Category Archive: HR Skills

  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. 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.