Human Resources

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Human Resources

  • Selection and placement
  • Recruitment
  • On-boarding/Orientation
  • Retention
  • Career planning/Counseling
  • Benefits
  • Compensation and payroll

  • Employee relations
  • Wellness
  • Labor relations
  • Dispute resolution
  • Risk management
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Occupational safety

  • Equal employment opportunity
  • Diversity issues
  • Policy development
  • Human resources information systems (HRIS)
  • Strategic planning
  • Consulting


Human resources professionals are employed in nearly all industries:

  • Financial institutions
  • Hotel, restaurant, and retail chains
  • Manufacturing firms
  • Hospitals and healthcare organizations
  • Transportation companies

  • Educational institutions
  • Employment and staffing agencies
  • Professional employment organizations (PEOs)
  • Other medium and large size organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations

  • Labor unions
  • Federal government agencies:
    • Department of Labor
    • Employment Security Commission
    • Bureau of Labor
  • Local and state government agencies
  • Consulting firms


  • In smaller organizations, human resources professinals are generalists and wear many hats. In larger organizations, HR staff members are more specialized.
  • Be willing to start in an entry-level human resources or benefits assistant position and advance with experience.
  • Earn a graduate degree in human resources, business, or law to reach the highest levels of human resource management.
  • After gaining two years of professional experience in human resources, prepare to take the Professional Human Resource Exam (PHR) to increase job opportunities and earning potential.  Research other specialized certifications such as the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS).
  • Develop strong computer skills including, spreadsheets, databases, and HR-related software.
  • Gain related experience through internships in human resources.
  • Join the student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management and participate in programs.  Seek leadership roles in campus organizations.
  • Become comfortable communicating and working with people from diverse backgrounds. Strong interpersonal skills are valuable in this field.
  • Cultivate strong analytical and decision-making skills and develop an eye for detail.
  • Learn about Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and compliance.
  • Research government application procedures and utilize your campus career center for assistance. Complete a federal government internship program if interested in government positions.


Training and Development

  • Instructional design
  • Program development
  • On-boarding/orientation

  • Industrial training
  • Technology training
  • Management development

  • Employee and organizational development
  • Performance improvement
  • Organizational change


  • Corporate universities
  • Consulting firms
  • Business and industry training facilities

  • Manufacturing companies
  • Retail and customer service industries
  • Restaurant and hotel chains

  • Hospitals and healthcare organizations
  • Educational institutions
  • Other large corporations


  • Develop teaching skills through tutoring or training positions on campus.
  • Obtain related experience through internships.
  • Be prepared to start working in another area of human resources before moving into a training position.
  • Earn a master’s degree in human resources, training and development, or related field.
  • Develop the ability to comprehend operational systems and to process new information quickly.
  • Stay abreast of current issues in technology, industry, and business education through professional association journals.
  • Develop solid knowledge of the content area being addressed in training.
  • Hone communication and presentation skills.  Gain comfort in working with people of varying backgrounds.
  • Learn about important issues such as, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards and compliance and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) criteria.


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

  • Organizational development/effectiveness
  • Assessment and evaluation
  • Personnel selection/hiring systems
  • Performance appraisal

  • Job analysis
  • Behavioral analysis
  • Individual development
  • Labor relations
  • Employee safety

  • Ergonomics
  • Training
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Consulting


  • Consulting firms
  • Educational services
  • Colleges and universities

  • Large private and public companies in a variety of industries
  • Government agencies

  • Military research organizations
  • Test preparation companies


  • Double major or minor in psychology as an undergraduate.
  • Maintain a high GPA and secure strong faculty recommendations.
  • Conduct an independent research study or volunteer to assist a professor with research to gain experience.
  • Earn a doctoral degree in industrial/organizational psychology.
  • Demonstrate strong interest in studying the behavior of people at work.
  • Obtain internships in areas of organizational development.
  • Develop aptitude in statistical analysis and relevant software packages.

  • Arbitration and mediation
  • Labor relations
  • Employment law

  • Contractual
  • Corporate
  • Nonprofit or Public Interest

  • Government
  • Other specialties


  • Law firms
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private practice
  • Corporations

  • Special interest groups
  • Universities and colleges
  • Legal aid societies

  • Nonprofit and public interest organizations, (e.g., ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Legal Services Corporation)
  • Legal clinics
  • Other private legal services


  • Plan on attending law school.  Maintain a high grade point average and secure strong faculty recommendations. Prepare for the LSAT (Law School Admission Test).
  • Develop strong research skills and attention to detail.
  • Participate in debate or forensic team to hone communication skills.
  • Take courses in employment law, conflict management, and labor relations.
  • Gain experience and build skills through part-time or summer work in a law firm or an organization related to your particular interests.
  • Shadow an attorney to learn more about the field and various specialties.
  • Get involved in pre-law and mock trial organizations.
  • Volunteer with a public advocacy group.
  • Seek experience with mediation and conflict resolution.



  • Sales
  • Customer service
  • Marketing
  • Management

  •  Insurance:
    •     Claims management
    •     Underwriting

  • Real Estate:
    • Sales
    • Property management


  • Public and private corporations:
    • Service providers
    • Wholesalers
    • Manufacturers
    • Call centers
    • Transportation companies
    • Financial institutions

  • Continued:
    • Insurance companies
    • Real estate companies
    • Property management firms
    • Apartment complexes

  • Retail stores:
    • Department stores
    • Specialty stores
    • Discount stores
    • Super retailers
    • Online retailers


  • Develop a strong background in other business functions such as marketing or management.
  • Gain leadership experience through campus involvement or volunteer work.
  • Intern with companies in fields of interest.
  • Gain strong writing and public speaking skills.
  • Develop proficiency in computer software application packages.



  • Fund/Raising/Development
  • Volunteer coordination
  • Programming

  • Administration
  • Management
  • Public relations

  • Research
  • Grant writing
  • Direct service


  • Local and national nonprofit agencies
  • Foundations
  • Charitable organizations
  • Trade or professional associations
  • Special interest groups

  • Labor unions
  • Libraries
  • Museums

  • Historic sites/historical societies
  • Research organizations and think tanks
  • Educational institutions


  • Volunteer in community development projects or with a nonprofit organization of interest.
  • Obtain leadership roles in relevant campus and community organizations.
  • Learn grant writing techniques and how to administer a budget through coursework or volunteering.
  • Develop program planning and event management skills, as well as strong communication and research skills.
  • Obtain an internship in fund-raising or related field.
  • Gain experience through volunteering or completing an internship.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and experience in a specialty area, (e.g., public health, environment, urban issues).
  • Research organizations’ values to find a good fit with yours. It is critical that you are knowledgeable about and committed to the work you’re going to do.

General Information

  • Take a well-rounded selection of courses that blends social sciences and communications classes with business curriculum.
  • Be prepared to start in entry level positions within organizations and advance to positions of greater responsibility.  Develop an area of expertise along the way.
  • Graduate education including MBA, MS, or JD qualifies one for higher level positions in human resource management.
  • Obtain internships in an area of interest such as human resources, training, or organizational development.
  • Participate in related co-curricular activities and obtain leadership positions to broaden skills.
  • Successful human resource professionals are business-minded and well-rounded. Cultivate “hard skills” such as technology and statistics along with “soft skills” such as mediating and advising.
  • Develop excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Demonstrate a strong desire to work with people of various backgrounds and educational levels.
  • Become familiar with current business literature and news.
  • Join professional associations in field of interest, such as American Society for Training and Development, Society for Human Resource Management, American Management Association, Employment Management Association, Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, and others.
  • Network with human resource managers through professional association meetings and conferences.