Since HR management jobs are highly competitive, it’s important for aspiring human resources managers to understand both the written and the unwritten rules that employers use for filtering out the best-qualified applicants. For anyone who is wondering about the best approach to qualifying for an HR management job, the following discussion will shed light on both sorts of rules.

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The Written Rules

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is the best place to learn about the accepted, industry-wide written rules of qualifying for an HR management job. These rules stipulate that the HR manager must have the right mix of academic credentials, work experience, and professional qualifications.

Education — At a minimum, the HR manager must hold a bachelor’s degree, according to the vocational experts at the BLS. Some academic institutions offer degree programs in human resources, which would be one of the most relevant major course of study to pursue. Other options include business management or finance.

Some employers require their HR manager job applicants to hold master’s degrees. Candidates who have already studied human resources extensively at the undergraduate level may find it helpful to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Conversely, if an applicant holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in a more general business discipline, s/he might find it useful to pursue a Master of Science in Human Resources Management or a closely related degree.

Internships or Other Work Experience — Most human resources management jobs will require the applicant to have a significant amount of related work experience. This work experience can take the form of an HR internship, a paid position as an HR specialist, a job in labor relations or some other relevant position.

Certifications — Certification is not essential for success in a human resources career, but many employers view it as beneficial. It is not uncommon for some hiring managers to require that their HR management job applicants be certified. Available certifications include The Society for Human Resources Managers (SHRM) certification, Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification and the WorldatWork certification.

The Unwritten Rules

Alan Collins, who used to be a VP of HR for Pepsi Co, has written a valuable blog post that will introduce aspiring HR managers to the most important unwritten rules to be navigated when seeking a promotion to the role of HR manager. Considering that Alan worked his way up from HR specialist to HR manager to HR Director to VP of Human Resources, it would be unwise to ignore the insights he has shared regarding the importance of the unwritten rules.

A couple of these rules can be summarized as follows:

  • HR professional should not just sit in their cubicles and quietly do their jobs. They need to find ways to become indispensable and highly visible within their companies.
  • HR professionals need to show sensitivity in their approaches to the above goal because nobody likes working with arrogant, self-promoting jerks.

Following both the written and the unwritten rules mentioned above is the best way to qualify for an excellent job in human resources management. HR management jobs are typically reserved for the team players who devise ways of becoming highly visible and well-known by the top executives within their hiring organizations.