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Understanding the Possible HR Opportunities and How to Gain an Edge

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The U.S. Department of Labor asserts that human resource (HR) employment will grow by 22 percent in the 2008-2018 decade. Indeed, it is safe to say that where other professions have been adversely affected by recession, HR opportunities for qualified professionals are excellent.

Contributing Factors

Many factors can be attributed to the bountiful nature of the HR employment opportunities. First, every organization from the for-profit to the non-profit groups wants to attract and keep the best people within it for obvious reasons. The achievement of organizational goals, after all, rests not on the money and machines present but on how well the manpower runs these assets. Thus, HR job opportunities can be said to exist in all industries and companies albeit with varying position titles.



Second, in the face of the recession and, consequently, the flood of applicants, human resource specialists are needed to match the right job with the right applicant. Companies have little extra resources to waste on training and paying new employees that were wrong for the job in the first place.

Third, HR work opportunities also exist in areas requiring specialized knowledge, skills and capacities. We are talking about specializations in labor and industrial relations to avoid the possibility of costly labor litigations; employee benefits development to ensure that workers are satisfied with pay and perks without driving the company into the ground; and occupational and safety issues brought by changes in legislation and court rulings, to name a few.

Truly, opportunities in HR can be said to be a goldmine of jobs just waiting to be discovered. The most important things with grabbing these HR opportunities are to know what to look for in them, where to look for them and how to look for them so that landing a job becomes a reality.

Human Resources Generalists and Specialists

Let's start with knowing what to look for in HR employment opportunities. Human resource professionals can be grouped into two general categories - generalists and specialists. The choice of which category - or subcategory, as is the case with specialists - to fall into often starts during one's college years when the minimum bachelor's degree in related fields is being acquired.

For example, a generalist may have chosen to pursue a bachelor's degree in human resource management while the specialist started on his path by acquiring a degree in, say, labor and industrial relations. After graduation, the HR work opportunities for these professionals may differ although not to a significant extent yet.

As the name implies, generalists are equipped to handle virtually all areas of human resource management from hiring employees to implementing retirement schemes. As such, the opportunities in HR for generalists are often wider in scope than the specialists.

Still, the specialists are also valued members of the human resources management team. Because of their specialized expertise, these professionals can offer targeted solutions in a particular area of concern. In a society that values division of labor, specialist HR job opportunities are also plentiful, not to mention also pay higher than most generalist position especially on consultancy contracts.

Just to name a few of the possible HR opportunities for specialists, there are employment and placement managers; recruitment specialists and employment interviewers; compensation, benefits, and job analysis specialists; occupational analysts; compensation managers; training specialists; and employee benefits managers. These jobs can be found in virtually all organizations although the position titles and the attached duties, functions and responsibilities will be stated differently from one company to the next even within the same industry.

General and Specific Qualifications

Then, let's discuss how to take advantage of these HR employment opportunities. As previously mentioned, it is important to secure the minimum bachelor's degree in a related field although most employers will also require higher education like a master's degree for supervisory positions.

The work experience required will also vary but it is safe to assert that employers are looking for applicants with relevant training and experience within the same industry. If you have worked in another unrelated industry but in a similar capacity as the advertised job, we suggest highlighting transferability of your skills, knowledge and capacity to the new job.

And of course, to gain a competitive edge, we also recommend acquiring the necessary certification to practice as a human resource generalist or specialist. The certification is a mark of excellence in the profession as well as a testament to your commitment to the profession, traits that employers look for in prospective employees.

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