A career in human resources offers so many opportunities, and the field continues to grow. I’ve been asked by people I’ve mentored to provide advice on helpful “entry paths” to this fascinating profession. Here are my suggestions for developing your academic profile and obtaining essential skills and experience.
Pursue Higher Education
One way to kick-start your ambitions is by pursuing relevant higher education in HR from a competent learning institution. Earning a certificate, diploma, undergraduate degree, or even a graduate degree prepares you to undertake further responsibilities upon graduation. The higher the level of education you pursue, the better your chances of focusing on the particular types of available jobs in which you’re interested. In addition, I suggest you pay particular attention to related courses, such as business and labor laws, management, economics, and statistics, even if your major doesn’t require those courses.
I also think it is beneficial to sign up for training seminars and workshops in subjects related to HR. Some of the topics to consider are human resource management, employment law, performance management, compensation and benefits, employee relations, and employee development. You may find programs that will award you a certificate upon the successful completion of training – all the better! As always, remember to do your “due diligence” before spending money and time on a course.
Once you’ve worked on your education and training, I recommend that you “venture” into the profession and start using your skills to acquire experience in HR. One suggestion is to reach out to a non-profit institution devoted to a cause in which you’re interested to see if there are internship or volunteer possibilities. Once again, if this is your first “real world” experience in HR, do your “due diligence” to make sure that any internship offers some supervision or oversight that will help you learn and develop your skills.
Professional Networking and Preparing for Success
Networking is, not surprisingly, an essential component in successfully entering the HR field. Your efforts should include, at a minimum, creating a professional profile and resume on LinkedIn and other networking sites, attending industry conferences, and joining organizations such as SHRM.