What could my career in human resources look like?

July 28, 2021 · 5 min read · By ASU Online
Do you want to support the career ambitions of the people around you while crafting a supportive work environment? Are you interested in helping companies develop their internal talent? Consider exploring a career in human resources.

Learn if human resources is a good career for you

Human resources managers have a wide range of responsibilities. From explaining employee benefits programs to ensuring that working environments remain safe and respectful, HR teams oversee critical operations that help businesses run smoothly.

What does the HR department do?

The human resources department is in charge of crucial business administration tasks. Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Acquiring talent.
  • Assessing performance.
  • Handling employee concerns.
  • Supporting ongoing management and training for staff.

Representatives from the HR department oversee the entire trajectory of an employee’s tenure with a company, right from the beginning.

HR professionals have the following responsibilities:

  • Help complete the hiring process.
  • Interview candidates.
  • Onboard new employees.
  • Recruit new applicants.

Once new employees are ready to work, HR may assist in facilitating benefits and compensation programs, handle concerns about the workplace and participate in employee assessments.

Many HR leaders are also in charge of talent development. In this capacity, they help workers excel in their current role, acquire new abilities and grow their careers.


What are the different jobs in HR?

HR jobs within the associate, assistant manager or manager level vary according to specialization in the field of human resources. Some common duties in HR roles include writing job descriptions and managing resource acquisitions.

Companies with a more generalized approach to HR may simply employ human resources assistants and higher-ranking human resources management staff. Larger companies, or those that approach the field from a different angle, may hire HR professionals with a variety of specializations.

Human resources jobs and similar roles that require more specific expertise and knowledge include:

  • Compensation and benefits managers and specialists.
  • Executive recruiters.
  • HR and employee education consultants.
  • Labor relations managers and specialists.
  • Training and development managers and specialists.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources skills are in demand, and the field is growing faster than the average rate of other jobs. An HR professional’s income ranges widely depending on the industry, responsibilities and experience. According to BLS data from 2019:


What are the different career paths you can pursue in HR?

Professionals in the field of human resources are in demand in nearly every market. Human resources professionals work in business, agriculture, technology, education, startups, nonprofits, medical and research industries. With skills in employee recruitment and retention, you can choose the market that best suits your personal interests. There are also HR firms that professionals can join. Some HR professionals open their own consulting agencies, so you can choose to advise and develop human resource plans for an ongoing variety of industries.


What are the responsibilities of an HR professional?

Duties and responsibilities for HR staff include overseeing the hiring process, managing employee benefits and facilitating communication between employees and upper management. Each of these tasks may be assigned to different specialists or be part of an HR generalist’s manager job description.

In addition to finding, vetting and informing candidates about their hiring progress, those who oversee the hiring process must also update job descriptions. They may alter position details, like years of experience required, in job description templates. When they’re hiring for certain positions, such as jobs that handle sensitive information or work with children, HR staff may have to perform background checks as well.

No matter which career specialization you pursue, many of your responsibilities will include communicating clearly and effectively with employees and company leadership.


How do I get into HR?

To become a human resources specialist, you will want to earn a bachelor’s degree and acquire work experience in the field. There’s no single pathway for starting your career in human resource management because HR exists in nearly all industries. Many educational backgrounds are applicable to pursuing a career in the field.

Focus on acquiring the specific abilities that will lead to success in human resources. Specifically, to begin your journey on this career path, you might find it useful to learn about topics related to business administration and management, communication and employee development. Gaining knowledge about employment law can also be helpful in pursuing your HR career.


What qualities should an HR professional possess?

Human resources job descriptions often list decision-making abilities and organization among the qualities needed to succeed in HR.

  • To fulfill their regular job duties, HR managers should be able to:
  • Build interpersonal relationships: It’s important that employees at your organization feel comfortable talking to you about any HR issues they may be experiencing. HR managers often also make sure that employees feel appreciated for their contributions.
  • Demonstrate leadership: HR managers have to supervise supporting staff with specialized job functions. They also must be leaders at their organizations, implementing innovative talent acquisition and development strategies.
  • Resolve conflicts: Part of the human resources job description entails acting as a mediator. Regarding disputes within the office, HR managers need to remain impartial. They should help all parties involved in the conflict work toward a resolution. HR managers also ensure that company policies are upheld. If any parties break those rules, they will need to be held accountable.
  • Solve problems: An HR manager must be resourceful and take initiative to resolve issues before they grow. For example, some companies have difficulty retaining employees. This can create bigger issues if left unaddressed. Human resources leaders work to improve company culture. They find out what employees need so they can remain engaged with the company and its mission.


What degree should you pursue to go into HR?

There are many different educational pathways that lead to a career in HR. To decide which degree you need, determine what kind of career you want to have in the field.

Future HR specialists may want to pursue one of the following degree programs:


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