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HR Generalist Qualifications

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One of the most important positions within a small company is the role played by the Human Resources Generalist. Individuals in such roles are responsible for many duties, including the hiring process, benefits, employee compensation and more. For smaller companies, the role of the HR Generalist is to be the entire human resources department, wearing multiple hats at once and requiring extensive knowledge and skills.


Most companies require at least a Bachelor's Degree in order to obtain employment as an HR Generalist. Unfortunately, the majority of colleges do not offer a degree in fields related to human resources until the graduate level. Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in the human resources field can consider pursuing an undergraduate degree in business while concentrating on human resources related courses that are available at a majority of colleges.

Those who are looking for a career as an HR Generalist should continue his or her education past the undergraduate level. In doing so, they will be able to focus on all aspects of the human resources field including personnel administration, labor relations and human resources. Obtaining a Master's Degree in a human resources related field will make potential HR Generalist's more well-rounded and will also make them more attractive to employers, as most positions prefer a Master's Degree.

Experience & Training

Most companies prefer that a candidate for a position as an HR Generalist has at least three to five years of experience. In addition, training in fields such as legalities, employee relations, compensation, safety and preventative labor relations is preferred. In most cases, the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification is not required, however it is strongly preferred. Additional certifications such as the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) are available through the American Society for Training and Development and can go a long way in making a potential job candidate stand out from the competition.

Necessary Skills

In addition to the proper education and experience, for those looking for employment as an HR Generalist, it is important that he or she also posses the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the position. Individuals can expect to be required to have knowledge of various computer operating systems and programs such as Windows and Microsoft Office. Knowledge of benefits and compensation programs is a must, as an HR Generalist will be responsible for both duties. Also, individuals must have a good knowledge of employment related laws and common practices to aid in helping their employer avoid and prevent future lawsuits should a company need to let employees go. Knowledge of unemployment and labor laws is also key, as circumstances may arise in which the knowledge will pay off.