How To Successfully Build a Career in Human Resources

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  • HR is a diverse field ideal for people-oriented individuals, requiring relevant education, training, and in-demand skills.
  • Degrees in psychology, business management, and industrial/labor relations provide foundational knowledge for HR careers.
  • HR professionals need to understand business processes, be people-centered, embrace diversity, and stay updated with industry trends.
  • Continuous learning from mentors, leaders, professional associations, and self-development resources is critical for success in HR.

Human Resources (HR) is a critical aspect of modern businesses. As the name suggests, HR is all about the people. It is a diverse field that covers everything from recruitment to payroll and employee relations. If you are a passionate people person, HR is an excellent career choice as it allows you to work closely with others while making a difference in their work lives. So, what does it take to build a career in HR? This blog post will share some tips on how to jumpstart your HR career and grow professionally.

Gain Relevant Education and Training

To build a career in HR, a degree in related fields is a great starting point. Apart from gaining practical training in the field through internships, volunteer work, and entry-level jobs, a solid foundation in the principles and practices of human resources will give you an edge. Here are some examples:


A degree of bachelor of science major in psychology provides a deep understanding of human behavior, which is paramount in a field like HR. It equips students with knowledge about various psychological theories and principles that can be applied to manage and motivate people effectively. Courses on organizational behavior, personality, and social psychology are particularly beneficial for aspiring HR professionals.

Business Management

Pursuing a business management degree offers a broad understanding of the business world, emphasizing leadership, management, and core business principles. These skills are crucial for HR professionals as they are often tasked with strategic planning, conflict resolution, and managing employee relations. A business management degree also covers topics such as labor law and ethics, which are highly relevant for a career in HR.

Industrial and Labor Relations

Industrial and labor relations is another degree closely related to HR. This course of study focuses on understanding the relationship between employers and employees. Students learn about labor law, negotiation tactics, and strategies to maintain a positive work environment. This knowledge can be invaluable for HR professionals who often mediate conflicts and negotiations between employees and management.

people throwing graduation hats in the air after a degree

Develop In-Demand Skills

To get ahead as an HR professional, it is crucial to develop the skills most desired by employers. Communication skills, critical thinking, and organizational skills should be on top of your list. Staying abreast of technology is also necessary to keep up with the latest HR software and tools. Here are some soft skills to remember:

Understand Business Processes and Trends

As part of their role, HR professionals must have an excellent grasp of business processes. This entails understanding how various departments function and how they contribute to the overall objectives of the organization. This knowledge aids in making strategic HR decisions that align with the company’s goals.

Furthermore, HR professionals should be up-to-date with the current trends in regulations such as employment law, labor relations, and benefits administration. Keeping a finger on the pulse of these trends will ensure compliance, aid in conflict resolution, and contribute to maintaining a positive work environment.

Be Passionate About People

The cornerstone of a career in HR is your ability to connect with people genuinely. Candidates and employees need trusted advisors who can foster relationships and provide guidance on work-related matters.

Being passionate about people means developing a deep understanding of their needs and interests, communicating proactively with them, and earning their trust over time. A reputation for honesty, transparency, and empathy serves HR professionals well in the long run.

Embrace Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are essential components of modern business. HR professionals must be able to navigate and recruit from diverse communities and ensure workplaces are inclusive.

As companies fight for top talent, the more diverse the candidate pool, the easier it is to attract top candidates. It’s crucial to foster a culture of acceptance and sensitivity that respects and values every employee, regardless of differences in gender, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.

female woman smiling while giving a man an interview

Learn from Mentors and Leaders

Look for opportunities to learn from HR professionals who have excelled in your field. Attend conferences and networking events to grow your knowledge base and connect with others in your industry.

Participate in professional associations, such as the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), a global HR community that provides access to HR resources, events, and mentorship programs. You can also join online forums and discussion groups to interact with experienced HR professionals.

Finally, never underestimate the importance of self-development. Read books, listen to podcasts, and take courses that can help you grow as an HR professional and stay ahead in the game.

Building a career in HR can be a challenging yet rewarding experience for passionate people persons. It takes time and effort to develop the skills, knowledge, and relationships necessary to succeed in HR. But with the right attitude, education, training, and support, it is a field that offers countless opportunities for personal and professional growth. If you are passionate about people and looking to make a difference in the workforce, a career in HR may be the perfect fit for you.

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