What does a career in HR look like?

If you are known by your family and friends as an organised and a people-person, a career in Human Resources or ‘HR’ could be your chance to apply your skills at a professional level.

You could get involved in almost any organisation in any industry, from hiring and interviewing for new roles to restructuring teams after a merger or major organisational change.

What do HR professionals do?

As a HR professional, you are involved in recruiting, screening, interviewing and supporting employees. In a typical day, you might:

  • advertise job opportunities and review applicants’ resumes,
  • interview applicants for new roles,
  • attend meetings with other staff or team members to make hiring decisions,
  • meet with current employees to discuss issues such as pay or benefits,
  • conduct new employee orientations and coordinate professional development trainings,
  • strengthen the workforce by matching the right talents to the right roles,
  • or support staff through organisational change and resolve conflicts between management and employees.

Depending on the role you choose, you might also handle employee relations, payroll, benefits and trainings. A general HR role will allow you to focus on staffing, recruitment, compensation and benefits, while becoming a HR specialist will allow you to advise on professional development, risk management, HR information systems or organisational development.

What careers can you pursue if you study HR?

In the field of HR, you could work in any industry where teams of people are needed to create change.

You might take on roles such as:

  • PROJECT MANAGER – find people with the right skillsets to manage specific projects.
  • HUMAN RESOURCES ADVISOR/ANALYST – recruit new staff, and help them stay happy and productive at work
  • PAYROLL AND OPERATIONS SUPPORT – process payroll, promotions and superannuation for an entire workforce.
  • RECRUITMENT OFFICER – match candidates who possess the required skills and experience to clients.
  • OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY OFFICER – provide guidance and develop plans that keep employees safe and healthy at work.
  • TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT OFFICER – work as an external consultant, or with an in-house team to help people develop the skills they need to succeed in their own careers.

Which industries can you work in?

A career in HR could take you anywhere, from a global conglomerate to a non-profit organisation. Human Resources are a vital part of every industry. This allows you to shape your career around what you love, whether that’s music, technology, food and hospitality, retail brands or practically any industry you can think of.

To succeed in HR, you will need to genuinely enjoy building and managing relationships.
Depending on the type of HR role you’re interested in, you might also need:

  • Strong communication skills to share information with new applicants, current employees, and other staff and management in a clear and precise manner.
  • Excellent organisational skills to keep track of applications and systems, and manage teams of people.
  • Decision-making skills and the social intelligence to make the best decisions for your company or employer.
  • Leadership skills to help you work with teams of people in an effective and ethical way.

How to prepare for your HR career while studying

Do not wait until you graduate in order to get a head start on your career while you are still studying. You could choose to:

  • Take up a human resources internship to gain real-world experience, working on projects with actual companies as part of your studies.
  • Attend career fairs and industry events hosted by professional associations and the Murdoch Edge at Kaplan.
  • Join a student society or professional association, and get involved in organising events.
  • Participate in team competitions solving real-world problems and having the opportunity to network along the way.
  • Participate in volunteer work at non-profit organisations or other community groups.

The future of HR

You can enjoy a HR career in any industry; therefore, there are many opportunities available to you. There is a growing demand for people who have skills, experience and knowledge in the field of HR. The job market in HR can be highly competitive, so practical experience in the field can give you an advantage in your career.

You can opt for the following Human Resource Management Double Majors at Murdoch University:

Credit: Murdoch Marketing Australia