How do I get a Job in Human Resources?

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  • Written By: Carol Francois
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 December 2019
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To get a job in human resources, you need a combination of education and experience. The level of education required depends on the position that you are applying for. Human resource services typically include payroll, compensation, recruitment and employee management.

In the human resources field, the positions are divided into three streams: payroll and benefits, recruitment, and compensation. Each of these streams has a wealth of positions, ranging from data entry clerk to department manager. The skill sets required in each stream are very different. Select the stream that is of interest to you and obtain the education necessary to get a job in human resources.

Payroll and benefits is a core component of any human resources department. To get a job in this field, you need a high school diploma and a certificate from a community or career college in payroll. People who are happiest in this field are detail oriented and enjoy working with numbers.

Additional credentials can be obtained by completing a payroll certificate through the American Payroll Association. This organization is the leading certification firm for payroll skills in the United States. Upon successful completion of the payroll certificate, many candidates are able to obtain higher positions within payroll, such as payroll supervisor or accountant. After gaining experience, you can take additional courses in accounting, data analysis and management techniques.


Recruitment and employee retention is an important function within any human resources department. People who are happiest in these roles are outgoing, enjoy meeting new people, and are good communicators. To become a recruitment specialist, you need an associate’s degree in human resources from a community or career college.

The program is typically two to three years in length and provides you with the skills and background necessary to complete the tasks of this position. Candidates with this background can be hired in large firms, recruitment centers, and employment agencies. A strong background in communication, psychology, management, and business is a definite benefit in this role. The more you understand about what skills are required to complete the tasks of a position, the better you will be able to find the suitable candidate.

Compensation specialists focus on the appropriate combination of salary, benefits, training, and advancement opportunities to recruit and retain staff. They are responsible for managing the costs of human resources for the company and ensuring the compensation package is appropriate. People who enjoy data analysis, reporting, and research enjoy this type of job best. A candidate for this type of job must have a bachelor degree in business, human resources, math, or statistics.


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Post 5

I have a Masters in HR. There are no jobs for me either. Makes me feel like I chose the wrong major. I do have minimum experience.

Post 4

I have a four year degree in labor relations from a good university, but I can't find a position without experience. Now what?

Post 2

I never realized that there were so many different types of human resources jobs.

I guess I always just separated them in my mind, thinking that payroll was part of accounting, and that recruitment was different than the everyday workplace mediation type of hr.

Very informative article!

Post 1

I've always thought it would be cool to have a job in human resources because I like interacting with people, but after reading this I think I might be better cut out for a compensation specialist.

That way I can still do the recruiting, but also indulge my love of research and analysis -- a win-win situation.

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