A Career in Human Resources

Updated on November 30, 2011
N.W. asks from Bend, OR
8 answers

Hi Mamas,
I've been meeting with a career counselor, trying to get back to work after a long time at home with my kids. We did a skills assessment and one of the top occupations for me would be working in Human Resources. This is a huge change from my previous career, so I'm trying to learn a little more about HR to make sure this will be a good fit and something I will like to do.

Anyone have experience working in this field who could share with me about your job? I'm interested in knowing how you got into the field, what you like and don't like about the work, your educational background, training and certificates. And especially, what advice would you give to someone like me who is trying to get my foot in the door with no background or experience? I have a BS degree in an unrelated field.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers


answers from Boston on

My sister has worked in HR all her life. She loves it. She was a recruiter. My best friend on the other hand.....she started off at her company as the receptionist then moved into an admin position in HR. She worked her way up and is now the HR director. She hates it. She says she is tired of destroying people's lives. She has been through so many layoffs with this economy. So I guess it depends on exactly what you are doing in HR.
Don't know if that helped or not. :)

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

I work as a career consultant.

First, I would think your career counselor would help you answer these questions. Human Resources is a broad field, with very different skills needed for different positions.

I've worked as a Career Development Manager, HR Manager, Recruiter/Staffing Manager. When I moved into HR, I had no formal education but was promoted from within my company into this new role from a role as an IT project manager. I did earn a SPHR certification from SHRM along the way, but that just took passing a test. I am now completing a PhD in I/O Psychology to stay marketable and employment opportunities are changing.

Second, did your career counselor review the employment outlook for HR? Does your state have a website with employment outlook by career? (MN has www.iSeek.org) Human Resources jobs are not plentiful as companies need to trim, they seem to look there first. More and more it's becoming a job to outsource to consultants as needed.

HR jobs typically require education in the field. An exception may be recruiting, where a background in sales can qualify. A resource for info on HR would be www.SHRM.org

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Oh my goodness, don't do it! Unless your previous job was trash collector, find something else. I, too, am leaving a 15+ year career in HR. I got into it because I thought it was a good compromise between helping people and making a decent salary. As I worked my way up through the ranks and started running departments and interfacing with senior management, it became very political and very clear that the impact I had was much more like damage control than actually helping people. Also, as others have said, it is one of the first positions to get cut when things get bad. Another thing is that it can be a dumping ground for all the miscellaneous jobs that no one else wants to do, depending on the size of the company. Jeannie J. said it perfectly; it is a thankless field. I could go on and on. I would be glad to answer any questions you have if you PM me, including how to get started if we haven't all warned you away! For my part, I'm going to give web design a go. There's not as much money, but it's good enough and the work itself is much more enjoyable. Best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I would question the assessment. Is this career counselor affiliated with a "college" that can get you a certificate in HR?

I do payroll which is our HR department. We don't have the budget to have an HR department which would do next to nothing.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I just left the field after 14 years and would not wish it on my worst enemy. HR can be a thankless field- trying to balance the needs of employees versus the business is almost impossible when the bottom line is all that shareholders care to see in many companies. A ratio of 1 HR person per 200 employees is not unheard of. After having to work nights, weekends, vacations and travel 40-50% of the time I finally realized that my family and health had suffered enough.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I wonder why Human Resources? I know two people in this field. They are both having a horrible time keeping their jobs. According to people I know in the field companies are way downsizing in this area and there are not a lot of jobs out there...and if so the pay isn't that great for the amount of work you'll have.

Both friends are highly skilled with lots of experience under their belt. One friend has an unrelated 4 year degree and fell into the career originially as an assistant director for a chain of hospitals but after 15 years and serious budget cuts and a few nursing strikes the hospital had layoffs and she was out of work for almost two years before winding up at a competing hospital chain but getting paid less and with longer hours. While she was able to make a career in this without a related degree (she studied to be an Audiologist and speech therapist) she says it was all timing. She doesn't think she'd be able to break into the field today under the same circumstances (meaning her degree and experience). As for getting the job at the competitor...she says that was her edge...but she's making terrible pay and may need to get a second job or sell her home to make ends meet. Before money was no issue.

The other friend has an undergraduate degree in Human Resources and a Masters in Business and Phd in psychology to boot and worked for her company for about 10 years before smelling the air and seeing the current employment crisis looming ahead. She left her cushy position as head of HR for a fortune 500 company and became an independent consultant. This was very lucrative until the last two years as companies are no longer hiring contractors like they used to. At one time this was cost effective for companies...now it seems they are back to burdening staffs of 3 employees with the work of 20 people. Her accounts have dwindled and ironically there are no current openings at any place willing to pay her what she's accustomed to making.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I have a great deal of HR experience with no formal education in that field.
There IS a lot to know. Lots of legalities.
Our HR manager was just terminated and her position is being absorbed from within. I was already assisting so another person is being trained to share the position.
Many smaller corporations and businesses don't really have a dedicated "department".
You should be able to easily get certificates in Human Resources training.
As the office manager for many firms, my duties have included HR.

Skills assessments are great, but there is one thing I have learned in this economy, sometimes it doesn't matter what your education is, sometimes it doesn't even matter what your previous background was, you need to focus on fields that are actually available and needed in your location.
We have a fabulous dental assisting program and as such, we crank out RDA's faster than there are jobs for them. It's a very competitive market and difficult to get a position here.
That's just an example.

If you plan on staying where you are and you're looking to decide on a career, do some leg work and find out what fields are hot for hiring.
HR may be one of them, I don't know.

The job I have now, I was NOT hired to assist with HR. But other people quit or got fired and I was given more and more responsibility because I did have extensive working experience with it to the extent that another HR manager will not be hired. I'm helping train someone else to share that position for me.
You never know how things will work out.

I hadn't worked in 10 years and was going through a divorce. It was pretty scary, but I couldn't believe how naturally everything came back to me.
I stayed at that job for 6 months and had tons of accolades and was employee of the month.....I left it for a better job. I stayed there for 2 years and left that place for an even better job.

I've been a single mom for 14 years and had an ex husband who made a full time job of getting out of child support. I applied where the jobs were and went from there.

Best wishes to you!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My cousin has a bachelor's degree in human resources related field. She has been unable to find a job in that field for over a year. She's learned that to be hired she needs to get a master's degree and/or experience. It's a vicious cycle. No experience, no job, no job,no experience.

2 moms found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions