Preparing for a Career in Human Resources Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Career in Human Resources

Over the last several years, the economy has been going through a number of challenges. This is because globalization and the stagnant recovery have changed the way firms are working with employees. At the heart of these transformations, is focusing on addressing the needs of talented employees and reducing costs. Those individuals, who are able to help the firm achieve these objectives, will receive better forms of compensation. As they are assisting corporations in: being able to remain competitive and are addressing the most critical needs of customers. This allows them to aggressively compete against a number of firms in the marketplace. ("Impact of Globalization on Business," 2006)

To help businesses adjust with these challenges, there has been a focus on having the human resources department (HR) playing a critical role in the process. This is because; these kinds of managers can be able to form a bond with employees (which will help them to understand what they need). Moreover, HR is assisting executives along with the board of directors in understanding a host of issues that could impact the company including: performance reviews, executive compensation, talent management, succession planning and they are helpful in integrating two different operating environments together after a merger / acquisition. The combination of these factors is important, in allowing an organization to effectively adapt with a host of challenges they will face consistently. (Harris, 2010)

As a result, the demand for HR personal is increasing by an average of 33% yearly. This is causing more college graduates and professionals to consider entering this career field. To fully understand how to become an HR professional requires look at: the different steps that must be followed and what strategies must be utilized. Together, these elements will highlight how someone can begin working in this area.

The Strategies and Steps for having a Career in HR

Step 1: Personal Characteristics

Prior to beginning any kind of career in human resource management, there are a number of different attributes that must be taken into consideration to include: the ability to work well with others, patience, flexibility, good judgment / listening skills and charisma. These areas will help an individual to have the basic tools to use in reaching out to different stakeholders. Once this takes place, is when HR personnel will serve as a liaison between employees and management. This is the point that they can be able to address critical issues impacting the firm when they are small. Over the course of time, this will reduce any kind of potential conflicts (leading to an increase in productivity). ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

Step 2: Educational Requirements

Due to the specialized personal skills that are required of all HR personnel, there are some formal education requirements. This is because specific tools and tactics must be utilized that will help the individual to address a host of issues inside the workplace. At the same time, globalization is pushing many individuals to have more specialized skills. The combination of these factors means, that all candidates must have a minimum of an Associate degree in Human Resource Management. ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

However, in order to be able to have the most specialized knowledge possible, higher degree programs are necessary. This is causing most candidates to seek out: a Bachelors, Masters or Doctoral degrees in these areas. During this process, there is focus on issues such as: industrial relations and organizational behavior / development. Once an individual has completed studying in these different areas is when they will have a basic background for working in the field. ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

Step 2: Internships

Another major requirement for being employed inside any kind of HR environment is the necessary experience. For most people, this is challenging as they have only experiences related to a classroom environment and not real world situations. In many cases, employers want someone who: has at least two to three years of experience. This is because they have the ability to work well with others and address a host of challenges. The problem is obtaining the necessary experience. ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

One possible strategy that can be utilized is to go through an internship for at least one year. This can take place, when the individual is still going to school or after they graduate. In either case, the fact that they have some kind of experience will give these people an advantage in comparison with other candidates who are applying for the position. ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

Evidence of this can be seen with a survey that was conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. They found that 96% of college graduates, who were working in HR, had completed a one year internship program. This is illustrating how internships can be utilized to help give college students the ability to gain experience working in the field. After they have completed this program, is when they will have an advantage in comparison with other candidates. ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

Step 3: Networking

A major mistake that most college students will make is they do not establish any kind of formal contacts inside the industry. This is troubling, as the lack of connections will make it difficult to be able to obtain a job inside this career field. A good example of this can be seen with statistics that were collected by the Society for Human Resource Management. They found that nearly 60% to 70% all people working in this field obtained their jobs based upon connections they had established. ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

In some cases, different contacts were made while visiting with HR personnel at job fairs and staying in contact with them. At other times, these kinds of connections are made by going down to a firm an inquiring about an HR position and internship. If this kind of approach is taken, it will increase the chances of a person being able to find the kind of job they are looking for. This can be used, as a way to gain critical experience (which will help the individual throughout their career). ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

Moreover, many of these firms also have in house HR training programs. Anyone who has personal connections inside large corporations can be able to attend these different workshops. During the hiring process, is when this will give them an advantage by: showing how they are motivated to do more. Over the course of time, this kind of approach will help to: establish a rapport with various individuals inside these firms and demonstrate a desire to be successful. For most employers, these are critical attributes that they want. ("Choose a Career," 2008) (Connelly, 2000, pp. 48 -- 75) (McKenzie, 2001, pp. 91 -- 111)

Step 4: Choosing Areas of Specialization

While the previous steps are being conducted, the individual must also consider areas of specialization. This is because HR personnel are utilized by a variety of organizations for different purposes. As a result, there are two separate disciplines to include: generalization and specialization. ("Choose a Career," 2008)


Generalization is when they are focused on a number of different areas inside a firm to include: staffing, training / developing employees, managing a diverse workforce, maintaining a fair / equitable compensation program, developing personnel policies / procedures, planning ways to meet the human resource needs of the future and ensuring that internal policies / programs conform to all laws affecting the workplace. These areas are designed to have HR serve one single function that will address all the needs impacting an organization. This means that there are a number of different job titles that will be applied to these kinds of positions including: HR Business Partner, HR Generalist, HR Department, Chief HR Officer, People Services Specialist and HR Manager. This is illustrating how HR functions and job titles will vary under this designation. As a result, understanding them and their responsibilities will help candidates to determine if this is a discipline they want to focus on. ("Choose a Career," 2008)


Specialization is when HR personnel are concentrating on a number of areas including: workforce planning / recruitment, HR development, total rewards, risk management and employee / labor relations. Workforce planning is concentrating on: implementing the organization's recruiting strategy, interviewing applicants, administering pre-employment tests, assisting with conducting background investigations, processing transfers, promotions and terminations. This will help firms to…

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