Essential steps in pursuing a HR career

Steve Wynn, the CEO of Wynn Resorts Limited, has said “Human resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business.” Rightly so, because people are the key to running a business successfully, impacting its growth significantly more than any other factor. Recruiting, rewarding and retaining the right people is key for business growth, and this makes human resources a very attractive career option in this day and age.

Key tasks

There are many things that are handled by a human resource management professional. These include the following:

  • Putting out ads for their requirements of new candidates
  • Sifting through numerous job applications and interviewing prospective candidates
  • Getting new hires on board and conducting orientation and training
  • Reviewing and modifying current work practices
  • Identifying candidates with high potential to move up in the organization
  • Conducting performance reviews for employees

Essential steps to start your career

Becoming a HR professional is certainly a popular career option. It would be wise to pay attention to the following steps:

Evaluate your skills

Study your skill set and take an honest call on whether or not you have the skills – and not just the interest – to succeed. Every aspect of your work involves dealing with people, and the following traits most certainly come in handy:

  • Objectivity: approach every matter in an unbiased fashion
  • Strong communication skills: clear articulation and communication are essentials for human resource management professionals, especially when diffusing tense situations
  • Empathy and approachability: it is essential to understand and value the feelings of others, while being able to not get too emotionally invested in the situation
  • Calmness under pressure: quick, logical thinking in critical, high-pressure situations is a useful ability
  • Integrity: you will be in charge of some very sensitive employee data, who must have the trust of the company in protecting it from misuse

Understand positions and jobs in the HR field

There is a diverse set of job positions and titles available to HR professionals, and it is critical to know the associated roles and responsibilities. The positions could include HR generalist, associate, manager, admin, and many more, and there being no one code for HR positions, each company is likely to assign different tasks to these roles. Another thing to consider is that while smaller companies will allow the experience of a wider set of responsibilities than those typically tasked to HR, while at larger companies, specialized departments handle different sub-responsibilities but the opportunities to advance are greater. Ensure you are well-networked with other professionals in the field.

Get the right education

There is no one educational path that an aspirant for a HR career must tread, nor regulations or specifications about the mandatory qualifications. Most companies do require a four-year degree typically in HR, or if from an unrelated field, accompanied by an online HR certification. Common subjects whose knowledge is valued include management, compensation, accounting, recruitment and training.

Start small and work hard

For mid- to high-level positions in HR, experience requirements vary from up to three years to up to 10 years. If you are a student, you would do well to seek out internship opportunities that could allow an experience of how HR works at a corporate, which is a good way to get a foot in the door.

Get certified

As mentioned previously, a professional certification is a great way to begin your career in the field, as well as if you have some HR experience and are looking to move up in your roles and responsibilities. An online HR certification is something you could do along with your current job, and is excellent testimony to your skills.

Remember that a HR career is not just about being organized and systematic, or being a people’s person. There are a lot more things to consider, so think sensibly and act wisely.

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