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5 Steps to Plan a Successful Career in HR

The Human Resources industry is perhaps the most overlooked when we consider the grand scheme of things, but it is, in fact, one on which a company’s future is hinged. A common misconception that plagues our outlook towards HR is that the only skill necessary is being a “people person”.

That is far from the truth.

A career in HR takes as much hard work and attention to detail as a career in astrophysics. Yes, having strong interpersonal skills has a huge bearing on the candidate’s suitability for HR jobs, however, you also need to be adept in other crucial aspects.

  1. Understand the job

In order to land an HR job, and be good at it, you first need to understand what it is that Human Resource personnel actually do. “Hiring people” is an incomplete answer.

As part of the HR workforce, one has the power to shape a company’s culture. With radical changes in employment outlooks recently, HRs are required to build a workforce that is inclusive in several aspects. Pay parity, just adjudication in matters of dispute, maintaining a safe workplace, and dismantling prejudices, if any, are some of the very critical responsibilities that HR officers have to deliver on.

  1. Plan for the road ahead

Like any other field, breaking into Human Resources requires meticulous planning. There are several approaches to this. You must keep in mind that other than just soft skills and integrity, a fruitful HR job requires other skills such as business management, accounting, finance, and so on.

If you’re in college and plan to pursue HR, take HR-related courses. Courses related to fields of Sociology, Gender, Psychology, Business, and Education provide exposure to business concepts, power structures in the workplace, potential areas of friction between workers, training and recruitment, and mental health in a working environment.

  1. Get certified

Specialised certifications have come to acquire a great deal of emphasis in the labour market. There are some certifications which provide relevant skills needed for landing a good HR job:

  • Human Resource Certification Institute: HRCI is a US-based certification provider. Certificate courses pertinent to the field of HR generalists, administrators and managers are available. Both theoretical knowledge and its application are rigorously tested. Certifications from HRCI have to be renewed every 3 years.
  • Society for HR Management: Many opt for certificate courses from SHRM to boost their career prospects and job credentials. Leadership, Interpersonal skills and Business are the three main areas under which course are divided.
  1. Get your hands dirty

No matter how much you’ve studied, recruiters look for people who have the knack of navigating through difficult situations. Spontaneity and genius go hand in hand to impress recruiters, and the only way to achieve this combination is to test the waters yourself. In other words, be on the lookout for HR experience opportunities.

Internships and summer jobs in HR familiarise you with the day-to-day work environment, pressures and responsibilities. They will offer you a chance to use and hone your skills and identify your strengths and weaknesses to work on.

  1. Keep your eye on growth

If you’ve accepted an entry-level HR job, ask your employer for growth support. Entry-level jobs are just that: entry-level. To climb up the ladder, you’ll need to acquire new skills, keep yourself up to date on the latest advancements in theory and practice and apply them.

Degrees are important. Try to earn a post-graduate qualification. Most HR professionals opt for an MBA, but you can always take specialised degrees, for instance, a Master’s in Human Resource Management, which solely focuses on the area and provides all-encompassing education on the same.

The tag of “people person” is not enough to get you a well-to-do HR job. You need to plan and study for it, like every other job. Understanding the duties of an HR professional might help you make a decision about whether the job suits your interest or not. Educational qualifications and certifications are laid great emphasis on, and always remember, there’s no greater teacher than experience itself.

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