A career in HR is a popular choice among young professionals today. With the people of the organization getting their rightful place in the sun as the most valuable resource of the organization, it becomes critical to manage them and take care of their requirements and concerns. This makes it critical to have the HR function staffed with capable, forward-thinking professionals.
This comes from the change in the nature of HR work itself. From being largely an administrative function handling recruitment, onboarding, training, salaries, and exit formalities, HR has now taken on a strategic dimension.
Organizations are realizing the role people play in achieving organizational goals and success, and HR professionals are thus tasked with creating and implementing people strategies that help the organization to reach strategic success.
What sort of people works in HR?
For candidates working as HR professionals, several attributes come in handy. They must have excellent problem-solving skills, along with an analytical approach, impartiality, and objectivity.
Communication is a key aspect of the job, both verbal and written, as it involves interacting with people. What is also needed is strong ethics, and empathy for employee concerns.
Which academic qualifications are suitable for HR careers?
It is not a strict prerequisite, but most entry-level HR jobs look for at least an undergraduate degree in human resource management or related disciplines. For more senior roles, the requirements are upped to a graduate degree in HRM or related disciplines. Along with this, it is not uncommon to hold HR certifications for stronger credibility.
This though does not mean that non-HRM candidates do not have scope in HR. A candidate who is strong in mathematics and science could work very well in compensation and benefits, a key HR task. Training is an important aspect of HR work, and teachers are well suited to this responsibility.
Legal students and experts too can find productive employment in the HR field, as their knowledge and experience can be put to use in the position of labor relations specialists.
How does one move up the HR ladder?
There is clearly more than one route to enter the HR field and become an HR professional. Ultimately, the person seeks to move up the ladder and grow in the HR career. Here are some important aspects to consider to achieve this goal:
- Strong education and training: As discussed, an undergraduate or graduate degree in HR or related disciplines is possibly the most direct entry route. With proper research and understanding of the work profile, candidates from seemingly unrelated disciplines can also make their way into HR and climb the ladder of success.
Add to the academic qualifications by taking up a continuing education program. The right classes, workshops, and seminars are invaluable sources of knowledge for HR professionals.
A popular choice is to opt for certifications for HR professionals. Several institutions offer certifications in HR, and choosing the right one becomes critical. A certification is a testimony to the candidate possessing the latest skills and know-how in the HR field.
Along with this, it shows that the person desires to learn and grow, and is ready to take on higher responsibilities.
- Work experience: Theoretical bases aside, actual on-the-job HR experience is essential and critical. This is the only way to know how academic concepts apply to the real world, and how different the latter truly is from textbooks.
- Administrative professionals often make the transition to HR and grow into its strategic aspects. Sales and networking professionals or recruiters can also make good HR candidates.
- Networking: It is essential to attend professional events with possibilities for networking with other industry professionals, especially senior ones who could provide invaluable guidance and possibly mentorship.