Category Archive: Careers

  1. Career Spotlight: Human Resources Specialist

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    Before 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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  2. Benefits of Earning a Master’s Degree in HR

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    An essential part of every corporate environment, human resource professionals represent the ongoing connection between an organization’s leadership and the needs of their employees. Whether they’re advising the executive team on matters of policy, supervising employee benefits, or overseeing recruitment, human resources managers play a phenomenally important role in the support of the most important asset a company has: its staff.

    Beyond the high degree of organization that the position demands, leadership positions in human resources require a knack for clear communication and the ability to give decisive direction to staff regarding new policies and initiatives. This is to say nothing of their need to serve as leaders within the HR department itself, guiding other professionals in their efforts to maintain an effective workforce.

    Unlike other positions within a given business that may be contained to a single department, human resources leaders have to learn to move across all facets of a company’s operations, helping develop recruitment, training, and employee service plans that improve the entire organization. In the modern job market, due to the evolving nature of the field, it’s often a significant competitive asset to pursue advanced education in human resources.

    Here are just some of the benefits of earning a master’s degree in human resources management.

    Benefits of Earning a Master’s in HR

    Professional Certification

    The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), considered to be a national authority in advanced credentialing for HR professionals, recently changed its offerings to include solely the SHRM Certified Professional and Senior Certified Professional credentials. Professionals holding these certifications command respect as job applicants, which makes the path towards a leadership position a bit smoother. The more education a candidate has before pursuing SHRM-CP or SCP status, the less work experience they’ll have to complete before fulfilling the necessary requirements.

    Advanced Opportunities

    Aside from easing SHRM certification, earning a master’s in HR demonstrates a wealth of advanced knowledge and practical skills to employers. Graduate programs in human resources can help students prepare for leadership in the field, developing techniques that place them ahead of the curve as they move into a competitive marketplace. More focused than an MBA or similar graduate work, pursuing a master’s degree in HR can help aspiring professionals prepare for the distinct challenges of the industry.

    Increased Earning Potential

    Even without pursuing certification, master’s degree recipients can often pursue positions that offer higher salary than those with only a bachelor’s. If you’re already an established professional, completing graduate study can provide focused coursework that opens up new career opportunities, including leadership roles and new paths at your current place of work.

    Pursuing a Master’s in Human Resources – Online

    Saint Francis University proudly offers its Master of Human Resource Management program in a 100% online format. This allows students to take advantage of the numerous benefits of earning their master’s degree from the comfort of their own home and at a pace that suits their schedule.

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  3. Top 4 HR Skills Employers Want

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    The HR field is, at present, in a state of wide-ranging adjustment to a number of external factors. Employment rates are holding steady, and gaining ground during some months, which means that hiring is finally becoming an ongoing part of the profession once more. New technologies and approaches have changed the way recruitment and employee engagement function, making organizations more talent-centric than ever before. If these drivers weren’t enough of an adjustment, the “millennial” generation – those currently in their early to late twenties (i.e. those potentially pursuing the early stages of their career) – has firmly demonstrated their interest in a set of professional priorities entirely distinct from previous generations.

    Addressing these challenges while attracting and retaining talent falls to an organization’s HR managers. To achieve the goals of the organization while accommodating the newfound desires and expectations of the workforce, HR departments are demanding a certain evolved skill-set from its staff. While a keen eye for talent, inter-personal skills, and the ability to liaise between executives and employees might’ve been enough to get by before, the demands of the field have changed to include additional skills.

    With the HR management occupation expected to grow by 13% in the next decade according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s fair to say that organizations around the country are looking to adapt to the new generation of professionals and bring strong talent to their HR teams. Here’s a list of the Top 4 HR Skills Employers Want to help you stand out in your own job search.

    Top 4 HR Job Skills


    This skill is less specific to the current state of the field and more continuously, broadly essential to any HR position. HR professionals, particularly at the managerial level, oversee a wide variety of different functions. Involved in everything from contract negotiation to peer mediation, the sheer number of projects that can end up in HR’s hands can be immense, and overwhelming if not prioritized and attended to appropriately. If you’re interested in becoming an HR leader, learning how to demonstrate self-collection in the face of new challenges can be a significant advantage.

    Comfort with Communication

    As the balancing point between fulfillment of executive policy and employee representation, it’s important that HR professionals not only understand the objectives of an organization, but also how to effectively communicate those goals with staff. As much as they need to be able to make sure employees know their place in the company’s broader goals, it’s also important that they regularly listen to and engage with talent to determine their career aspirations and facilitate opportunities for development. This requires dedication to supporting the needs of others and helping them occupy the place in the organization that suits them best.

    Focus on Employee Engagement

    Retaining skilled staff members is one of the greatest challenges faced by HR professionals today, especially in specialized fields with a great deal of available opportunities without candidates to fill them. With trends like remote work and flexible hours becoming an expectation of advanced employment – not to mention the increased emphasis on creating a fulfilling, individualized workspace – any organization seeking to hold on to their most successful talent definitely has to consider how to offer them a positive work environment. An HR manager that can demonstrate creativity in this area, whether through unique approaches to employee rewards or the creation of dedicated employee development programs, can certainly make a splash both in an interview and in the field.

    Knowledge of New Recruiting and Management Tools

    HR professionals aren’t expected to simply sit back and wait for interesting talent to send them a resume, anymore. In fact, with the advent of social media – LinkedIn, in particular – managers in HR are being tasked with actively seeking out new job candidates based on the wide range of career and personal data now available over the internet. The entire recruitment process has, largely, moved online, which means that a high degree of comfort with applicant tracking software and other programs meant to help keep an inventory of potential hires is an absolute must in high-volume industries. Each of these tools, while initially daunting, can ultimately help any HR professional navigate the recruitment process with greater ease and efficiency.

    Whether you’re looking to develop new HR job skills or build on your existing experience, the online Master of Human Resource Management at Saint Francis University can help you reach your goals.

  4. Human Resources Trends: Leadership Challenges

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    While many companies have steadily overcome the economic impact of the recession, developing effective leadership in the workplace continues to challenge human resources professionals nationwide. According to a survey conducted by the Society of Human Resources Management, HR managers are concerned about the lack of skilled workers, a trend they predict will affect the labor force for years to come. Without properly qualified staff, the current employment environment experiences a “skills gap,” eventually leading to a shortage of potential managers, supervisors, and other executive leadership candidates.

    Of the HR professionals surveyed by Society of Human Resources Management, 98% believe that a shortage of skilled workers will have some impact on the labor force in the next five years. Professions in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (so-called STEM jobs) are the most difficult to fill. Global competition has forced many American companies to go overseas or seek non-immigrant visas, which are offered specifically for technology-focused jobs. While foreign workers supply a small segment of experienced STEM professionals, HR departments are exploring in-house options to the talent shortage. Educational programs for current employees that might not have the skills, but show potential in attaining them, is a common solution for 36% of American employers , according to a 2012 Manpower Group survey. This way, human resources professionals are able to retain employees without spending the resources to recruit new talent.

    Replacing Leadership Positions

    Remaining competitive in the marketplace hinges on keeping the best people for the job. As the Baby Boomer generation retires and their leadership positions become vacant, human resources managers will face the challenge of locating suitable replacements. However, many employees of retirement age have delayed retirement due to economic uncertainty. This means that human resources professionals must seek ways to develop the leadership skills of young workers in an environment with few advancement opportunities. When the promotions do become available, companies with proactive HR departments will be prepared for the leadership turnover.

    Helping the younger generation of workers feel empowered during a lack of career progression and underemployment will provide an opportunity for HR professionals to create mentorship programs. By connecting the older generation to new employees, human resources managers can retain the skillset of retirees by allowing them to pass on their knowledge in a way that involves all levels of the company. While mentorship programs give access to proven methods of success, HR managers should be on the lookout for new developments that might benefit the office culture. As innovations in technology and social media change the way younger employees interact, human resources professionals must be flexible in the ways they engage this new generation of workers.

    This is a very exciting time to be a human resources professional. Saint Francis University offers an online Master of Human Resource Management degree that attends to the current issues facing HR departments today. Approved by the Society of Human Resources Management, this online degree program offers a course specifically focused on developing leadership in the workplace.

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  5. Yahoo! Names HR Managers #4 Highest Paying Career

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    From Yahoo!:

    Career #4: Human Resources Manager

    Median annual wage*: $99,720
    Bottom 10 percent of earners: $59,020
    Top 10 percent of earners: $173,140

    If you think you might enjoy being the liaison between an organization’s employees and its management – in good times and in bad – a career as a human resources manager might be the right fit for you. The good pay might also suit you.

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, human resources managers are in charge of hiring, recruiting, and managing staff at organizations. They also advise managers on company policies, handle staffing issues, and supervise budgetary goals.

    Credentials You’ll Need: To prepare to pursue a career as a human resources manager, you’ll typically need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration, according to the Department of Labor. It’s also possible to get an undergraduate degree in a different subject, and then take additional courses in human resources-related subjects – such as industrial psychology or industrial relations – to be better prepared, the Department explains. A master’s degree might be necessary if you want better opportunities for advancement.

    And if you’re interested in more strategic roles, consider getting certified as a PHR (Professional in Human Resources) or SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources), says Jackie Brito, the assistant dean of MBA admissions at the Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business. Why? “Having these credentials tells an employer that you have the body of knowledge to apply to any HR role and that you are committed to continued learning,” Brito explains.