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How to Become a HR Generalist

If you have an eye for detail, can manage multiple tasks at once and would love a professional job that focuses on helping people, a role as a human resources generalist might be an excellent fit for you.

HR generalists are mid-level professionals who oversee many different aspects of the human resources department. They manage everything from the recruitment process and employee relations to compliance with regulations, employee training, and development.

The job of an HR generalist requires great people and communication skills and a knack for balancing multiple tasks and projects at once. Strong analytical skills are a must for HR generalists, as are negotiation and problem-solving expertise. It can be a demanding job, but one with great rewards.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for an HR generalist to join our human resources department. You must have an excellent basic and broad understanding of human resources. As an HR generalist, you must also understand interpersonal communication skills and be able to successfully communicate with the HR director, employees, and other staff. Your position will be full-time and you will work in our human resources department office. This means you will report to our director of HR, work closely with the director, and follow their orders and assignments. You may be required to deliver messages, deal with complaints and issues, research new tactics and technology to improve HR workflow, and many other things. If you are interested in this position, please apply.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Administer HR plans for employees 
  • Develop and implement personnel procedures and policies
  • Assist in employee hiring, onboarding, and training
  • Facilitate various HR department processes
  • Help employees with their questions and issues
  • Work in the areas of employee health plans, safety, payroll, and benefits

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources management, business administration, or a related field.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills
  • Professional and courteous with a positive attitude
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Can work with minimal guidance and oversight
  • Expertise in customer service
  • Ability to multitask and organize

Preferred qualifications

  • Familiar with HR software
  • Bachelor’s degree in business or related field
  • Bilingual

Typical work environment

An HR or human resources generalist is a human resources employee with a broad understanding of a great variety of topics. These HR generalists perform diverse HR duties in all different aspects of human resources, which means that this position can help provide experience in a wide multitude of human resources positions and jobs. An HR specialist will work in the HR department of a company in close resources with an HR director or manager in order to distribute relevant information, connect with department managers, and do many other tasks. A human resources specialist may be required to create organizational standards and guidelines, deal with employee complaints, motivate employees, research HR tactics, and many other tasks. As an HR generalist, it is your job to complete the tasks assigned to you despite the potential variance in these tasks.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an HR generalist are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. 

Available certifications

A human resources generalist has a very broad area of work and because of this may not be able to find the specific certifications which will assist them in their specific position. Some of the broader certifications, however, include:

  • HR Management Certification Course. The HR management certification course is offered by HR University and is one of the leading human resources courses available for an HR manager, director, specialist, or generalist. This certification course teaches the general responsibilities of a human resources manager as well as other important things such as administrative tasks. This certification will be immensely useful for an HR generalist, especially if their position is in close connection to the HR manager or director.
  • Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). Becoming a senior certified professional can be immensely beneficial for an HR generalist as this certification will demonstrate excellence in the position. This certification is one of the most widely recognized in the human resources industry and can be extremely beneficial to acquire for an HR generalist. In order to qualify for this certification, however, keep in mind that you will need over four years of experience in the human resources industry before applying. If you are eligible, however, this certification can prove to be immensely beneficial.

Career path

The career path for an HR generalist starts with obtaining a bachelor’s degree in human resources management, business administration, or a related field. Also, achieving certification as a Professional in Human Resources can help lay the groundwork to advance in an HR career. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 13-1071

2020 Employment674,800
Projected Employment in 2030745,100
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift70,200 increase

According to SelectHub, the employee experience will become more central in the roles of human resources professionals; they will have to prioritize employee-centric culture and experience to recruit the best candidates. And while some automation and artificial intelligence (AI) may coexist with human resources jobs, they will serve as complementary technologies, helping HR generalists do their jobs more efficiently.