What Can a Recent Graduate Expect in an Entry Level Human Resources Job?

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If you’re about to graduate or have recently graduated with a human resources (HR) degree, you may be wondering what you should expect in an entry level HR job. Here are a number of things you can likely look forward to as you begin your career in HR. Some of them may depend on what kind of experience you bring to the table and what kind (or size) company you are employed by.

First HR Jobs

Like most other fields, unless you have a significant amount of experience, it’s to be expected that your first job within the field will involve quite a bitĀ of on-the-job learning. That’s really what entry level means. Your employer wants you to gain practical expertise, so more than likely you will begin your work the role of an HR assistant or something comparable. An HR assistant helps someone else in the many tasks of an HR generalist or manager, many of which are administrative. If you’re working for a bigger company, the person you assist might specialize in a certain area like employee training or benefits. If you work in a smaller company, you may be learning about and assisting in all sorts of generalist duties, including recruiting and hiring employees, staffing and benefits enrollment or working to orient new employees.

You might not know yet if there is an area in which you want to specialize. Starting out, that’s fine. In fact, it can be a good idea to be open to exploring different types of job responsibilities and seeing where your strengths lie. If you go into an entry-level position with certain kinds of expertise already, perhaps from an internship that you did while in school, that may affect where you’re initially placed. However, you can still use your initial foray into the profession to network, learn and explore different professional areas.

Changing Role of HR

With all that said, the good news is that the world of HR is changing and growing. Those who work in human resources aren’t always confined to paperwork and administration, though those are still important skills. Companies are realizing that HR professionals can really help the company to become more effective and meet their goals. Compensation for HR professionals can be pretty solid, but you probably should not expect a big salary out of the gate. An entry level HR assistant makes about $40,000 per year, according to payscale.com, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary at about $38,000. You can expect to find slightly higher salaries in larger metropolitan centers.

Working in HR provides you with the opportunity to help a company meet its goals by helping them to have satisfied employees. Humans are a company’s best resource. HR professionals must be good communicators who can help employees understand the ins and outs of their job and what they can expect as an employee of a given company. One way you can grow as a human resources professional is to network with other professionals in HR and to join associations like the Society for Human Resource Management to gain opportunities for professional development that will help you advance beyond your entry level position.

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