How do You Become an HR Generalist?

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The HR generalist plays a vital role in performing HR-related duties within an organization. As a strategic partner and an employee advocate, the generalist is a key member of the Human Resources department who can help contribute to a corporation’s success by managing the day-to-day operations of the office. If you would like to play a part in staffing, recruiting, organizational planning, performance management, employee development and training, the generalist title could be perfect for you.

Here are the steps that you must take to land a job and carry out your job responsibilities:

Enter a Bachelor’s Degree Program

Since an HR generalist will be in charge of managing a wide spectrum of HR-related activities, having a Bachelor’s degree is a must. Virtually all companies require their specialists to possess a degree and those that do not have a degree requirement are looking for professionals with years of experience under their belt.

Related: 15 Best Value Online Human Resource Management Degree Programs

As you shop the college catalogs to find the right degree you should put your focus on degrees majoring in Human Resource Management. These programs focus on building the general knowledge base that you will need to be considered as a candidate for HR opportunities. Some of the classes you will take while studying for a degree endorsed by the Society for Human Resource Management include:

  • Organizational Communications
  • Employment Law
  • Principles in Management
  • Training and Development
  • Information Systems
  • Staffing Organizations
  • Business Policy and Strategy

Gain Experience in an HR Setting

After you earn a bachelor’s degree you should put it to use. You can either pursue an internship or a paid position to gain work experience. This will help you see what type of duties you would take on if you were managing the day-to-day HR operations. If you feel like you are capable of handling these duties while managing employee relations, you should consider advancing your degree or pursuing a credential.

Apply for and Test for Your Certification

Certifications show that you are serious about the field and that you are a competent professional. If you want to move up from an assistant to a generalist, possessing a certification through the HR Certification Institute could really help propel you forward. For operations-focused professionals, the Professional in Human Resources certification is ideal. By passing the PHR test, you can prove your mastery of the best practices and the HR regulation in the country.

Start to Market Yourself for HR Opportunities

If you get certified while you are employed, you might be able to take on new responsibilities with your current employer. If you are not working, you should begin to market yourself on professional sites and with your professional network from school. You should always browse listings and reach out so that you show that you are marketable.

Businesses have started to rely on HR professionals to help with strategy. Since generalists are more involved in operations and strategy, it is no surprise that demand is growing. While the demand is higher than average, the supply of HR professionals is high as well. The best way to compete is to earn your bachelor’s and then your certification. Once you hold the HR generalist title you can then decide if you want to go a step further by becoming an HR manager.

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