How to become an HR professional

August 8th 2019 | Posted by phil scott

How to become an HR professional

Human Resources is a fast-growing field in today’s world, with more and more people eager to get a career in it.

There are many lucrative opportunities available for managers, HR business partners, HR generalists, and other such professionals in the field.

With the median annual income of HR professionals expected to and rise above the national average and the number of HR jobs on the rise, HR a very attractive field for new entrants into the job market as well as individuals looking to make a career change.

If you are looking to advance your career in HR, here are some ideas that should help you on your journey as an HR professional…

Entering the field of Human Resources

Breaking into a career in HR is easy if you plan your education and work experience around it. The remuneration of most jobs in the field and as well as the future outlook of the sector look very good for the next 15 to 20 years. A career in human resources demands integrity, uprightness, confidentiality (employee info is and should be sacred in the eyes of all HR professionals), and great interpersonal skills.

Interestingly, you must also be well-versed in finance, accounting, and business management if you are to do well in HR. You must be able and willing to put in the effort required to thoroughly understand the business that your employer is in. Only then will you be able to succeed and reach the very top of your profession.

Preparation for a career in HR

You don’t just need to be good with people to become a competent HR professional. You will be expected to contribute to the wholesome development of employees as well as the organisation as a whole. Things like employee training and retention, effective employee engagement, and the creation of a positive as well as a challenging work environment will be some of the expectations from the HR department in any organisation.

In addition, being able to evaluate how different types of HR programs and procedures will contribute to the growth and success of the business will be important in your job as an HR person as well.

Career prospects and earning potential

Career prospects in HR will tend to vary with position. In general, there will be lots of positions where growth will be similar or faster to corresponding positions in another field. You will need to do some research on this based on your expertise and interests.

Educational requirements

If you are looking to pursue a career in HR, then the best and most obvious academic qualifications would be to get a bachelor’s degree (or master’s degree for brighter career prospects) in Human Resource Management. Professional degrees have become ever more important with time and HR has seen the most dramatic shift in this regard.

In the past, you could expect to rise through the ranks and become a VP without having a formal degree in the field. That is rare nowadays. Also, more and more HR people are obtaining law degrees because employment regulations continue to become more complex with time. Put simply, employers’ expectations of the contribution that an HR department is supposed to make have significantly increased and this requires that HR personnel have both relevant degrees and experience in order to do their jobs well.

The potential need for certifications

Different certifications such as Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) are available these days for people working in human resources. Whether they are necessary for you or not will depend on your region and the expectations that you have from your HR career.

Larger organisations often make it a mandatory part of their job postings that applicants hold some professional certification. As time goes on, small and medium-sized organisations are also starting to adopt this practice. Certified human resource professionals are certainly better paid compared to others in the field. So, you may want to consider going for a professional HR certification, but it is not a mandatory requirement as of right now.

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