First off HR DOES NOT SUCK! I wanted to take the stigma away from the above photo and show a more humanistic side to the department. Below is a way to enter into HR and it does just show you a glimpse on how passionate folks are about Human Resources. That’s we’re not monsters. We’re determined workers just like you. We just wanna make our job helping you.

Question on LinkedIn: I am interested in entering the Human Resources field. Do you mind sharing your advice and recommendations?

Other’s Response:

– My advice would be to keep up to good work that you have done so far and good job in discussing it with your employer. It sounds as though your current employer does not mind that you are going for an MBA in HR and they are willing to work with you in attaining that experience. Stay with your current employer because with an MBA anywhere else you will unfortunately be looked upon as an over qualified candidate and it will not help you if you don’t already have experience in HR. I cannot speak about AIRS Certified Recruiter Training, that seems as though it’s highly specialized and unsure if you can do the training yourself without being sponsored by your company. I looked into payroll training certification with ADP and I have to act as though I am my own company to even start those training courses, which are not cheap at all.

– The only true way to get into HR and understand every aspect of the employee life cycle is to become an assistant. A good mentor is key; I worked in from the payroll benefits side. The other option you want to think about is do you want to specialize. If so in what, payroll, benefits, compliance, legal or my passion employee relations. Small business has a one-stop shop, where as larger businesses have it specialized, also known as a SME (subject matter expert). Sadly an HR assitant does not make a lot.

– I have been researching a lot about this because this is the field I am going into. I have a bachelors in HRM and am obtaining my Masters in employment law. I highly recommend obtaining the PHR because a lot of jobs like this certificate. Normally a masters degree in HR is the same as obtaining the cert, but for people merging into the HR field without a PHR cert can be a difficult task. You will most likely have to get an entry level position for at least 2 years to gain hands on experience, but if the recruiter route is what you want I’d say you can make more money if commission is involved. A lot of companies still hire HR assistants, but sometimes you need to look into moving to a larger demographic. Metropolitan’s will have the most HR positions naturally. I finally obtained a job in HR where I currently live as an entry level position and I have 6 years of management exp. where 49% of my job was HR. It seems hard at first to find a job, but keep with it and someone somewhere will give you a break. As far as the AIRS cert I am unaware of that cert., but it is my opinion the more cert’s you have the more marketable you will be.

– Our local SHRM Group does a good job with lining up HR students with “seasoned” HR Professionals to Shadow them for one or more days. I highly recommend asking people if you could have a “shadowing” experience with them. One of the reasons that I really like this is that Human Resources covers a very wide range of jobs. A HR generalist for a small company may have to do a bit of everything. Other professionals do only recruiting, others training and others work in benefits. I get to work with employees who are having problems and need to improve as well as with employees who are being terminated. I like the idea of shadowing as many HR type positions as possible. Doing that, you may learn some things that you never would have known and that knowledge may shape your job search. I would not be happy working in benefits. Most HR Professionals would hate doing what I do and love. If I was interviewing a HR candidate, I would be very impressed that she had “shadowed” 8 different HR Professionals and used the knowledge gained to help determine what area of HR really seemed to be an area of passion for the candidate!

– Everyone has provided excellent advice. I think you are doing everything possible based upon your circumstances. Being a seasoned HR professional with both HR Advanced HR certificate and my PHR, I strongly advise against getting a master’s degree, prior to HR experience. HR is one of those professions that nothing is better than hands on experience. Masters degree in OD, or a MBA adds value to your application, once experience is under your belt. Since you are getting your Master’s degree, my advice would be getting paid internships, that have potential to turn into a FT position. Once you obtain the experience, with your Masters, you can sit for the PHR, and your career will have possibilities of take off and you will then be very marketable. I have seen more times than not, people getting Master’s with no hands on experience, and have a very difficult time securing that 1st HR job, the perception is you appear over qualified, and after 1 year of experience you will leave. Whether or not that is true, that is the perception. Keep up what you are doing… After being a Teacher, it took me 8 years to break into HR. I got my advanced HR certificate (prior to the PHR), through a network connection, I got a call, and I have been in HR for the last 13 years. If I cot, you can do it. You need to keep the goal as the focus, keep doing what you are doing, and you will be able to do it. Good luck:-)

My Take:

Recruiting is a fairly easy way in if you’re willing and able to work 12 hour days. Usually a good firm will offer base and commission, but there is a tedious interviewing process. Unless you are trying to get an entry level or HR internship, you most likely won’t be able to get directly into HR recruiting until after you get some experience. So I always suggest staffing. I built my business acumen and experience (along with my savings) when I started my HR career at Aerotek as an automotive recruiter. Great way to learn the business and get your feet wet. Just to give you an idea, you can start with staffing, get into HR as a contract recruiter, land a full-time recruiting gig at a good company that will groom you for more HR responsibilities. Before you know it, you’re a Generalist! Maybe even get into HRM or HRD work…of course this takes A LOT of work on your end. And some good networking skills along with a little luck.  Good luck!

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