Human Resources (HR) is a general term meant to cover a wide range of activities. Today's HR professionals are responsible for hiring and firing employees, creating organizational charts, shaping corporate culture after a merger or acquisition, managing employee communications, settling employee disputes, creating benefits programs, navigating government regulations, dealing with legal issues such as sexual harassment and occupational safety, setting up policy and programs for measuring performance and compensating, recognizing and training employees.

In other words, HR doesn't consist of a single activity or function but a huge network of them; it refers to everything related to the employer-employee relationship. In HR there is something for just about everyone. The responsibilities and activities of HR practitioners vary depending on the size of a company. At a small company, the HR director will usually wear many hats, whereas at bigger companies you will find both generalist and specialist HR roles.

Skills

Skills needed for work in this industry
  • Rapport building/relationship management
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality
  • Ability to balance employee and management view points
  • Ability to demonstrate fairness
  • Strategic
  • Team orientation
  • Analytical
  • Customer Service

Degrees and Certifications

Degrees and Certifications to work in this industry

 

HR Certification Institute- HR Certification PHR

The Professional in Human Resources (PHR®) certification is designed for the HR professional who

  • focuses on program implementation
  • has tactical/logistical orientation
  • is accountable to another HR professional within the organization
  • typically has two to four years of professional (exempt-level) work experience in all HR disciplines, but whose experience lacks the breadth and depth of a more senior-level HR practitioner  
  • has not yet had progressive and increasingly complicated HR work experience
  • has responsibilities that focus on the HR department rather than on the whole organization
  • Contact our Industry Advisor for Human Resources for more information about this certification

SPHR

The Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR®) certification is designed for the HR professionals who design policy, have the highest level of accountability in the HR department, and are highly experienced HR professionals.

Contact our Industry Advisor for Human Resources for more information about this certification.

 

GPHR

The Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR®) certification is designed for the HR professional who has international HR responsibilities which span national borders, understands globalization vs. localization, designs worldwide policies, and administers overseas HR programs and policies.

Contact our Industry Advisor for Human Resources for more information about this certification.

 How to Get Started

How to get started in this industry
  1. Find an internship in an HR department. Look for administrative work in HR, many large and mid-sized departments regularly hire interns to help
  2. Join an organization for HR professionals
  3. Join an on-campus organization like:
  4. Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  5. Human Factors & Ergonomics Society, Student Chapter
  6. Keep up with news and trends related to the human resources industry

Resources

Job Functions

Human Resources Specialist

Human Resources Specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They also may handle human resources work in a variety of other areas, such as employee relations, payroll and benefits, and training.

Human Resources Manager

A middle management position that may require overseeing specialists responsible for several distinct areas in a division of a company. Strategic work may be involved such as planning HR policy and setting procedures.

Compensation and Benefits Manager

Compensation Managers plan, direct, and coordinate how and how much an organization pays its employees. Benefits managers do the same for retirement plans, health insurance, and other benefits an organization offers its employees.

Training and Development Manager

Training and Development Managers plan, direct, and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization's employees. They also oversee a staff of training and development specialist.