Career Spotlight: Human Resources Specialist

human resources specialist careersBefore the “Great Recession”, many companies grew at such fast rates that they had difficulty filling open positions. Human resource specialists provided services that filled the recruitment void by screening, interviewing, and placing qualified job candidates with the right companies. Although HR specialists still provide all of the same services, they now screen interviews and place qualified job candidates in a much tighter job market with far more applicants than positions. Beyond that, as a result of budget constraints, many employers prefer to outsource human resource functions to outside specialists. This means those who pursue human resource management careers can expect robust growth in the position over the next 10 years.

Human Resources Specialist: Job Description

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, a human resource specialist career entails several job duties. HR specialists consult with employers to determine employment needs and hiring criteria. The consultation process has taken on added significance, as employers are more selective than ever and the job candidate pool has expanded since late 2007. Once HR specialists discover the qualifications employers want in job candidates, they then interview applicants to discern if work experience, education, job training, and professional skills match employer recruitment criteria. HR specialists contact references and confirm employment history, two job functions that most companies used to handle in-house. Companies have also moved paperwork organization from in-house HR departments to outsourced specialists.

Human Resources Specialist: Job Outlook

Deb Cohen, senior vice president on knowledge development for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), believes the field is growing again after the uncertainty of the job market limited employer recruitment. However, Cohen states it is “very much a buyer’s market for human resource positions.” Job candidates must possess specific qualifications that include understanding the technical side of the position. “The ticket for entry is knowing your nuts and bolts,” Cohen says. “But it’s also showing the business acumen and showing the ability to work as a strategic partner in advancing the interests of the organization.”

With over 440,000 human resources specialist positions existing in 2010, the Occupational Outlook Handbook expects the creation of nearly 90,000 HR specialist positions over the next 10 years. The expected growth translates to a faster than average 21 percent jump in HR specialist employment.

Cohen says job candidates should pursue work in an internship just to land an entry level HR position. “Even if you have a great degree from a great school, you still need experience to get hired,” Cohen stated in a recent interview. A comprehensive online human resources master’s degree that students can pursue while working has more practical applications than it did previously.

Online Master’s Degree in Human Resources Management

Saint Francis University offers a convenient, 11-course online master’s in human resources management program tailored for working HR professionals. The program has received approval by SHRM, and features curriculum that matches the academic criteria set forth by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI).

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