If you’re considering majoring in human resources, you’ll need to know there’s more to landing that all-important first job in human resources than just the degree.
Most HR professionals have at least a bachelor’s degree. While some make their way into HR via other fields, many of them majored or minored in human resources, labor relations or personnel administration. Those interested in senior management or executive-level roles often elect to pursue graduate education, such as a master’s degree in human resource development. In either case, HR professionals at every level can gain advanced skills and a competitive edge through continuing professional education and specialized human resources training, such as an online HR certificate program.
There are a variety of career specialties that fall under the HR umbrella. Examples of job titles and salary ranges* include:
- Compensation, Benefits and Job Analysis Specialists: $34,960 – $86,540
- Compensation and Benefits Managers: $50,590 – $148,390
- Employment, Recruitment and Placement Specialists: $28,370 – $87,060
- Training and Development Specialists: $30,120 – $85,860
- Training and Development Managers: $49,560 – $146,820
- Human Resources and Labor Relations Specialists: $27,360 – $94,470
- Human Resources Managers: $58,490 – $164,270
Once you’ve completed your bachelor’s degree, here are 5 ways you can break into the business and land your first job:
- Start Your Search With Entry-Level Positions: Obviously, before you can work your way up the HR ladder, you first need to get your foot in the door. A realistic place to start is an entry-level HR assistant or administrator role. While you may have to take on some fairly routine administrative duties, you’ll gain critical HR experience that will prepare you for higher-level jobs.
- Gain Relevant Work Experience: In addition to entry-level jobs, you can seek out an HR internship while earning your degree or contact temp agencies to see if they have any HR placements. These are great ways to acquire practical experience in the HR field, and can potentially lead to full-time job offers. At the very least, working in the field gives you concrete experience to discuss in an HR job interview.
- Seek Work in Recruitment: Another path to a corporate HR career is through a recruiting job with a search firm or placement agency. You can parlay sales, account management or business development experience into a recruiting position, and then apply your recruiting skills to land a job within an organization’s HR department.
- Additional Human Resources Training: If your degree is in a field other than HR or if you’re seeking advanced credentials to set your résumé apart, you can enroll in a continuing education program to enhance your HR expertise. Consider an online certificate program from a reputable university, which will help you gain valuable knowledge and skills, gain valuable insights from industry experts and prepare for career-boosting HR certification.
- Network, Network, Network: Connecting with professionals who are currently working in the HR field is an excellent way to learn about internship opportunities and job openings. Join an HR industry organization, such as the Society for Human Resources Management, and attend local chapter events to expand your professional network. If you pursue professional human resources training, reach out to your instructors and fellow classmates.
Through work experience, human resources training and networking, you can increase your odds of landing a sought-after HR job after graduation.
Claudia Vandermilt is from Villanova University Online.