Competitive Career Article
Tips for Becoming an HR Manager

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How to Become a HR Manager
Earn $100,000+ a year

by Ric Riccobono/Director

If you've read through some of our inside tips on making Human Resource a career you are solidly familiar with the duties by now. Also, if you made some kind of a decision on a career goal in HR you are ready to start processing your pathway. Human Resource staffing is projected to be on the rise and can earn a great salary. But, what about that higher paying HR Manager position that can earn you $100k a year or more? This management position takes on additional areas of responsibility which you need to be aware of. Human resource managers basically act as the mediator, the 'go-between' or liaisons between the employees and corporate leadership. HR managers are basically diplomats in a sense as they are the ones responsible for maintaining employer-employee relations and making sure that workers are peaceful and happy. We've discussed, in past articles, the duties of a Human Resource staff member so let's look at the more direct responsibilities of the HR Manager. The Manager’s duties include hiring, firing, dealing with compensation and benefits issues, training, being a sounding board for employee complaints, HR laws and educating and implementing the firm's in-house policies. Excellent communication skills will surely be one benefit to have if your goal is that of becoming an HR Manager. The HR Manager must also have the ability to use diplomacy through compromise. Good HR Managers are in demand, so let's take a look and see if you have some of the credentials, skills and energy needed to become one and go over some steps needed to take you there.

First, you've already taken your first major step by enrolling in the THORNHILL Educational Systems' HR Courses (Legal Field Careers) at LAVC. While taking your courses one good idea would be to pursue internships or part-time work in human resources with companies large enough to have a human resources staff or even with human resources firms. This will give you a chance to get some 'hands on' experience while you're taking the THORNHILL Educational Systems' Courses. Check with your instructor and even career counselors at the school, tell them of your desire to become an HR Manager.

It's not like it was 20 years ago before the advent of the mass computer virtual world out there. Today you can sift through hundreds of job hiring firms to look for that Golden Opportunity or Needle in a Hay Stack position. Identifying just 'What' to look for is the key.
Make yourself a checklist of what is needed to gain a wide area of experience in human resources. Realize that in order to become a manager, you will need a broad knowledge of all human resources sub-category-fields. Study and learn the recruitment, compensation, negotiation, training, organizational analysis, and employee welfare practices and policies that are sought after by large firms. Mastering the use of payroll and time-tracking, spreadsheet and human resources management system software will almost assuredly make you a strong candidate as an invaluable staffer with management potentials.

Management Experience

Now, here is the Cart before the Horse, Chicken or the Egg concept. You ask, “How can you jump right into a HR Management position, when you just became an HR applicant?” One way to give yourself a boost is to gain management experience in your early initial job stages whenever possible. Being a human resource expert may give you a decided edge. Ask yourself these questions:

Are you ready now or how long do you think you need to:

1 Run a department

2 Oversee large staffs

3 Seek promotion or employment as a 'Middle Manager in human resources.

Outline your assets that support all the functions of an ideal HR Manager and give your reasons why you are the perfect candidate. Ask yourself honestly, how good your communication and diplomacy skills are. You may even practice with your friends.

Let me give you just one simple idea of how you can do this. How many times do you see what typically are really good friends getting into a squabble? Jump in and play mediator, see if you can get them to agree on a compromise. It may be tricky, you may find that you have placed yourself in a position to alienate one of the two friends involved, but that's the skill of it all, if you can escape that scenario and show them both that maybe each needs to compromise a bit then you’re a part of what HR Managers must do.

As just some food for thought

Look for an opportunity where perhaps one of the HR Management staff is about to retire.
Look for a smaller or upcoming big-potential firm in development and there is no HR person, if they hire you then you would be the only one in that position to start.

Good luck, and don’t give up.

Ric Riccobono


Written by Ric Riccobono, Attorney at Law
Director LAVC Extension Program

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