Break into the Field of Human Resources with These Rewarding Jobs

  • HR Specialist
  • HR Representative
  • Payroll Manager
  • HR Coordinator
  • HR Assistant

College grads with stellar interpersonal skills are destined for success in the field of human resources (HR). For entry-level jobs, the educational requirement is an undergrad degree, typically a bachelor’s. Career opportunities are vast, from supportive in nature to supervisory. Here are five fantastic options to get you started in HR.

Related Resource: Top 10 PhD Programs in Human Resources

1. HR Specialist

The goal of this gratifying position is matching choice job candidates to employer needs. As recruiters, HR Specialists evaluate resumes, make background checks, and lead interviews. To source potential staff, they may attend job fairs hosted by college campuses, industries, and local communities.

Frequently, HR Specialists hold orientations for new hires. Sometimes they’re involved in benefits administration. To ensure that staff members can pursue career growth, Specialists coach managers in how to create job openings. Especially fun is designing new incentives to retain workers, such as team building events, off-site training, and recognition programs. Specialists may use traditional ways to applaud job performance, like bonuses, promotions, paid time off, and scheduling flexibility.

While most HR Specialists work for a single employer, some are hired by placement firms, temporary staffing agencies, or serve as consultants. From US News & World Report, here’s why this position ranks #13 as a Best Business Job.

2. HR Representative

This professional wears several hats, one of which is staff advocate. To support employee health, HR reps organize wellness and benefits programs. Through individual meetings and group orientations, they make sure workers understand their job responsibilities and manager expectations. To help employees excel in their roles and earn promotions, HR Reps provide ongoing training. They’re also highly involved in staff recruitment. As company openings become available, they write up the job descriptions. They also post them, either internally, online, or through various advertising media. Upon receiving applications, the HR Rep reviews them for completeness before recommending manager interviews.

When workers encounter job-related difficulties or discrimination, they find a responsive ally in HR Reps, intent on creating a safe and pleasant workplace. Since a primary task is employee record-keeping, Reps must be organized, with polished writing skills. Strong job performance can be rewarded by promotion to HR Manager. This article by Inc. paints a bright future for the field of HR, particularly for representatives as mentors and leaders.

3. Payroll Manager

This position is ideal for college grads gifted in crunching numbers and supervising staff. A payroll manager oversees the tasks required to compensate employees for hours worked. This includes disbursing paychecks in accordance with federal and state laws regarding taxes, benefits, social security, garnishment, and workers’ compensation. Payroll managers follow precise methods for paycheck processing based on employment status, including new hire, temporary, executive, transfers, and promotions.

To stay current with best practices, they periodically update compensation procedures and timekeeping software. Additional tasks are tracking payroll balance sheets and year-to-date earnings, reporting findings to management. Another vital responsibility is filing tax forms with the IRS. As supervisors, payroll managers monitor the work of their staff, including clerks and assistants. Other synonymous job titles are payroll officer and payroll administrator.

4. HR Coordinator

With a finger on the pulse of administrative functions, the HR coordinator implements the plans of HR managers. While duties vary by company, coordinators generally streamline operations involving hiring, training, compensation, benefits, employee relations, union contracts, and termination.

Much of this job entails research and problem-solving. For example, to boost efficiency, coordinators examine work production reports and time sheets, along with surveying staff for areas needing improvement. As liaisons, coordinators facilitate interaction between workers and insurance providers. They also assist with managing healthcare plans. Large organizations may hire several coordinators to focus on specific HR processes, most often recruiting, training, and benefits administration.

5. HR Assistant

As the right arm to an HR Specialist, the assistant has a supportive role. A primary responsibility is maintaining employee records, including updating confidential data, such as salaries, benefits, and performance reviews. In a secretarial capacity, the HR assistant answers phones, schedules appointments, and writes correspondence. Especially meaningful is helping with recruiting. This can involve posting job openings, reviewing applications, screening candidates, giving tests, verifying references, and advising applicants of their interview results.

Also enjoyable is leading orientations, welcoming new staff. This involves explaining company policies and procedures and fielding questions on benefits. Additionally, the HR assistant interfaces with insurance providers, updating enrollments and changes in status.

As you embark on a career in human resources, five fulfilling jobs to consider are HR Specialist, Representative, Payroll Manager, Coordinator, and Assistant. For each position, the educational prerequisite is a bachelor’s degree, except for HR Assistant, for which you need an associates. To gain a competitive edge as a job applicant, obtain certification from the Society for Human Resource Management or HR Certification Institute.