Dec 18, 2014

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Career Spotlight: Human Resources Professional

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Last week we shared an infographic demonstrating how women are whittling the gender wage gap in four major U.S. cities and four professional fields. This week we want to share with you how to break into–and succeed in–at least one of those fields: Human Resources.

In any economy the human resources professional is an important player in the job market, but in a struggling job market a good human resources professional is in high demand, as they must be able to select good-fit candidates for fewer jobs, from a flooded applicant pool.  So,read on and learn how you get started in this in-demand career?

What do human resources professionals do?

human resources

Depending on their title, human resources professionals manage a wide variety of tasks.  Generally, human resources professionals are responsible for creating job descriptions for vacant roles, recruiting applicants, screening and interviewing applicants, on-boarding new employees, managing employee benefits, managing payroll, providing policy implementation, as well as creating organization policies, providing employee mediation, and coordinating employee departures. Depending on the size of the company or organization a human resources professional can have a very specific responsibility, such as payroll, or oversee most of the tasks listed above.

What sort of educational background do human resources professionals have?

Human resources professionals often come from various educational backgrounds, however, many 2-year and 4-year schools offer courses and concentrations in Human Resources Administration or Business Administration.  Human Resources degree programs offer in-depth education, providing students with training in business development, marketing, sales, accounting, fundamentals of business law, recruiting, retention and development.

If you are a mid-career professional considering a transition into the human resources field, consider obtaining a human resources certificate. Certificate programs provide aspiring human resources professionals with training in in business management, workplace planning, labor relations, payroll management, organization management and employee development, to name only a few topics. Certificate programs can take anywhere from 12 weeks to 18 months to complete, depending on the program and the amount of time the participant has to commit to the program.

How do I gain professional human resources experience?

As with most careers, entry-level applicants are expected to have accumulated some prior work experience via internships.  Internships are integral to gain hands-on experience, for any career path.  However, if you are a mid-career professional who wants to transition into the human resources field, it is advised that you gain pertinent human resources skills and responsibilities, such as coordinating teams, recruitment strategies, applicant review, colleague mediation and fiscal management.  It is advised that you volunteer to take on these new tasks at your current place of employment. However,  if you are unable to take on more responsibilities in your current place of employment, or are currently unemployed, it is advised that you volunteer to take on a volunteer management or team leadership role at a non-profit, or small organization.

How much do human resources professionals earn?

Human resources assistants (entry-level) in large metropolitan areas make, on average, $41,000.  Generalists (mid-level)in metropolitan areas have an average salary of $57,000 per year.  Human resources directors in metropolitan areas can make upwards of $100,000, depending on the size of their organization.

For more information about human resources positions, job descriptions and salary in your area click here.

Do you know of a career that deserves a Career Spotlight? Let us know. Tweet us @NewLatina or @NLIntern.

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Tanisha Love Ramirez

Tanisha Love Ramirez

Tanisha is the Managing Editor at NEW LATINA, and a social commentary and pop-culture writer/blogger from New York City. She studied Sociology and Women's Studies at Bowdoin College, where she developed a strong interest women's issues and community advocacy. Tanisha has written for the Bowdoin Orient and has interned at BUST Magazine and Jezebel.com.

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