Limited time offer -> Mini-MBA Online (Free Course)

Human Resource Management: HR Jobs and Careers – 2


Free online course in Human Resource Management

Before you sign up for an expensive, full-time masters program, try this free online course from top universities. It has the option of getting a (paid) certificate if you want to show it on your resume.

Learn more

Jobs in Human Resource Management can literally give you the power to control the careers of hundreds or even thousands of employees.
Hari Raghavachari started a 2-part series add some clarity to the field of Human Resources (HR).

Part 1: Human Resource Careers: Scope, roles, responsibility of HR Jobs
Part 2: HR Jobs: How to get them? Qualifications & personal qualities

Here’s the second part.

Careers in Human Resource Management (HR Jobs)

Part 2: HR Jobs: How to get them? Qualifications & personal qualities

HR Jobs - Careers in Human resources managementHow to get an HR job?

The two most common entry routes to an HR career are:

– Undergraduate or (in India) an MBA or Masters in HR –> followed by either a functional entry or into an HR specific Leadership Development Program (LDP). You would enter at notch or two below manager level and work your way up.

– Mid-career transition into HR –> in the context of someone’s career development towards senior business roles, or a full transition into HR. Many HR managers / directors would have transition mid-career into HR from other functions in the organization, like finance, operations, or marketing & sales.

Most MNCs will have a healthy mix of the two.

So what could a human resource management (HR) career look like?

For the purposes of this blog, I’ll stay with the scenario of an MNC.

With few exceptions like some company’s Global HR Leadership Development Program (LDP) where one might have an early career international assignment / rotation, most HR careers in MNCs start out local. You would normally have to go through early career rotational positions in administration, employee relations and IT platforms / L&D; with some companies offering business partner assignments at a junior level.

It would take between 5-7 years for you to be considered for mid/senior and potentially international HR roles in any of the above sub-functional areas. In this period, you will have achieved or acquired competence and skills in a combination of the below areas, all underpinned by a solid understanding of your business & industry:

– Professional expertise in at least one area (except administration), with strong knowledge of another; perhaps with some time leading a small group of people. Example – you have specific and applicable experience in the area of mid-senior management recruiting, compensation and retention.

– You are an authority on corporate HR practice, organizational strategy. Example – you are an expert in running corporate / regional LDPs, and could potentially be considered a candidate to run a Global LDP; alternatively – you could be considered for a business partner role in a centralized or center –led global function like Strategic Procurement

– Solid experience in HR led projects or Business initiatives. Example – you have contributed to / led a major HR Information System upgrade for the local subsidiary of the company; or have successfully managed the HR aspects of integration of a major acquisition (including sensitive areas like employee retention or termination when that needs to happen).

Achieving a combination or all of the above is necessary for the visibility required amongst the senior people who evaluate you for global / corporate / partnering roles in HR.

Going further – your career could go one of several ways:

– Senior HR and leadership roles within your companies
– With professional qualifications through your career, into Organizational Consulting
– Executive Recruiting

Options are wide… but like any other career, you’d need to work your way up!

So what sort of a person do you need to be?

Aside from all of the functional and leadership skills for the role, good to great HR people have a certain personality that lends itself easily to HR. The GM of HR in the company I joined at 22, said two things were most important for HR people to have – a sense of humor, and a very thick skin! 14 years of experience later, innumerable interactions (& some unpleasant runs-in :-)) with HR colleagues – I couldn’t agree more.

Alongside skills and personality, you need to be viewed by ALL your co-workers as a sensitive, empathetic yet appropriately assertive leader, and a flawless communicator. HR people are the least understood (therefore often least liked) people in an organization because they’re seen as the messengers and executors of (nearly always unpopular) change – you wouldn’t be jealous of an HR Director when he/she runs an organizational restructuring or job/role/compensation recalibration program.

They hold sensitive and confidential information about employees (compensation and performance reports). They are aware of organizational politics, generally not a pleasant experience. It makes their role in the company inherently secretive, as they have to be extremely careful about what they speak, to whom they, when, why and how! They can’t blab, which sometimes goes against human nature :-). Most of their co-workers will NOT have the maturity to understand, and that’s what makes HR so poorly understood!

Bottom-line – you need to strike the balance in maintaining the relationship with your colleagues, while not losing sight of how sensitive what you know really is. It takes time to build this skill.

After all of that, what does education in / for the field look like?

To start a career at the administrative levels, a degree is pretty much enough. But this blog is intended for career aspirants, so the below would cater to those.

There’s no specific undergraduate degree necessary to start a career in HR – period. However, most large companies in India prefer to recruit their HR staff from business or specialist schools offering specific PG or Master’s or MBAs with specific electives in HR. To enter as HR associate, the path of least resistance would be to aim for one of the Top 10-15 schools in India, where all of the major corporate houses recruit (entry level or lateral) – the IIMs, JBIMS, MDI, IMT, SPJ, FMS, XL, TISS, NMIMS….

There are many who ask me about going abroad for specialized Masters in HR or similar education. Unless you’re very sure that there’s a job waiting for and / or you can afford the attendance costs – this is not a good idea. As previously mentioned, HR is an enabling and fairly local function from early to mid-career levels. It requires a strong understanding of local culture, including native fluency with the local language. Like marketing and similarly culture oriented functions, HR recruiting at the early career levels in any market would prefer local talent.

You need think very carefully about what you bring to the table to compete with the local talent. You “could” come back to India immediately, but would you be able to compete again with Indians who did their Masters / MBA in India, and are preferred by companies recruiting for their Indian operations? Chances are low, therefore wouldn’t your expensive foreign education towards an HR career be a waste?

To conclude

An HR career can be fulfilling and rewarding, but you need to take the long term view on how you’re going to get there. I hope this blog post offers you an independent perspective on what you will see in this career, and how you can plan it.

Hungry for more? Read these interesting articles on Human Resources and Best MBA in Human Resources (HR).

Mini-MBA | Start here | Success stories | Reality check | Knowledgebase | Scholarships | Services

Serious about higher ed? Follow us:


Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

41 thoughts on “Human Resource Management: HR Jobs and Careers – 2”

  1. @Devi: It would be incorrect for you to ask complete strangers about your specialisation choice when they have no idea about your interests and aptitude. Think about which field you enjoy more and make your choice.

  2. Hi,
    Actually I completd my mba in hr…bt iam finding difficulty in gettin job…kindly suggest me solution for the same.

  3. @Pallavi: I’m afraid we can help you with that. You’d have to keep reaching out to the right companies to see if they have relevant openings that match your profile and interest.

  4. hello sir,
    I have completed my engineering in electronics and communications from andhra pradesh. I want to pursue m.b.a specially in human resources management . is it a good idea? which stream would be useful to me? i’m a communicative person and social. I have leadership skills and I have the experience of being the student president of our college for he past four years(mentioned that just to acknowledge dat I’m a good leader).plz suggest the suitable program for me considering my technical backfround and my interest which dont exactly match . im very confused

  5. hello sir,
    I am going to complete MBA(HR&IT) in June 2013.kindly name those companies hiring HR fresher.

    Thanks & regards

  6. hello sir,
    actually i m doing my bcom.computers 3rd year n i have completed my company secretary 1st level n learng for my second level… bt after my degree i want to do mba in is hr the right choice for my career?? or shld i try for mba interest is can u please tell me more details about hr as in career..

    thank you

  7. @Keerthana: The qualities you’ve listed are well-aligned for an HR role. I’m not sure about your work experience. If it falls within the range for international MBA programs (assuming that’s what you are targetting), do you research on specific websites and then take a call.

    @Meera: Sorry, can’t help with that query.

    @Sonali: Given the confusion, I’d suggest not jumping into an MBA so soon. Get some work experience and when you gain more clarity about your long-term career plans, then take a call.

  8. sir i have completed i want make carrer in hr .but i want do job also .i want done mba distance i get job in hr .is without mba any chance to get job in hr department.

  9. Hello Sameer,

    I am presently working in the US and my fiance is planning to come to US on a dependent visa. She has done MBA in HR after her bachelors in mechanical engineering. She has worked in the HR industry for roughly an year. Could you please tell what her options are for working in HR in US with an MBA(HR) from India. Do the SHRM certification courses help? As far as I have heard, it is very difficult to get a job on dependent visa and that too with a degree from outside of the US. Would you recommend her to study some course/degree in order to be in a position to get a job?
    Your comments are much appreciated.


  10. Sir,
    I hav just completed my bca & now I want to do mba with hr & I hav the leader skills so plz could u suggest me that it is ok for me or not

  11. @Ahmad: Sure, you can get an HR job without an MBA, if you can demonstrate your aptitude for it.

    @sameer: The opportunities are pretty much the same in terms of variety. However, considering the significant overlap that HR has with the local culture, the list will get reduced. But HR offers a whole lot of analytical work as well (compensation stucture designing, designation mapping etc). She could explore those.

    @Anuj: Very open-ended query, bro. You’ll have to take a call on whether you have a interest in the field.

  12. hello,

    i have done MBA with HR as major specialization i have worked for 3yrs in an RPO and left the job due to personal reasons i want to restart my career now that too in abroad and please let me know which consultancy can i approach for further information.

  13. Hello Sameer,
    Thanks for such an informative article indeed.
    I am a software engineer with a total working experience of about 6 years. I have been working with pre-sales & sales for the last 2 years. I want to move to a HR profile but i do not have an MBA for the same. But i am sure of my skills and the attitude to make it. Can you please suggest how should i look for jobs in HR area in India.

  14. ” Sir ” i have 3 YEARS experience IN ACCOUNTS sector . I am completed BBM and Indian and foreign accounting. Now i am going to do Mba….. Which sector best for me FINANCE OR HR

    MBA finance or Hr which one easiest … i want do that one

  15. @Winnie and Aisha: Sorry, we can’t help with job placements. Try approaching placement agencies and companies directly.

    @ Ranju: No offense meant, but that’s the most ineffective (and dangerous) way of choosing a specialisation. I’d suggest not going for an MBA at this stage. Work for a few years to get an idea of what you want to do and where your interests lie. Take a call after that. Don’t end up with a paper degree. Read Beyond the MBA Hype. It’ll serve as a good reality check.

  16. Hi sir..Am working for a small firm as HR&admin in Bangalore…I have done B.A..I dont have much idea in this field..Can u guide me in brief about the course which i need to do for future job prospects..Thanks in advance..

  17. Doing MBA HR & Systems is waste. Go for MBA Finance and HR. HR requires experience to perfect and aim for big package. But where as big companies are always willing to take up finance students no matter what they experienced. Freshers has got scope to get into companies at any stage.

  18. Sameer,
    This is one of the best-written articles I have come across on the subject of how to get into an HR role. The author has done a good job of listing the competencies required to consider a mid-career transition into an HR role. I have about 7 years of work experience but have not really played any of the roles that could potentially make me a suitable candidate for a mid-career transition (I have primarily been a consultant for IT Project and Portfolio Management solutions). Given this background, I would like to know how common it is to opt for an MBA in HR in India with 7 years of experience? Is it a worthwhile option to explore if I have a desire to get into organizational consulting(I am assuming I have some understanding of the term)? How do India’s premier HR schools view such candidates? How do potential recruiters view such candidates (post an HR degree)? Would appreciate if you can help me with some insights.

  19. Deb: Hari (the author of this article) will be happy to hear your feedback. Folks consider an MBA to manage transitions like you have in mind. So, if you can use the MBA to fill in the gaps and get closer to your target roles, that may be a good option. In India, lateral career change isn’t as common as it is abroad though.

  20. Hello Sameer,
    My husband will be moving to Louisiana in 6 months. I have done my UG in mechanical engineering worked for a while and then did my MBA in HR. I have 1 year experience in the HR domain. For a job in the HR field in the US will this be enough or do i need to get an additional certification like a PHR, or is there anything else which may be needed?
    Looking forward to your response.

  21. Archana: The experience is relatively less. If you can convince employers that you’d be an (caution: dipping into the HR jargon) asset to their organisation, you might have some luck.

    The other thing you’d also need to figure out is work permit policies and processes for those on dependent visas.

  22. Hello Sameer,

    I am currently doing my IT engineering from the University of Pune and am in my fourth year now. I am not very inclined towards IT and would really want to pursue my career in HR. Should i do an MBA in HR right after i finish my BE? Or are there firms that hire freshers for the HR field considering work -ex is an added virtue. I really want to get into this field. I don’t know how to go about it as i am a fresher in BE(IT) which is not a perfect pre requisite for an HR-job.
    Please help !
    Thanks .

  23. Hello,

    I have just completed my MBA, HR from Sikkim Manipal University, distance (due to financial constraint I have to do it from here) but am really finding it difficult to get a job other than consultancy which i do not like to do am currently in looking job in my home state West Bengal and around India but there is no job here atleast for me, every one is just interviewing me and saying that they will get back to me and believe me All interviews are quite successful as per my knowledge! and in India people are not offering me any job because of my poor education pattern although none knows that we actually given online exams both descriptive and objective that too within 2 hours!

    Back to the point ( what is in offer for me is either sales job and am seeing the salary for Hr is general is too poor it never goes beyong 2 lakh for executive upto 4 hours of exposure)

    Please suggest what should I do ??

    try recruitment consultancy ?its night mare for me!

    please suggest how to apply and where to I have my resumes in naukri, monster, timesjobs and almost all prominient job sites even you can know alotmore about me if you google

    Please help with a guide

  24. Hi Sir,
    I have done Engineering in Electronics and Communication and MBA in HR. I have right attitude towards business and people management. I believe that i got good management skills. But i am not able to find a good job with decent pay. There are no good openings in current market. And if there is vacancy they are asking experience. Being a well qualified with much of talent I am hesitate to work for less pay. What I will do sir? Where I can find a good job?

  25. @Shekhar: Rather than waiting for the dream job, take up any decent option in hand. Experience will get you better jobs in due course.

    @Volga: The advice for Shekhar (see above) applies to your case as well. The first job will never be the most memorable. Use it as a stepping stone for better opportunities.

    • My condition is same as Shekhar…as I have also done MBA HR from SMU but here I have got 8 years of experience and still struggling to get the mid level position and good companies. I got the call from many good companies and they say that they are impressed with my skills and knowledge but still not calling me for F2F interviews. I am really disappointed and worried about my future. Should I go for some more certifications. If yes than pls suggest few.

  26. Hi
    I have 7 years of experience in IT industry and I am pursuing Executive MBA. I would be taking electives in HR and IT. I dont want to continue in IT so I wanted to shift in HR. After 7 years of experience will I get a job for HR at a senior position in say Recruitment for IT people.. what options can I have in HR? Thanks Plz reply

  27. @Anil: Apart from capitalising the first letter, you’ve given step motherly treatment to all the other acronyms. So it’s difficult to know what you are asking. I don’t know what you mean by msw.

    @Kanikka: I’d have wished that you did your homework about choosing the electives and goals before starting the program. It’s a little late to be changing directions now. So you’d better stop worrying about things and start working towards getting a good job.
    As you are a career changer, be flexible. Don’t expect recruiters to give you goodies right on the first day of work.
    Be modest in your expectations in whichever company you join and in whatever flavour of HR (recruitment, compensation, training & development). Show them that you can deliver. Then think about senior positions.

  28. Sir, I have recently completed my graduation (BBA LLB). I am planning to go for MBA in hr. I would like to know would it be better to do it from India or abroad, also if abroad which countries should I go for. And what’s the job scenario for HR in European countries. Kindly guide me.
    Thanking you

  29. Hi

    Im Neela pursuing Masters in HRD at NC State University. What are the chances for Indians to get a job in HR after completing Masters.
    I have heard that there are no chances of Indians getting a job in HR as the US residents are preferred more over Indians . Is this true?


  30. hi
    sir I have completed ug in Mechanical and working in service field for 2 years. Now I’m doing mba in hr in distance education . Will this help me in getting in to hr steam. please advice

  31. Hello Sir,
    I completed my MBA in 2004 with HRM and Systems specialisations.It’s been 10 Years I completed my MBA.Can you please advice me how to start searching jobs and where can find jobs related to my qualification.


  32. sir i have completed my MBA(HR/MRKT) i am searching a small job but how to start it i came from village please sir help me how to achieve my Thanks and regards srinivasararao

  33. hi,

    i completed my MBA hr from distance right now i am not got a good job anywhere .so suggest me what can i do in this situation .How can i touch up the good position .

  34. Hi,
    I am working in an MNC in Human Resource function for more than 8 years now, I am interested in counselling course, can you please help in letting me know if counselling course will be an added advantage if I am looking out for better opportunities. If the answer is yes, could you please recommend the institute where I should pursue this course. Thanks.

  35. Sir,
    I am a law graduate and currently pursing MBA from SMU. I got into recruitment firms to get hand on experience of HR field while doing MBA. Sir, I just want to know two things.Currently I have experience of One year in Recruitment.
    1. How to move into generalist profile?
    2. Does Age have any effect on MNC entry. ( I have experience of legal practice which is not considered here but there I invested couple of years)

  36. Hi, I have about 8 years of experience in the HR field and currently working as a HR Manager with a startup IT company in Bangalore. My husband has been transferred to the US office for a couple of years, so just wanted to know the scope of getting a job in HR in the US. Do I need to have a certification like PHR, SPHR etc? Kindly advice.

  37. Hi Sameer

    I have done B.Tech and currently have 2 years of experience in IT here in India.
    I plan on taking a masters course in USA next year.
    I’m confused between 2 courses, MS/MA in Human Resources/Industry Relations and MS in Management Information Science.
    Given my IT job experience, MIS might be suitable. Also I have researched that H1 initiation is easier in USA for IT jobs, hence lesser risk.
    But I always wanted to get into HR. I have researched that MS in HR doesn’t really require relevant experience, But I’m unsure of acceptance of foreign students for HR jobs post masters in USA.
    Would studying HR in USA be advisable?


Leave a Comment