According to the projections of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in human resource are expected to grow much faster than average at 22 percent from 2008 until 2018. Now, that is good news in a tight job market characterized by layoffs across many industries and states. Plus, a human resource career offers many specializations within the field, which is contrary to the common misconception that human resource employment is limited to preparing payrolls and the like.
Before you can apply for the many available human resource positions, you must be qualified in the first place. On one hand, you should possess a college degree preferably in human resource management although degrees in other related fields like business, economics and psychology are also highly accepted as educational qualifications. The most important thing with human resource jobs is the college degree because of the diverse functions required of the professional in this field, which can range from dealing with top executives and laborers to preparing voluminous reports and proposals.
On the other hand, you must possess the right training exposure and work experience for the job. Of course, these aspects of the qualification requirements will vary depending on the specialization. You can start by joining certification organizations like the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans for attaining the Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS); the American Society for Training and Development Certification Institute for the learning and performance field; and the Society for Human Resource Management for the Professional in Human Resources and the Senior Professional in Human Resources certifications.
All careers in human resources demand certain personality traits, skills and qualities for effective and efficient performance of whatever human resource positions being filled by the professional. You have to possess excellent oral and written communication skills; proficient knowledge in computer software especially dealing with storage and retrieval; ability to deal with diplomacy and tact with many types of people in many different situations; and the capacity to carry out your duties with utmost discretion, unquestionable integrity and determined sense of responsibility. Indeed, a human resource career is not for the faint-hearted.
General and Specialist Paths
Here are a few of the possible paths for human resource employment. You will observe that these human resource jobs span the range from the entry level to the executive or specialist, which means that you may have to choose one and pursue the requirements of said specialization before being considered for the job.
First, the human resources generalists are often the entry-level jobs that many college graduates aim for when looking at a career in human resources. You can then move up the corporate ladder to become a manager or a director of human resources. Generally speaking, generalists have the responsibility for all of the functions in line with human resource positions, said functions of which include training, hiring and evaluating the performance of the employees. In many organizations, functions like organization development, policy recommendations and employee relations are added depending on the hierarchy.
Second, amongst all the careers in human resources, the job of the labor relations as well as the industrial relations professionals must be the most stressful. These human resource jobs require dealing with labor unions on one side and management on the other side, a relationship not known for its cordiality in many labor situations. In many ways, too, these jobs are the ones with the most impact because of their many functions like administration of labor contracts and negotiations for collective bargaining agreements.
Third, if you are the type who likes to mediate between two warring factions, then human resource employment as a dispute mediator and negotiator is right up your alley. Your job will require a good dose of diplomacy, determination and decisiveness when trying to make two parties come to a workable compromise especially during disputes over labor practices.
Fourth, you may also become a training specialist. Your job responsibilities include preparing, implementing and evaluating training and development programs for all sectors of the organization. Today, many organizations are realizing the value of human resources training to develop skills, enhance productivity and quality of work and, of course, build loyalty to the organization.
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