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Are you at a crossroads in your career or education and wondering whether to consider Human Resources (commonly referred to as HR) as your first or next career? Have you wondered what working in or studying HR would be like in this and the next generation?

Read on to find out about:

  1. What HR courses commonly don’t offer;
  2. What is exciting about HR as a career?
  3. Is HR really just about people?

What HR Courses Commonly Don’t Offer

I'm going to be transparent and say that the last time I was at a university, studying, was in 2009. However, I have kept in touch with students pursuing HR degrees to keep up to date with the latest trends and courses offered by universities.

This has led me to formulate 5 key things that universities currently DON’T offer:

  1. HR (Technology) consulting, which in and of itself is a common career path. Technology plays a pivotal role in empowering people managers with information that helps them attract and retain the best people.
  2. Commercial acumen is a common skill that most HR professionals lack. A lot is written about HR not having a seat at the table. This is all about understanding and being able to associate HR with a value proposition.
  3. The ability to sell, which is a common skill associated with people in sales and marketing. However, it's something ALL (Recruitment and HR) professionals need. HR degrees often don't offer courses in selling techniques. Recruitment professionals are tasked with hiring, and HR professionals are tasked with training or managing people from diverse fields including those in finance, sales, and others. This involves understanding the business of your organization and then learning how to sell it to people.
  4. Collaboration knowledge and skills are what all workplaces now actively promote or aim to achieve. This ensures that HR professionals are able to communicate and collaborate with both internal and external parties successfully to meet business objectives in terms of attracting and retaining the best talent.
  5. Process engineering is traditionally what all HR departments need to know in order to create effective people processes, but sadly this is also often not offered as a part of HR degrees.

Related Read: What Is Task Management Software And How Can It Help You?

What Is Exciting About HR As A Career?

Okay, I know that almost everyone’s dream job is not needing one. But if you’re going to have a job, why not have one that gives you fulfillment via helping others acquire or keep a job that they want?

Here are a few of the more exciting aspects of being in HR:

  1. It involves technology. Every HR job that I can imagine involves using exciting and innovative technology. Right from the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) using predictive analytics to gain insights into the biggest strength of its business-its people; to the mighty HR Generalist using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and Employee Manager Self-Service (EMSS), technology equips people to make work-life simpler and more effective and efficient for all. So if you’re into technology, you’re definitely going to enjoy this ride.
  2. It involves process. The HR profession involves creating repeatable processes for hiring and retaining people, the company’s greatest unique selling point! If you’re from a background that appreciates process, this is another great reason to choose this as your career.
  3. And most definitely and importantly involves people. It would all be pointless if it wasn’t all about the people. Think about bringing skills like consulting, partnering, coordinating, designing, hiring, recruiting, developing, problem-solving, listening, communicating, and most importantly, coaching into play. HR is all about the business of people. Whether you choose to work for an internal people department or an external agency providing these skills, you will have a very bright career if you choose this path!

Is HR Really Just About People?

To answer this question for you, I started by asking myself “Why Do I Love HR and/or HR Technology and processes?” and then I asked all my colleagues (over 200 people) working in the same or related industries the same question. After all, it is what this article is all about so why take just my word for it?

The resounding answer was love for people and to see people grow.

Need I say more?

But, if you still need any further motivation to consider working in this industry the other reasons are cited below. The theme across all of them is people!

  1. Helping people and related technology;
  2. Harnessing human capital;
  3. Interacting with different (kinds of) people;
  4. Fascinated by motivation, engagement, and development of people;
  5. Learning new things;
  6. Love for technology;
  7. Disrupting the industry and providing an ROI (return on investment) to business owners, CEOs, and managers;
  8. Having so much fun & getting a huge kick from all the nice feedback from people about how they benefit from (our) technology;
  9. Bridging the gap between people, performance, and organizational goals;
  10. Showing how better leadership and treating people well produces improved performance;
  11. Improving workplaces, seeing people grow, and feeling more confident at work;
  12. Helping people be their best and HR technology helps to connect them by solving problems and making things easier;
  13. Constant problem solving;
  14. HR technology is brilliant: it improves hiring processes, skills, & outcomes; and saves (our) clients loads of money;
  15. Helping others dramatically increase their positive impact on organizations and the world;
  16. Leading talent/performance/engagement and the impact technology is having on this and its influence on future/digital workplaces;
  17. Playing a direct and important part in the lives of others as we spend more time at work than we do at home;
  18. License to spread your intellectual/professional/spiritual net right across work and people;
  19. Helping people find their dream job;
  20. Technology can change lives and people/HR is fascinating;
  21. HR and HR technology are the key drivers for successful businesses of the future – simple as that!
  22. Technology brings creativity, imagination, & innovation to a dry and process-driven function
  23. Supporting people

What Do You Think?

If you delight in helping people, creating efficient and sustainable processes, then Human Resource Management might just be the career you're looking for! Looking past the piles of papers, I have a strong feeling you will find purpose and satisfaction.

Let me know if there are questions this article didn't answer by posting a question in the comments below! Need to know more? There's a community waiting for you (sign up for the waitlist here)!

Even better, sign up for the People Managing People newsletter to get you ready for your big move to the world of HR.

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By Tim Reitsma

Tim has deep experience in HR, people & culture, leadership, business strategy and operations with a focus on building great teams who are excited about their craft and their organization. With over 15 years of leadership experience, Tim has always been guided by his core values: faith, family, curiosity, and fun. He is a coach, mentor, speaker, advisor, and an active volunteer in his community. Tim loves spending time outdoors with his wife and two kids as well as mountain biking in the north shore mountains.