Human resource management, often referred to as HR, is a competitive career choice. There are many job opportunities, but there are also many candidates. Since there are many different areas to specialise in, however, you can set yourself apart from the competition by choosing an area of specialisation that suits your skills and interests.


Have a look at the following top 5 HR career choices and find one that suits you:

1. HR Information Systems Specialist

The role of technology in HR is growing, which means that the demand for HR IT Specialists is increasing. An HR Information System Specialist is responsible for designing (or choosing), implementing, maintaining, and upgrading the electronic HR systems within an organisation. He or she may also be required to train employees on how to use these systems, and to provide end-user support.

This role is a good option if you are skilled in IT and interested in HR, and you don’t want to work directly with other people all the time. Keep in mind that if you want to work in this role, you will need the relevant technical skills and qualifications. HR qualifications and experience may be to your advantage, but won’t always be required.


2. Executive Recruiter

An Executive Recruiter is responsible for recruiting senior-level employees for organisations. He or she is most likely to work for a recruitment company or as an independent contractor.

Networking is an essential skill if you want to work in this role, as you need to build professional relationships – not only with prospective recruits, but also with the hiring managers looking to make use of services like yours.

This can be a challenging line of work to go into, and your income might fluctuate from month to month (as you’ll earn commission). But it can also be fulfilling, and if you are successful, you can earn a good income.


3. HR Consultant

HR Consultants work as independent contractors or as employees of HR consulting firms, and they provide a variety of HR services to different organisations. This means that they have a degree of flexibility in their schedules and in the work that they do. Depending on how successful they are, they can sometimes also choose which organisations to take on as clients.

Many companies are leaning towards outsourcing workers rather than hiring full-time employees. This means that there are numerous work opportunities available for HR Consultants. Smaller organisations, for example, often cannot afford (or don’t have the need) to appoint in-house HR employees, but still need someone to assist with certain HR functions on a regular basis.

Since HR Consultants provide a wide range of services to their clients, they usually need a broad background in HR. A degree, diploma, or national certificate in HR or Labour Relations will usually be the minimum requirement. Additional specialised training is a good idea for HR Consultants who want to build their reputations in specific areas of HR.

HR Consultants also have the option of starting up their own HR consulting businesses, which means that this is a good career option if you have entrepreneurial ambitions.


4. Training and Development Practitioner

A Training and Development Practitioner ensures that the employees in an organisation have the knowledge and skills they need to contribute to the achievement of the organisation’s objectives. His or her duties may include:

  • Identifying skills gaps and training needs
  • Developing training plans and training material
  • Preparing internal training programmes
  • Arranging external training
  • Evaluating training programmes
  • Maintaining records of all training conducted within an organisation


This role is a good option if you enjoy working closely with other people, if you want to do meaningful work, and if you want the opportunity to make a clear impact on an organisation’s chances of success.

To work as a Training and Development Practitioner, you will usually need a formal qualification in a field such as HR, Business Management, or Psychology. You will also need relevant experience. Depending on the nature of the role, you may be expected to hold additional qualifications or to undergo additional training – such as assessor training, for example.


5. HR Manager

An HR Manager oversees the HR department in an organisation. He or she holds a senior role, with diverse responsibilities. These responsibilities may include:

  • Delegating HR tasks and supervising junior HR employees
  • Recruiting employees
  • Developing and implementing orientation programmes for new employees
  • Developing and implementing employment policies
  • Maintaining employee records
  • Boosting employee morale
  • Overseeing disciplinary procedures
  • Reporting to senior management


Working as an HR Manager can be both stressful and rewarding, as you will be required to deal with many different types of people at all levels of an organisation. To work in this type of role, you need a formal qualification in HR, along with relevant experience. You will usually first need to work in a junior HR role before you will be considered for the position of HR Manager.


What type of training, skills, and experience do you generally need to work in HR?

  • An HR qualification (National Certificate, National Diploma, or Degree).
  • Related qualifications and training. Depending on the area of HR you want to specialise in, you might benefit from training in law, OHS, conflict resolution, psychology, IT, education, or finance.
  • Relevant HR experience, industry experience, and managerial or leadership experience.


The exact nature of the qualifications and experience you need will depend on the role you want to work in. If you want to work as an HR IT Specialist, for example, you might only need a basic background in HR, along with relevant qualifications and experience in IT. In this example, your IT background is likely to carry more weight than your HR background. HR experience might be preferable, while IT experience is essential.


HR skills and qualifications


Employers will also look for the following skills and characteristics when hiring HR employees:

  • Interpersonal skills
  • Computer literacy (different levels may be required, depending on the position)
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • An eye for detail


Your other career options in HR:

The career options mentioned above are only a few of the career options that are available in the field of HR. Other options you can consider include the following:

  • Payroll Officer (this role involves a combination of bookkeeping and HR)
  • Labour Relations Consultant
  • HR Administrator
  • Industrial Psychologist (this role involves a combination of psychology and HR)
  • Employee Wellness Specialist (this role involves a combination of OHS, Public Health, and HR)


Ready to start your career in HR?

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