Companies used to call the department responsible for hiring and firing employees Personnel. But over the past 30 years, as employment procedures have gotten more sophisticated and employment laws more complicated, a whole new industry, known as Human Resources, has developed. If you enjoy dealing with people on a one-on-one basis, are a good problem solver and a good judge of character, then a career in Human Resources may be an excellent choice for your talents.
As Human Resources has become more sophisticated, to enter this field it is essential to have a college degree, preferably in the area of business, psychology, sociology, human resources or liberal arts. Human Resources departments need job candidates with a wide range of knowledge in addition to the ability to think critically, to set goals and achieve them, and to be resourceful problem solvers.
A Human Resources professional facilitates every aspect of the process of a prospective employee applying for and interviewing for a job within a company. Human Resources also deals with problems and issues that arise with current employees. The Human Resources team plays a large role in keeping both supervisors and employees educated about current laws regarding employment; they will also guide new employees through the process of understanding the company's corporate culture and their roles as employees.
Human Resources often serves as the referee between employee and supervisor when personalities clash or unprofessional behavior in the workplace, such as sexual harassment or discrimination, may require legal arbitration.
The Society for Human Resource Management and the American Society for Training&Development are two professional associations that can help guide a budding career in the Human Resources field. See if there is a local chapter in your area and ask for a sit-down interview with one of their members to find out about the pros and cons of a career in Human Resources.
There are many different directions to go in this exciting area after landing your first job as an assistant in a Human Resources department. You may want to specialize as a Benefits Manager, become a Training Director, a Mediator or a Placement Specialist. You can choose to work as a recruiter or, through additional schooling, become a Labor Relations Director or Dispute Resolution Specialist, all areas that fall under the umbrella of Human Resources.
Human Resources is one career with unlimited opportunities for the 21st Century, and getting a degree has never been easier - depending on your specialty, online HR coursework can be completed in as little as two years!