While smaller companies typically have a single human resources manager, at mid-sized and large companies typically have teams of people in the human resources department. In these larger departments, tasks are broken down, with each manager specializing in a specific area of human resources. Let’s take a look at some of your options if you want to specialize.
Human Resources Specialists
Specialists in the human resources field perform a number of specific tasks (as opposed to generalists, who work at smaller companies and perform all tasks). Some of the most popular include the following:
- Recruiters: HR specialists who work as recruiters are in charge of the hiring process. They go out and find candidates (often called head hunting), review submitted resumes and cover letters, interview candidates, and make sure the company is compliant with all Equal Opportunity laws.
- Training and Development: If you like the teaching aspect of human resource, training and development is for you. In this field, you’ll go through orientation with new employees, as well as arrange for further education for employees already with the company.
- Compensation and Benefits: In this human resources role, you’ll work to ensure that workers get paid, health and unemployment claims are filed properly, and more. These human resource managers also often work analyzing the industry to determine what salaries and benefits to offer employees.
Generalist or Specialist?
As you’re working on your degree in human resources, you may have the opportunity to specialize, either officially or by taking classes in a certain area. But is is better to be a generalist, learning a little about everything, or to be a specialist, becoming an expert in one area?
There are pros and cons to both paths. As a generalist, more jobs will be open to you, even if you only have a bachelor’s degree. You’ll also be better prepared to start your own business someday and can easily switch between jobs as needed. As a specialist, however, you’ll be able to take on a more specific role with the company, allowing you to find a job you really love, and some specialists go on to become consultants or professors, since they know a lot about a specific area of the human resource field. Both options make sense for students.