Advancing Your Human Resources Career With Education

As a degree-holding professional working in Human Resources, a master's in HR can lead to a variety of potential career advances, such as senior and executive management positions. It's also important to note that having a strong résumé is vital to helping you get informed by potential employers.

One way to strengthen your résumé is to highlight extracurricular activities along with your master's degree in human resources. If you are not sure how to go about it or how to start, here are four different ways to get you started.

1. Earn Certificates and Join a Professional Association

For those of you who want leadership positions in HR, your Master of Science in Human Resource Development degree gives you the necessary skills to become certified and positions you as a valuable member of a professional association. SHRM, Society for Human Resource Management, is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management, which represents more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries.

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

Earn a Better Salary, Get What You Deserve

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in its Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011 , employment for the Human Resource industry is expected to grow by 17% over the next decade . And master's degree holders who have earned their certification would have the most opportunities.

* Annual salary rates for HR professionals may vary according to occupation, experience, training, location and the firm they work for.

Compensation Outlook from the BLS


Median Earnings as of 2008

Human Resource Managers

$ 96,130

Training and Development Managers

$ 87,700

Benefits Managers

$ 86,500

2. Masters in HR, It's Time to Become a Master Social Networker

LinkedIn and HR Professionals Go Hand In Hand

Recently, published an article about the importance of LinkedIn for HR professionals . LinkedIn has over 37 million members on the site, 450,000 of which are HR professionals . Many are not maximizing the value the site can provide them.

LinkedIn, and other online social networking sites, provide HR professionals with a plethora of options:

* Recruitment

* Professional networking

* Research

* Peer-to-peer help on message boards

* New career opportunities

* Consulting

If you are looking for a new career opportunity, an updated résumé on your profile is crucial. List your credentials (ie, Master of Science in Human Resource Development, SPHR® certification, SHRM membership) in your résumé profile; credentials can increase your résumés visibility among the masses.

Tweet Your Credentials

Be creative with the 140 character allotment you're given. Potential employers, recruiters and head hunters search for keywords, and if you have these keywords in your profile you'll show up for those questions.

If you want to take charge of your job hunt, try Tweep Search. This site searches current Twitter profiles. Some keywords you could use for your search are: talent acquisition, executive search, master's in hr, sourcing.

3. Climb Up Another Rung on the Corporate Ladder

Your master's in HR allows you to move from basic management positions to roles that include more authority and responsibility, such as:

* Director of Human Resources

* Vice President of Human Resources

* HR Business Partner

* HR Practice Leader

* HR Operations Analyst

* HR Learning and Development

4. Think Outside of the Box

Remember, sometimes "it's not what you know, it's who you know". You need to know (ie be educated), but knowing the right people helps. Social networking can help by reaching out to as many people as possible. Another way to get someone's attention (networking) while giving back is to volunteer.

Consider volunteering. Look to an issue you're passionate about and would like to participate in (eg; cancer research, blood donation, homelessness). Once you've selected a cause, it's time to research. Find local organizations in need of volunteers. Contact the volunteer director, pitch why you would like to help out and how you can add value to their team. By volunteering, you will increase your network, your experience, and you'll feel good.

Create Your Own # 5!

What would you add to these tips? Put your thoughts in the comments.

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