How to Build a Career in Human Resource

HR personnel in a job offer signingThe demand for human resource managers, who can command salaries of about USD $120,000 a year, is projected to increase by 9% from 2016 to 2026. If you feel invigorated working with other people, you’re a good fit for the HR department.

While being a people person is an excellent foundation for the role, this trait isn’t enough. To land the HR job you’re aiming for, try to work on the following qualifications and soft skills you’ll need to excel and stand out:


An associate degree in HR can get you hired as a generalist, but if you hope to be a part of the management, obtaining a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree should be your next move. Certifications from programs, such as employment law training for HR professionals, can give any application great value. HR managers are also expected to have received additional training on learning and performance development.

Considering that business processes are now becoming fully automated, being tech-savvy is a clear advantage as well. The most effective HR leaders are adept at professional ethics, industrial psychology, employment law, communications, and office technology. An article posted on lists five certifications that HR professionals must have under their belts.

Soft Skills

Empathy, listening, and communication top the list of skills needed when building a career in HR. It’s often assumed that listening and understanding come naturally to people. It’s also assumed that these two skills would be easy, but data on common organizational challenges and interpersonal conflicts prove otherwise.

Harvard Business Review (HBR) breaks down the problems with the way people have been listening and cites lack of training as one of the culprits. HBR identifies four behaviors that have been developed by active listeners: 1.) thinking ahead of the speaker, 2.) weighing evidence presented by the speaker, 3.) mentally summarizing points made, and 4.) “listening between the lines”, which factors in body language, tone, and facial expression.

The role of HR professionals is to ensure that employees are productive, cooperative, and behave in accordance with company values. There’s a lot of challenging work involved in getting that done.