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“Should I go into HR?”

I think it’s a great profession for many people.

Go into HR if you’re a young mom.

The cool thing about human resources is that the job offers a ton of flexibility if you can keep your eye on the prize: your kids. The barrier to entry is low, and you’ll work with like-minded individuals who want to have fun and don’t take life too seriously. The other good news? You don’t need a degree in human resources to work in HR. Jobs in payroll and benefits may occasionally demand long hours, but compared to other corporate jobs, your work-life options are strong. My only advice? Stay away from staffing.

Go into HR if you’re a young dude.

There aren’t enough young men in HR, which means you’ll stand out and have an opportunity to add some “diversity” to the mix. Also, men who work in female-dominated industries tend to outearn women. You get promoted faster, too. Bad news for chicks, good news for you.

Go into HR if you’re in marketing.

Hate your job in marketing? No kidding. Who wants to be bossed around by sales directors who chase quotas but think they know everything? There’s a role for you in today’s recruiting department. You can use your marketing and communications skills to help companies communicate their value proposition to job seekers. It’s a sweet gig and pays more than you suspect.

Go into HR if you’re in sales.

Well, let me clarify: go into recruiting. And don’t go into third-party recruiting. Find someone with the title of “director of talent acquisition” and talk to them about hiring people. Companies need your help, bro. You still need X% of people in your pipeline, blah blah blah, but the overall process is similar. It’s much more rewarding to recruit than to sell widgets or satellite TV packages.

Go into HR if you haven’t finished your college degree.

You should go to college and complete your degree. Here’s how you do it. Find an entry-level job in HR with tuition assistance and take advantage of that benefit. Then finish your degree at a traditional school in the evenings. Don’t blow the opportunity and attend a for-profit college. And, trust me, this advice is golden.

But, please, don’t go into HR if you hate people. We don’t need that kind of negativity in this profession. You have to like people to do this job properly.


  1. So what about us old dogs with lots of experience, Laurie? Should we try going into HR or is our age/experience a handicap?

  2. So true. Love the tips. Also – I have to add something to your closer. “Don’t go into HR if you hate people ‘or some/groups of people.’ No one wants repeats of the crazy, racist HR lady in the Michaels store.

  3. In my thankfully limited experience, most HR professionals do indeed seem to take to their careers because they “like” people. In the same way that butterfly collectors like butterflies…

  4. New mom here (does 32 count as a young mom?). Laurie is right that HR can be a good fit for new moms needing flexibility, or anyone needing flexibility. I work in benefits, which can be quite busy during certain times of the year, but I am able to work from home as needed, step out to go to a doctor’s appointment, etc. I’m also fortunate to have a boss that understands the need for flexibility. Most of the time, I love my job.

  5. Laurie,

    I simply love your angle.

    There are so many people who are not good at the people business. They don’t understand that you have to believe in people in order to be a good professional. You have to be able to successfully coach, sometimes you have to be the shrink, the doctor, the teacher, the mom, the dad, the friend. When you are in this business, you are in it for the people, then work with them! Reach out, even when you have to face the toughest decisions, and when you have to execute decisions that will impact lives, be a person, not a machine. That’s what will make practitioners good HR professionals.

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