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How to start a career in HR

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Where can you gain some experiences in HR industry?
Do you really need a degree in HR in order to land a job?
What are some tools/software commonly used by HR professionals?

Thanks!
#human-resources
#career-details
#business
#hiringsolution

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7 answers

Ivanna’s Answer

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Hi Cindy,

I've noticed that not everyone has a degree in HR. In my case I have a BA in Psychology and Economics and a MSc in work and organizational Psychology. My Masters required me to obtain an internship in HR which gave me greater insight and experience in HR. Learning theories and practices is great but the experiences is what will allow you to grow. When I started to apply, I noticed it very competitive (this varies per location) so having some experience is ALWAYS helpful. Start with an internship and then apply to be a coordinator.

HR has many fields-- recruiting, operations, hr systems, compensation, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, business partners. Starting with an internship or coordinator position will allow you to see everything without getting involved in just one section of HR. You will then decide what you like best. If you are a people person, organized and on top of everything-- you will excel and keep growing in the field.

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Best,
Ivanna
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sushma’s Answer

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Education and Training for an HR Career
HR professionals come into the field with a wide variety of educational backgrounds. However, many HR positions require candidates with a minimum of a four-year degree. A bachelor's degree in human resources, personnel management, or some other related subject such as psychology or sociology will offer the best training for an HR career.


Such a degree will also be more highly regarded among hiring managers than degrees in, for example, chemistry or packaging, fields only peripherally related to working with people.

If you're starting out or thinking about switching to a career in Human Resources today, you need to obtain a degree. You will find yourself competing for jobs with other individuals who may have as much experience as you do and who also have a degree.

Human Resource Manager Positions
If you would like to pursue a managerial position or specialized career in HR, some schools offer business degrees that are more focused on a certain area of human resources. Naturally, a graduate-level degree in a related field will help to place you on more hiring shortlists.

Whether you pursue a general HR degree or a more specialized practice within HR, you should be sure to take courses that cover topics such as management, recruitment, training, and compensation so that you have the key skills necessary to succeed in an HR career. Of course, there are many other business courses that relate to the HR field, so an interdisciplinary program is good.

Human Resource Certifications
In addition to a college degree, many professionals will have the opportunity to seek certification in certain HR disciplines. In fact, large companies will sometimes offer workshops and classes that broaden an existing professional's HR skills.

By completing a professional certification course, you can increase your earning potential. Examples of certifications include the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) or Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

If you are already working in an entry-level HR position, earning a certification could help boost your career. Likewise, it could help you transition from a different department to an HR position.
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Jaclyn’s Answer

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Hi there! The good thing about HR is that most companies need and have HR departments, whether that means they have one person that does all of their HR needs (for a smaller company), or hundreds of HR professionals. While this was not my path, I know that a lot of people get their foot in the door with HR through recruiting. It seems to be a good place to start for entry level HR, and generally does not require an HR degree. That being said, you do not necessarily need an HR degree to land a job in HR, however if you do not have that type of degree, then some companies will expect that you have some experience.
I would suggest looking for internships as well that could help you get your foot in the door. There are also a lot of professional HR clubs (i.e. SHRM - Society for Human Resource Management) that can help you build your network. There are a lot of HR systems out there that companies use, such as PeopleSoft and Workday, although I am not sure if you can gain much experience using them outside of a classroom setting dedicated to HRIS, or a working in them through a company.
Best of luck!
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Meghan’s Answer

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Hi Cindy! You don't have to have a certain degree to get started in HR. I think recruiting, like one of the other answers mentioned, is a great place to start. A great option is to find a local business - anything! - and just call to ask if you can talk to their HR person to understand how their job looks day to day. If you pick a business that you're excited about in particular, it could be a great way to show your interest and get a part-time job or internship helping out and learning more about HR. In my experience, showing the motivation to reach out and have the conversation has always turned out well!
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Shana’s Answer

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You do not need a degree, but having HR degree will make you more marketable in the industry. Common software is Peoplesoft, Oracle and Kronos, and Taleo.
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Anne’s Answer

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Hi Cindy,

I’m so glad to hear you are interested in HR. I would say that while you don’t need a degree in HR, a certification from SPHR would be very helpful. It would expose you to each discipline of HR.
Also, think of your strengths -
Is it with numbers? If so, compensation may be good for you.
Do you have strong interpersonal skills? In that case training and development or an HR generalist role could work for you. if you like a fast paced role, then recruiting could be for you.

The systems I am familiar with are Peoplesoft, Workday and Taleo for recruiting.

How to break into HR? Well there are a number of ways. Maybe enhance your current job to include some HR if you are in a small
Company, or apply to entry level positions or internships in larger companies.

Good luck in your pursuit.

Anne recommends the following next steps:

  • Let us know how it goes for you.
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BreAnne’s Answer

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Hi! I would suggest a degree in HR would help in getting your foot in the door if you do not have applicable experience. Consider getting a PHR or SPHR certification if you do not have the degree as another way to break into the field. In addition to the tools mentioned above, Workday is also a great tool. Also, more and more industries want HR people with analytical skills, so Alteryx and Tableau are great to know.
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