Skip to main content
Essential Human Resources Skills Employers Look For

Do you have the human resources skills that help you achieve success in the field?

Human resources professionals need to be good leaders and have the appropriate management training but there are other skills necessary for succeeding in HR.

The most successful HR professionals have a deep knowledge of relevant areas and practical human resources skills that are considered fundamental in the field.

List of Key Human Resources Skills

If you want to enter the field of human resources or if you already work in human resources and are hoping to advance your career, some skills that can get you where you want to be.

So, what skills do you need to work in human resources specialist? What human resources resume skills are essential?

Communication Skills

One of the most important aspects of working in human resources is being able to communicate effectively. As an HR professional, you have to be able to express yourself clearly, whether you’re speaking or writing.

Most of your daily responsibilities depend on good communication and interpersonal skills. You conduct interviews, deal with team members at all levels in the company, present information to co-workers and the public, manage labor relations, and have conversations with current and prospective employees. In addition to being a good speaker, working in HR requires that you be able to write well and be a good listener with strong communication skills.

Knowledge Of HRIS

Human Resource Information Systems are part of human resource management. Most of the information that you deal with regarding hiring, performance management, rewards and benefits, payroll, and more are registered in one or more HRIS.

It's an important skill to be able to master these systems through hands-on experience. Most aren’t hard to navigate but it does take some time and dedication to get familiar with them.

Cultural Sensitivity

This skill is important for anyone in HR but is especially valuable to those working for larger multinational companies. Customers and cultures vary around the world so you need to know what to expect as well as what’s expected of you.

Cultural differences impact how you hire, retain, and promote people. You should also be aware of communication differences between cultures. The wrong communication style could cause your message to be misread.

Stay up-to-date on all things HR & leadership.

Advising & Coaching Skills

Being able to advise and coach people is an essential part of working in human resources. It’s important to be able to advise a diverse range of people, including employees, line managers, and senior managers on personnel issues. Coaching is also important, especially when it comes to training groups or one-on-one.

Reporting & Presentation Skills

The need for reporting and presentation skills among HR professionals is on the rise. HR has become more analytically driven and your skillset should include the ability to read, synthesize, and interpret HR reports using data coming from different HRIS. It’s also important to be able to conduct research on the latest trends and stay on top of new tools and changes in current laws.

Other Human Resources Skills To Develop

Other skills that are important in the HR sector include organizational skills, decision-making skills, and the flexibility to adjust to your specific corporate environment.

What Soft Skills Do HR Professionals Need?

Many soft skills benefit HR professionals. These HR competencies include:

  • Public speaking in front of crowds of all sizes
  • Reading people and having an intuitive approach to dealing with people
  • Confidence and the ability to avoid being intimidated
  • Empathizing with people you are leading

Want to know more about what soft skills can help you in an HR career? We elevate the conversation surrounding QA with fresh content, jobs, tools, and events. 

Other Useful HR Skills For Your Resume

What skills and competencies do HR Professionals need to add more value to the HR function? Here are some that can put your resume ahead of the rest.

Serving as a Role Model

If you work in human resources, you are expected to set a certain standard regarding leadership, ethics, and business practices. You’re the measuring stick for employees and the company at large and setting a good example is important when it comes to how to behave and make choice in the workplace.

HR Subject Matter Expert

You are expected to be an expert on employment law, human resources issues, and compliance topics. People in the company turn to you whenever there are questions about these issues.


One of the key human resources skills is collaboration. You need to be good at collaborating with different departments and willing to take on projects in a leadership role.

Business Acumen

It’s important to not only understand human resources but also to understand the specific business in which you work. This is the only way you can act as a true partner and liaison for your employer.

Human Sponge

You have to constantly learn and soak up new information. As a modern HR professional, you must be well-versed in a variety of topics and be open to learning new things, expanding your knowledge base, and looking at new ways of doing things.


Arguably one of the HR professionals’ most important roles, vision means you’re willing to see, influence, and evaluate the professional world differently. HR plays a pivotal role when it comes to employees as well as their skills and abilities. As a human resources professional, one of your most important jobs is to have a vision and understand how future changes in the corporate world affect all aspects of the business.

What Human Resources Skills Am I Missing?

These are good skills to put on a resume that will get you noticed in the HR arena. If you’re wondering how to create an HR manager resume, curious about resume skills examples or a management skills resume, or are looking for a more human resources generalist resume, this is a great place to get started.

HR certifications are one way to gain and improve on these skills, but many can be gained through experience in the field as well.

However, this list isn't complete! What human resources skills am I missing? Share your ideas in the comments!

Do you think you're ready for the future of HR? This article might be of interest to you: How Will AI Impact Human Resources?

Get More HR Insight

If you want to know how to become a human resource manager or where to start with human resources training, we can help. We show you how to do HR better—even if you're not technically in a "Human Resources" position.

Some further resources:

Sign up for the People Managing People newsletter to get fresh articles, podcasts, how-to guides, tool reviews, updates, deals, and product exclusives.

By Finn Bartram

Finn is editor-in-chief at People Managing People. He's passionate about growing organizations where people are empowered to continuously improve and genuinely enjoy coming to work. If not at his desk, you can find him playing sports or enjoying the great outdoors.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.