Human resources jobs are great for veterans! Here’s why – Active duty service members take for granted how broad the range is of their day-to-day tasks, because they simply “get used to it.” And if they’ve never held a civilian job, or if it’s been several years since, then they may have little to compare their daily routines to, as far as civilian workloads are concerned.
Whether they realize it or not, many if not most military members deal with a wide variety of Human Resources-related issues on a daily basis. They just may not realize that the tasks they’re performing on the job are, in fact, considered “HR” functions on the “outside.”
If you’ve ever written a job performance feedback on someone you supervised, briefed a new troop on the benefits of staying in for a few more years, or helped in-process a new member into your unit, then congratulations! You have had exposure to HR duties!
So, with all that said, if you’re interested in digging further into the world of civilian HR jobs, then look no further! Because whether you’re a military member preparing to get out, or you are already a separated veteran trying to figure out your next move, then knowing how to translate your military skills and experiences into applicable civilian skills is of great importance.
What are Human Resource Specialists?
So what, specifically, are human resources specialists (or managers, once you get more experience)? These are the personnel within an agency or company who “recruit, screen, interview, and place workers.” They also deal directly with various employee issues related to the company and unions, and will help with employee pay (as a liaison with the accounting section) and benefits, as well in many cases education and training.
All told, a human resource specialist is exactly that…they focus on taking care of the company’s main resource, which is the human beings working for the company. It may seem cold to call people “human resources,” but that’s why the phrase “it’s business, not personal” exists! People are vital resources, and must be taken good care of so they will become and remain productive members of the team. When a worker gets injured or disgruntled, work suffers…and, for a business, that can lead to a loss of profits!
Qualifications to become an HR Specialist
To be an HR “generalist,” one doesn’t need a special degree, although having at least a bachelor’s degree in something always comes in handy. Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certifications are also highly valuable, as are business-related courses. The PHR, managed by the Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI), is a multiple choice, computer-based test which can be taken at various locations around the world. HRCI offers many other HR-related tests, but the PHR would be your first step. This exam, plus the application fee, costs a total of $495.
But to be eligible to take the exam, you first need either: 1 year of experience in a professional-level HR position and a graduate degree, or 2 years experience and a bachelor’s, or 4 years experience plus a high school diploma.
So, does your military experience directly transfer? Maybe.
O-Net Online features a popular military “Crosswalk” that helps translate the skills of specific military specialities into civilian counterpart skills. You can select your branch of service and your Military Occupational Classification (MOC), or Air Force Speciality Code (AFSC) from their drop down list, then find the code that matches the job you do (or used to do on Active Duty).
Say you select 3S011, under Air Force, which brings up “Personnel Helper.” Click on that and it will find applicable similar civilian jobs, one of which is (you guessed it) Human Resources Managers. A few of the tasks listed under this job are:
- “Serve as a link between management and employees by handling questions, interpreting and administering contracts and helping resolve work-related problems.”
- “Analyze and modify compensation and benefits policies to establish competitive programs and ensure compliance with legal requirements.”
- “Perform difficult staffing duties, including dealing with understaffing, refereeing disputes, firing employees, and administering disciplinary procedures.”
Pay and Job Outlook
HR can be a lot of work, and pay scales vary depending on the company you’re working for, as well as the geographic location. Not all businesses value their HR folks as much as they should, but for those smart enough to recognize how vital these jobs are, the pay can be very good.
The median pay for an HR Specialist is just over $60,000 but can go as high as $100,000 a year, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the job outlook to grow steadily at around 7% for the next decade.
One thing to bear in mind is that many companies are refocusing their recruitment efforts away from traditional “job fairs” and getting the word out through online job boards and other online platforms. So the more expertise one has with working online, the better.
It may seem less personal, but there’s no getting around it. HR functions are increasingly moving to the web, and experience with HR software applications is going to be a must in order to stay relevant. But one things veterans are used to is adapting to overcome challenges!
Speaking of skills, one last note: there are a wide variety of “soft skills” required to perform well as an HR Specialist. Being good at interpersonal communication, as well as written comm; being able to pay close attention to minor details; having the ability to remain objective and impartial but also empathetic to worker problems; and, of course, valuing confidentiality! Again, luckily, all of the above traits are things most service members get a ton of practice at while working in the service of our country. So time to put those talents to use on the outside!
Companies Hiring for Human Resources Jobs
Hilton: Hilton is one of the largest and fastest growing hospitality companies in the world, with more than 4,700 properties comprising more than 775,000 rooms in 104 countries and territories.
Oracle: At Oracle, our vision is to foster an inclusive environment that leverages the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of all of our employees, suppliers, customers and partners to drive a sustainable global competitive advantage.
Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets.
Swift Transportation: At Swift Transportation, we offer a variety of careers and positions combined with competitive salaries, great benefits and a supportive atmosphere.
IBM: From helping transform healthcare to improving the retail shopping experience, it’s what IBMers do.
*Companies appearing in this article are paying advertisers