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Four Ways a Master's in HR Could Advance Your HR Career and Salary


By University Alliance
Four Ways to Use Your Master's in HR to Help Advance Your HR Career

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 and stand out from the competition.

Here are four ways to get started:

1. Earn Certifications and Join a Professional Association

For those seeking leadership positions in HR, your Master of Science in Human Resource Development gives professionals the skills to become certified and become 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.

The HR Certification Institute (HRCI) provides globally recognized certifications for HR professionals. These certifications require continuing education credits and retesting, at times. Two 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.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for the Human Resource industry is expected to grow by 5% in the next decade. Master's degree holders who have earned a certification would potentially have the most opportunity.

Annual salary rates for HR professionals may vary according to occupation, experience, training/education, location and employer

Compensation Outlook from the BLS

Title Median Earnings
as of 2015
Human Resource Managers $104,440
Training and Development Managers $102,640
Benefits Managers $111,430

2. Masters in HR, Become a Master Social Networker

Online social networking sites such as LinkedIn provide HR professionals with various options, which can be used for:

  • Recruitment
  • Professional networking (get in contact with current and past co-workers)
  • Research
  • Peer-to-peer help on message boards
  • New career opportunities
  • Consulting

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 might help increase the likelihood for your résumé standing out to employers. This can also increase your potential to stand out on the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing.

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 headhunters search for keywords, and if you have these keywords in your profile you have a better chance of showing up in their search. Some keywords you could use for your search are: talent acquisition, executive search, master's in hr, sourcing.

3. Climbing the Corporate Ladder

A Master's in HR could allow you to move from basic management positions to roles that include more authority and responsibility, such as:

4. Think Outside of the Box

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. It can help to reach out to as many people as possible to express your interest in advancing your career. Another way to get someone's attention (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 help, 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 likely come across a variety of people who might 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. Having earned your master's in HR, your opportunities are already abundant. As an HR professional, if you haven't earned your master's yet, there's no time like the present to get started.

Category: Human Resources