Every industry and organization needs human resources expertise and support from professionals who are well-versed in the functional aspects of recruitment, employee training, benefits and compensation, employee and labor relations, and workplace safety. In addition, an HR professional who can collaborate with company leadership to develop strategy for sustaining a world-class workforce is an invaluable source of expertise. Human resources - meaning, both the people who do the work and the people who manage HR areas - are key to organizational success. If you are drawn to the business of marketing and you have an HR background, you could be preparing for an exciting role in HR marketing or an HR job in media.
Human Resources Career Basics
You could have several paths available to you in a human resources career. Depending on your training and experience, you may have already decided whether you want to specialize in one or more HR areas or if your interests lean toward becoming an HR generalist. Specialists focus their work in the functional areas of HR: benefits and compensation, employee and labor relations, training and development, workplace safety and risk management, or recruitment and employment (or, what's also referred to as talent acquisition). If you want to become an HR generalist, it's wise to have a broad range of knowledge and expertise in all the functional areas, but being a generalist may be a better launching pad for a career in HR management. As an HR manager, you will likely manage HR specialists, and you will need to know the responsibilities and duties of all the specialists who report to you.
Preparing for Your Human Resources Career
Human resources careers in the marketing field could involve working for an advertising agency or public relations firm, or even marketing HR careers for an employment firm or headhunter and placement group. Regardless of the industry you choose, your preparation should begin with training and education about the field. Universities offer bachelor's and graduate degrees in human resources management, and many schools also offer graduate certificate programs in HR management. If you already hold a degree in a field such as business, sociology, psychology or law, a graduate certificate might give you the type of training required to qualify for an HR management role.
But if you are starting out with minimal training or experience in HR, look for entry-level positions in an HR department. An entry-level job could be a customer-service-like role that helps you gain experience learning about workplace issues, employee questions and typical HR tasks. Starting from an entry-level position has several advantages, namely that you can track the progression of your career through filling different roles in the organization's HR department. For example, performing well in an entry-level job could mean promotion to a role as a team lead, supervisor and eventually as a manager, once you demonstrate you increase your knowledge, expertise and value to the company by taking on progressively more responsible roles. Before you sign up for an entry-level job, however, check out a human resources customer service job description to ensure it's what really interests you and that you're not just settling for any job to get your foot in the door.
Human Resources Marketing
Another HR career angle is to work for an organization that markets HR as a career choice. Ideally, you would have some experience and knowledge of human resources so that you can effectively market HR as a potential career. Jobs might include working for a search firm or a school or university that offers training for aspiring HR practitioners. Your expertise in HR enables you to connect more effectively with prospective students or candidates. There is probably nothing more frustrating for job seekers who interview with someone who doesn't have a clue about the type of role they are looking to fill.
Another alternative is to explore "recruitment marketing," which the Society for Human Resource Management says is becoming a "core HR discipline." Professionals in the recruitment marketing field are experts in creating a connection between organizations and talented applicants. Mike Hennessy, CEO of SmashFly Technologies, has created a niche business through helping companies embrace various forms of social media and overall web presence to enhance an employer's image and appeal to job seekers. The CRM acronym that traditionally referred to customer relationship management aptly fits HR marketing as candidate relationship management, according to Hennessey's interview, published April 2017 by SHRM, "Recruitment Marketing: From Trendy to Necessary."
Opportunities for HR Jobs in Media
The Me Too Movement has obviously created a need for HR professionals in media, since the movement seems to have emerged from complaints of women (and, eventually men) in the motion picture industry, and news and media outlets. HR professionals with knowledge of the industry and superb qualifications may be able to carve a niche for themselves, using their knowledge and expertise to support thorough employee relations investigations, and staging resolutions that are mutually agreeable to the parties involved, before the unfortunate circumstances become viral through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook posts and YouTube videos that praise, condemn and chastise the parties. This kind of HR job in media may be seem more as a "fixer" who works on behalf of organizations that employ both the accuser and the accused.
The Future for Human Resources Careers
Given social media's influence on virtually every part of life, a career in HR marketing might be the perfect fit if you're tech savvy and believe you can contribute to an organization's electronic footprint. Combining your interests in human resources and marketing could very well be a blend that dovetails nicely with recruiting and talent acquisition. But don't limit your human resources career aspirations to talent acquisition or recruiting as a means to combine HR and marketing. Forbes contributor Kavi Guppta sums up five HR roles that will gain traction in the 21st century, and all of them will involve some marketing component - whether it's external marketing to attract qualified applicants or internal marketing to generate employee engagement, increase retention or provide employees with training and development opportunities.
One such human resources career path that Guppta describes is Employee Engagement Manager. In this role, your responsibilities could range from developing surveys or leading focus groups to measure employee engagement levels throughout the organization. Marketing the survey as a tool that your company's leadership will use to improve the work experience might be a job in itself, as could marketing the recommendations to leadership to act on the feedback provided by their workers. Another role is Diversity Officer, a need that is particularly underscored by today's generationally diverse workforce. Marketing the organization as one that values diversity helps current employees understand how individuals from varied backgrounds, ages, personal experience can contribute to the company's overall success. Once the diversity officer demonstrates that the organization does, indeed, value diversity, you can use that for external marketing purposes to attract the talent the organization needs to achieve future or long-range goals.
Transforming the workplace and the employment experience is the name of the game for aspiring HR professionals, according to Guppta. And if a role for an HR marketing expert doesn't currently exist, craft ways to combine your interest in HR and marketing. If you present a feasible solution to an organizational challenge or if you can articulate the value you add to your current employer or a prospective employer, developing a strong case for the role you want may land you the dream job that uses both HR expertise and marketing talent.