant to your program and can save you some time and searching. You are more likely to get into the job as a Human Resources Professional with intern experience. While it is not a requirement, the added skills are helpful in the field and in the hiring process.
About Nicole Parsons
Nicole Parsons of Newfoundland served as the Director of Corporate Services for Nalcor Energy where she provided strategic leadership. Her human resource experience spans over two decades, and her expertise includes HR systems and processes, diversity management, union negotiations, and much more.
She graduated from the Memorial University of Newfoundland with a co-op Bachelor of Commerce Honors Degree and Human Resources / Industrial Relations. Parsons received her Harassment Investigation Level I & II, NL from Hill Advisory Services, and attended the Strategic Financial Skills executive education courses through Southern Methodist University.