4 Different Ways to Use Your Master's in HR to Advance Your HR Career
Advance Your HR Career With A Master's in HR!
As a degree-holding professional working in Human Resources, a master's in HR can lead to a variety of potential career advancements, such as senior and executive management positions. It's also important to note that having a strong résumé is vital to helping you get noticed by potential employers.
One way to strengthen your résumé is to highlight extracurricular activities along with your master's degree in human resources. If you aren't sure how to go about it or how to start, here are four different ways to get you started.
1. Earn Certifications and Join a Professional Association
For those of you who want leadership positions in HR, your Master of Science in Human Resource Development has given you the necessary skills to become certified and to make you a valuable member of a professional association. One such association is the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) - the world's largest association devoted to human resource management, which represents more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries.
As for certifications, the HR Certification Institute (HRCI) provides globally recognized certifications for HR professionals. These certifications require continuing education credits and retesting, at times. Two respected certifications offered by HRCI are:
- PHR® (Professional in Human Resources)
Eligible candidates have at least two years of HR exempt-level experience as a practitioner, educator, researcher or consultant.
- SPHR® (Senior Professional in Human Resources)
Eligible candidates have at four to six years of HR exempt-level experience.
Earn a Better Salary, Get What You Deserve
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011, employment for the Human Resource industry is expected to grow by 17% over the next decade. And master's degree holders who have earned their certification would have the most opportunities.
Annual salary rates for HR professionals may vary according to occupation, experience, training, location and the firm they work for.
Compensation Outlook from the BLS
as of 2008
|Human Resource Managers||$96,130|
|Training and Development Managers||$87,700|
2. Masters in HR, It's Time to Become a Master Social Networker
LinkedIn and HR Professionals Go Hand In Hand
Recently, SuccessInHR.com published an article about the importance of LinkedIn for HR professionals. The article noted that LinkedIn has over 37 million members on the site, 450,000 of which are HR professionals. However, not many of them are maximizing the value the site can provide them.
Online social networking sites such as LinkedIn provide HR professionals with a plethora of options, which they can use for:
- Professional networking (get in contact with current and past co-workers)
- Peer-to-peer help on message boards
- New career opportunities
If you are looking for a new career opportunity (new job and/or consulting), keeping an updated résumé on your profile is crucial. By listing your credentials (i.e., Master of Science in Human Resource Development, SPHR® certification, SHRM membership) in your résumé profile, you can increase the likelihood for your résumé to stand out in employment search results. This practice can also increase your potential to stand out on the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc…) which crawl LinkedIn daily.
Tweet Your Credentials
When creating a Twitter profile it's important to be creative with the 140 character allotment you're given. Potential employers, recruiters and head hunters search for keywords, and if you have these keywords in your profile you will show up in their search.
If you want to take charge of your job hunt, there is a search site that specifically crawls Twitter called Tweep Search. This site will search current Twitter profiles. Some keywords you could use for your search are: talent acquisition, executive search, master's in hr, sourcing.
3. Climb Up Another Rung on the Corporate Ladder
Your master's in HR allows you to move from basic management positions to roles that include more authority and responsibility, such as:
- Director of Human Resources
- Vice President of Human Resources
- HR Business Partner
- HR Practice Leader
- HR Operations Analyst
- HR Learning and Development
4. Think Outside of the Box
Whether you're employed or unemployed, we've laid out the traditional forms of how to use your master's degree to advance your HR career. The old adage, "It's not what you know, it's who you know," is true to a point… you need to know (have your education), but it also helps to know the right people. In the same light as social networking, the keyword being networking; it helps to reach out to as many people as possible to express your interest in advancing your career. Another way to get someone's attention (networking) while giving back is to volunteer.
There are two things you can do to help decide what you would like to volunteer for. First, take a look at what issue you are passionate about and would like to help (e.g.; cancer research, blood donation, feeding the hungry). Once you've narrowed down what cause you'd like to give back to, it's time to research. You will want to look for organizations located in your area and have a need for volunteers. After contacting the volunteer director, remember to pitch why you would like to help out and how you can add value to their team. By volunteering, you will come across a variety of people (also volunteering) who could become a future contact for your next big job.
Take Charge and Create Your #5!
The last four suggestions can be a stepping ground for your job search. Perhaps they've sparked a few more ideas for you to look into. By having earned your master's in HR, the sky is the limit.
As an HR professional, if you haven't earned your master's yet, there's no time like the present to get started.