How to Become a Human Resources Manager

A human resources manager helps to build and retain a solid foundation of qualified employees for a company or business, and ensures that processes and plans for the organization are carried out and implemented seamlessly. If you are a great communicator who is organized, motivated and good at problem solving, then you should consider stepping into a career as a human resource manager. Here, we describe the educational and personal requirements for success in the position of a human resources manager.

Human resource manager job description

One of the main responsibilities of a human resources manager is to hire new employees and come up with ways to attract qualified, reliable people to the company. Also, this professional handles disputes between employees and oversees the employee benefits program.

An HR manager evaluates the talents and skills of employees, and then places them in jobs that make the best use of these attributes. This professional arranges for training programs to ensure employees are fully equipped to do their jobs.

In addition, a human resources manager makes sure the company is adhering to equal employment opportunity laws and laws that protect against sexual harassment. Managers attend and lead staff meetings, supervise employees and report up to more senior management on data, analytics, surveys, trends and other measurable items stemming from initiatives their department is working on.

In larger organizations, an HR manager may have a title and responsibilities more specific to a certain area, such as a benefits and compensation manager or a training manager.

As supervisors, human resource managers are also responsible for the performance of their team in administering benefits, training, performing recruitment duties and all of the components of the organization that an HR professional touches.

Hiring requirements for a human resource manager

A human resources manager is typically a seasoned professional who has a combination of education, experience and qualities that will assist them in managing the most vital of all assets to any company: the people.


The main requirement for a human resources manager is a bachelor’s degree in human resources. Some companies will fill this position with someone who has a bachelor’s degree in business management, finance, education or information technology. These specialties can help an individual perform the work of a human resources manager. Plus, the individual will receive more specific training after being hired.


A human resources manager isn’t required to have certification for the work, but it can work in favor of a candidate for the job. A job candidate who is certified as a human resources manager has shown more initiative in advancing their career and learning about the field.

Many HR professionals, particularly managers, hold certifications from one or both of the two main certifying bodies, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and HR Certification Institute (HRCI).

Two of the more relevant certifications for HR managers are:

  • SHRM -Senior Certified Professional – SCP
  • HRCI – Senior Professional in Human Resources – SPHR

Both certifications are for managers and leaders in strategic human resources.

Skills needed

Along with having a bachelor’s degree, this person must have the ability to communicate well with others and evaluate situations in an objective way. For instance, a human resources manager is expected to solve employee disputes in a fair way. A high level of organization is another skill needed by a human resources manager. This professional must keep track of employee records, handbooks, manuals and other documents in order to be efficient. In addition, this job requires a person who has knowledge regarding the elements of employee compensation programs. This professional must understand the adjustments and additions that take place within an employee benefits program.

Starting your career

Some individuals start their career path by taking a job as a human resource specialist. This entry-level work helps them to gain experience in the field. A human resources specialist does some of the things a human resources manager does and it’s a great way to learn the basics of the job without taking on as much responsibility right away.

Salary expectations for HR managers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for a human resources manager was $110,120 as of May 2017. Of course, other things can factor into the salary of this professional. If you work at a large corporation you are likely to earn more as a human resources manager than if you worked at a small, independently owned company. Plus, as you gain more experience in the position your salary is likely to go up. Having certification in human resources management is another way to start out with a higher salary.

Steps to becoming a human resources manager

The steps to become a human resource manager are threefold: Education, Experience, and Elevate. Starting with a bachelor’s degree, you will then need to gain necessary on-the-job experience and then apply for career advancement and elevate your position.

Step One – Education

Dedicate yourself to earning a bachelor’s degree in human resources. Some helpful courses to add to your schedule include conflict management and basic psychology. Before graduating, arrange to do an internship at a company as an assistant to the human resources manager. This will give you valuable insight on the daily tasks of this professional. Plus, you can ask the human resources manager questions and receive answers based on the individual’s personal experiences with the job.

Once you have completed your bachelor’s degree, it is often recommended to earn certifications and a higher-level degree, but you should gain work experience as an HR professional while you are doing so.

Step Two – Gain Experience

Apply for an entry-level job as a human resources specialist or an assistant in the human resources department. You may want to apply at the company where you interned. They will already know you and your quality of work, which can be an advantage to getting the job. Taking an entry-level job helps you gain experience and prepare more before applying for a human resources manager position. In addition, take the time to join a professional organization for human resource managers. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about the field, make connections with other professionals and learn about available job positions across the country.

Many HR professionals attend conferences and other events around the country, network via LinkedIn and other platforms, and attend local events to swap ideas on how to source candidates, how to implement benefits systems and how to work with outsourced HR companies. Any and all experience you gain will only benefit you as you progress in your career.

Step Three – Elevate

After gaining a few years of experience in entry level work in the field of human resources, it’s time to apply for a job as a human resources manager. This means updating your resume by outlining your work experience, your involvement with a specific professional organization, certification and your personal skills that make you a great fit for the job. Working in an entry-level job has helped you to establish connections with the human resources manager at your company as well as others in the department. You can ask them for letters of recommendation as you pursue this new position.

Lastly, if you like to work with people and want to play an important role in the performance of a company or business, then a career as a human resources manager may be for you.