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What does a Human Resources do?

Learn all about Human Resources duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become a Human Resources.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

A human resources department is responsible for a wide range of functions within an organization. These functions can include recruiting and hiring employees, managing employee benefits and compensation, and developing and implementing employee policies. The human resources department also typically handles employee relations issues, such as investigating and resolving workplace complaints.

Human Resources job duties include:

  • Recruiting and staffing
  • Onboarding and orientation
  • Employee relations
  • Benefits administration
  • Performance management
  • Training and development
  • Policy development and implementation
  • Compensation and salary administration
  • Labor relations

Human Resources Job Requirements

A career in human resources (HR) generally requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field. Some employers may require HR professionals to have a master’s degree in human resources, business administration, or a related field. Many HR positions also require certification from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are the two most common certifications offered by SHRM. To be eligible for either of these exams, candidates must have at least two years of professional experience in an HR role.

Human Resources Skills

  • Recruitment
  • Selection
  • Orientation
  • Training
  • Development
  • Performance Management
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Labor Relations
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Safety and Health Programs
  • Retirement Planning

Related: Top Human Resources Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become a Human Resources

Human resources is a field that is constantly evolving, and to stay ahead of the curve, it is important to be proactive in your career development. Here are four tips on how to become a human resources professional:

1. Get a degree in human resources or a related field.

While you can technically become a human resources professional without a degree, having a formal education will give you an edge when competing for jobs. A degree in human resources or a related field will give you the knowledge and skills you need to be successful in the field.

2. Gain experience in the field.

While a degree is important, experience is also key when it comes to landing a job in human resources. To gain experience, consider interning or volunteering with organizations in the human resources field. You can also join professional organizations such as SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management).

3. Stay up-to-date on industry trends.

To be successful in any field, it’s important to stay up-to-date on industry trends. In human resources, this means keeping tabs on changes in employment law, benefits and compensation trends, and new HR technologies. One way to stay abreast of industry trends is to read HR trade publications such as HR Magazine and Workforce Management.

4. Get certified.

While not required, becoming certified through organizations such as HRCI (Human Resource Certification Institute) can help you stand out from the competition and demonstrate your commitment to professional development.

Related: Human Resources Resume Example

Related: Human Resources Interview Questions (With Example Answers)