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Management Majors Toolkit

Welcome! This site helps students and alumni find a wide array of information about roles in Management, Human Resouces, and Entrepreneurship. If you are already majoring in Management, Human Resources, or Entrepreneurship, you can discover resources to h


Human Resources (HR) is an important department for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. In this department, professionals manage the concerns and needs that relate to the human capital of the organization, or the people who work for the business.

HR professionals are responsible for handling any people-related concerns and needs that arise within an organization. They often manage recruiting, hiring and firing, as well as onboarding new hires and managing the orientation process to get employees set up in their new roles. When problems arise between employees, Human Resources may become involved to assist in the resolution process. HR professionals must also maintain detailed employee records regarding any actions taken for legal purposes.

As an entry-level HR professional, you will need to find organizations that are open to giving you new experiences and allow you to shadow and learn. You will also need to be proactive in asking for exposure to new experiences. Some entry-level roles in HR are more clerical in nature, payroll, for example, and those roles can be a great way to break into an organization. However, you will want to be proactive and ask for exposure to a wide variety of new experiences to gain skills that you can leverage future roles.


Key Areas of Human Resources

Organizations need people to perform tasks and get work done. Even with the most sophisticated machines, humans are still needed. Because of this, one of the major tasks in HRM is staffing. Staffing involves the entire hiring process from posting a job to negotiating a salary package. Within the staffing function, there are four main steps:

  1. Development of a staffing plan. This plan allows HRM to see how many people they should hire based on revenue expectations.
  2. Development of policies to encourage multiculturalism at work. Multiculturalism in the workplace is becoming more and more important, as we have many more people from a variety of backgrounds in the workforce.
  3. Recruitment. Recruiting involves finding qualified individuals for open positions within the organization, as well as completing the necessary steps to screen them for hiring consideration. As part of the recruiting process, HR professionals may help create and posting job descriptions, searching for qualified people to apply for the open positions, screening candidates and conducting interviews. This responsibility plays a major role in developing the workforce of an organization.
  4. Selection. In this stage, people will be interviewed and selected, and a proper compensation package will be negotiated. This step is followed by training, retention, and motivation.


Employees receive compensation and benefits packages in exchange for the work they perform for an organization, and the human resources department often manages, oversees and approves those packages. An HR professional may help establish the compensation structure of a business and setting wage bands for specific roles and positions. HR may also examine whether the wages are competitive to ensure that the organization is paying employees fairly based on market standards.

Benefits packages may include health and dental insurance, life insurance, retirement plans and other benefits that make a company more competitive and appealing to top talent. HR professionals may negotiate group health coverage rates with various health insurance providers to get the best deal for their employees, coordinate retirement plan options and answer benefit questions from employees. HR may also handle the open enrollment process each year, which involves providing information about benefit options and enrolling and re-enrolling employees in benefits.


Payroll involves paying employees for the hours worked, and many human resources specialists can provide payroll administration services for a business. Modern software programs and resources have simplified payroll processing for organizations, which has allowed HR professionals without extensive payroll experience to be able to handle this task.


Employee relations refers to the relationships between the workforce and the leadership, also known as employer-employee relations. Human resources is especially important in this role in unionized work environments, as HR professionals assist in strengthening the relationships between managers and supervisors and the employees. Additional employee relations duties include responding to union organization plans and campaigns, negotiating agreements and interpreting any labor contract issues.


Employees may have personal needs and challenges that arise when working for an organization, and the human resources department may be able to provide resources and assistance. Many companies provide employee assistance programs as a benefit to their employees, which can be a resource for an employee who is struggling with personal challenges. If a medical problem arises during an employee's tenure, HR may provide information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the benefits available to the employee.


Training and development are critical functions of a successful human resources department. Employees need regular and ongoing training to transition into the organization and understand the requirements of their job, as well as to maintain compliance with any process changes or legal regulations. HR departments may also provide leadership training to managers and supervisors related to performance management and employee relations.

In addition to providing ongoing training, human resources departments can also provide employee development and educational opportunities. Professional development can help employees learn new skills and improve upon the skills they need to do their jobs more effectively. Additionally, supporting their personal development goals can increase employee satisfaction and encourage loyalty to the organization.

Some companies offer formalized development programs with courses available to employees who want to learn about specific topics and gain new skills. Organizations may also support employees in their educational endeavors by providing tuition assistance or reimbursement.


Safety is a major consideration in all organizations and ensuring workplace safety is a critical responsibility of human resources. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe working environment for all employees, so HR professionals will support this requirement by overseeing and conducting safety training, managing workplace injury logs and reporting and handling any worker's compensation needs that may arise.

Oftentimes new laws are created with the goal of setting federal or state standards to ensure worker safety. Unions and union contracts can also impact the requirements for worker safety in a workplace. It is up to the human resource manager to be aware of worker protection requirements and ensure the workplace is meeting both federal and union standards. Worker protection issues might include the following:

  • Chemical hazards
  • Heating and ventilation requirements
  • Use of “no fragrance” zones
  • Protection of private employee information


Workplace discipline occurs in response to employee rule-breaking or misbehavior at work. Human resources handles employee discipline and documents any actions taken in response to misbehavior. Examples of misbehavior that may warrant a disciplinary action include failing to perform the duties of the job properly, treating employees or clients poorly or failing to manage the proper schedule. An HR professional must typically follow a process when taking disciplinary action, such as issuing a verbal warning, followed by a written warning before suspending or terminating the employee.


HR is responsible for ensuring that the organization is in compliance with all applicable labor regulations and laws. Human resource people must be aware of all the laws that affect the workplace. An HRM professional might work with some of these laws:

  • Discrimination laws
  • Health-care requirements
  • Compensation requirements such as the minimum wage
  • Worker safety laws
  • Labor laws

The legal environment of HRM is always changing, so HRM must always be aware of changes taking place and then communicate those changes to the entire management organization.

Failing to comply can result in unsafe working conditions, complaints against the business and general dissatisfaction. Some of the main applicable regulations include those related to fair employment practices and proper pay practices. These laws may fall under the National Labor Relations Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.


Essential HR Skills

Human resources skills are the personal and professional skills that people in human resources must develop to be effective in their role. These skills include:

Trust and Confidentiality

Even entry-level positions in HR are exposed to private and sensitive employee information, so employers are looking for employees who can be trusted with confidential information. HR professionals must practice confidentiality, trustworthiness, and discretion.


These are the skills that define how you interact with others. They include active listening, written communication, verbal communication, non-verbal communication, and body language. HR professionals must communicate empathy and sensitivity when engaging with others across the organization.

Problem Solving in Ambiguous Situations

Courage and an ability to solve problems in ambiguous situations in an important HR skill. HR professionals need to be approachable and able to quickly build rapport with employees, treat problems with a sense of urgency and care, and make decisions that treat people equitably when no two situations are the same.


Leadership is an important quality to have in HR departments because it drives the effectiveness and innovation of this critical department. In Human Resources, strong leaders help employees streamline processes in ways that make them more effective. HR leaders often emphasize the use of technology to automate menial processes.


Although often small departments relative to the size of an organization, HR professionals need to build relationships across the organization. HR professionals must be trusted advisors who can influence leaders and managers from all levels of the company, from the CEO to a new line manager.

Business Acumen

Since HR professionals work as business partners with all areas of the business, HR professionals must have strong business acumen. They need to have a working knowledge of the organization's culture, strategy, and core business model.

Technically Inclined

Because the use of artificial intelligence and automation is important in Human Resources to do things like automate payroll tasks or provide internal customer service between the HR department and employees, it’s critical that HR professionals be good at using technology. These skills range from using Excel spreadsheets and office equipment to managing HRIS platforms that help make processes more efficient.

Project Management

Project management is important in many aspects of HR including onboarding, creating employee programs, implementing programs and more. Having a background in project management that includes specialized training and skills is an asset in the industry.


HR employees are often regarded as collaborators who foster a sentiment of teamwork throughout their organizations. For this reason, it’s important that HR professionals have strategies to bring people together, identify issues and mediate so teams are successful.


What I Look for in HR Professionals

by Jason Glass

Lecturer, Tippie College of Business and HR Consultant


I’ve had the pleasure to participate in mock interviews over the last few years with both high school and college students. In the process I’ve met several who are interested in a career in human resources. They’ve asked me what it I look for in hiring HR professionals. Over the past couple years, I’ve come up with some critical things that I look for. Whether you’re hiring an HR professional or looking for some criteria to evaluate your current staff, here they are as a reference:

  • Business Acumen- First and foremost, you must think of HR as a business function equal to finance, marketing, sales, etc. It’s a critical area that permeates all phases of business. After all, what group, function or business process doesn’t depend on people? I’ve always thought of myself as a business person first who specializes in people issues. I expect the same of those on my team. The only way to serve the business is to know the business. Understand the financials of your organization and how they’re calculated. Only then can you frame HR solutions in financial terms and measure success the way the business does. Know the key drivers of your business. Only then can you suggest ideas that address those areas. Study the total value stream of the product or service your company provides its customers. Only then will you know the critical part people play in their delivery. I’ve told business leaders who I support that my ultimate goal is to understand their business well enough that they’d be comfortable leaving me in charge of it in their absence. All this also helps build credibility with the leaders you support. You’re with them and understand their challenges. You not only can provide better counsel and solutions, they’re more likely to be accepted. 
  • Partnership Approach- Past are the days of the Personnel Department that primarily handles benefits forms and payroll processing. The modern Human Resources function is a business partner (a job title being used more often) that is a participating member of the management team. One of my past columns argued that everyone works in HR since we all deal with people. That’s why it’s important for leaders and employees to work with HR to solve problems and improve the business. Business leader should reach out and include HR in all their business decisions. After all, every decision affects people. HR should ask to be included in staff meetings, business updates and learn the roles of the employees they support. HR brings expertise and best practices in maximizing people; leaders often deliver those practices. It’s a symbiotic relationship that everyone benefits from. As an HR professional you have to want to be part of the team and you should seek an organization that views you as such.
  • Employee Advocate- HR serves as the voice of the employee in an organization, especially among the leadership team. We are in a unique position to understand the broader organization and its culture. We often deal with a broader cross section of employees and are confided in, allowing us to see trends in morale. I often refer to HR as the conscience of the organization. Like any business problem, people issues have a root cause. We have the training and talent to find that root cause and diagnose the proper solution. We should also set and model good leadership and ethical behaviors. However, advocate does not mean attorney. We advocate for the employee while balancing the needs of the business. Every company claims that people are their number one asset. We are there to assure that the organization practices what they preach.
  • Action Orientation- A good HR professional cannot be passive. Because we are a support function, we need to get things done through influence. We have to show our competence through business results and getting things done. This can’t be done from the sidelines. HR cannot just be a resource on call, waiting for some problem to erupt so we can swoop in clean it up. Being involved with the business (as mentioned earlier) helps to catch these issues before they happen. If the only time employees see you is when there’s some messy issue, then we’ll get the reputation we deserve. I don’t like the term soft skills when it comes to dealing with people. As anyone who has led a team will tell you, it’s most definitely hard. Only by being ready to tackle things head on can you deal with things effectively. A good HR professional has to do this while remaining calm and diplomatic in the face of what can be personal and sensitive issues. It’s a tough balance that’s not for the faint of heart.

Whether you’re a current HR professional, considering it as a career, or just want to understand your colleagues better, use these principals as a guide. I hope they give you a better appreciation of what a career in Human Resources entails and whether you may be a fit.


Glass, J. (n.d.). What I Look For in HR Professionals. The Edge.

The Gazette Monthly Business Magazine



Careers in Human Resources

According to data from the Pomerantz Career Center, HR majors graduating in 2020-2021 took full-time jobs with the following titles:

  • Assistant HR Manager
  • HR Assistant
  • HR Representative
  • HR Coordinator
  • HR Specialist
  • Benefits, Payroll & Systems Specialist
  • Billing Specialist
  • Compensation Analyst
  • Recruiter
  • Commercial Recruiter
  • Talent Acquisition Specialist

Most HR majors graduating in 2020-2021 were employed as Recruiters, both in-house and in recruiting firms.


Management Outcomes 20-21 Data File, Pomerantz Career Center

An HR Generalist, or Human Resources Generalist, is responsible for completing a variety of tasks to support the daily operations of the HR department. Their duties include comparing HR laws to current policies and procedures, drafting templates for HR documents and working with other members of the department to oversee the hiring and onboarding process for company employees.

What does an HR Generalist do?

HR Generalists typically work for corporations across industries within the HR department. They work closely with HR personnel to ensure that they maintain organized employee files and HR records. Their job is to review employee feedback, strategize about HR programs to benefit workplace culture and create job posts for department heads based on their hiring needs. 

They may also be responsible for meeting with employees and their Managers to discuss recent workplace incidents and determine a plan of action going forward.

HR Generalist duties and responsibilities

An HR Generalist is responsible for creating, updating and applying all HR policies and company guidelines and making sure they adhere to standards and laws initiated by authorities. Some of their typical duties include:

  • Creating a recruitment plan and calendar according to operation and sales projections
  • Generating official internal documents such as offer letters, appointment letters, salary slips and warning letters
  • Creating onboarding plans and educating newly hired employees on HR policies, internal procedures and regulations
  • Maintaining physical and digital files for employees and their documents, benefits and attendance records
  • Creating employee engagement plans, getting necessary budget approval and initiating activities
  • Collaborating with outside vendors, upper management and employees to maintain CSR standards conscripted by authorities
  • Evaluating employee performance and appraising their pay scale accordingly
  • Taking appropriate disciplinary action against employees who violate rules and regulations and addressing employee grievances

HR Generalist skills and qualifications

In order to effectively manage a company’s employees, HR Generalists should have certain hard and soft skills, including:

  • Knowledge of administrative tasks and responsibilities
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Advanced computer skills, including data entry, data processing, communication tools and payroll and human resources software
  • Problem-solving skills and resourceful thinking
  • Leadership and coaching skills
  • Strong empathy and interpersonal skills
  • Detail-oriented with excellent organizational skills
  • Attention to detail and analytically driven

HR Generalist salary expectations

An HR Generalist makes an average of $57,644 per year in the United States. This salary may vary depending on a candidate’s education, experience, industry and geographical location.

HR Generalist education and training requirements

The educational requirements for an HR Generalist depend on your industry and the size of your organization, but candidates should typically have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business or another related field. However, some employers may prefer candidates to have a master’s degree in human resources management. Some organizations might also look for applicants with advanced certification, such as Professional (PHR), Senior Professional (SPHR) or Global Professional (GPHR) in Human Resources.

HR Generalist experience requirements

An HR Generalist must be experienced in conducting successful recruitment procedures, and they should know how to take care of all duties related to employee relations. Most employers look for candidates with previous experience in other HR positions, such as HR Assistant, to ensure they’re familiar with typical human resources procedures. However, some may choose to hire applicants with other related experience as well, such as those who worked in customer service.

HR Generalist: Learn More


A Benefits Coordinator, or Employee Benefits Coordinator, is responsible for helping employees enroll in company benefit programs. Their duties include meeting with employees to discuss their benefit options, keeping detailed records of employee insurance information and overseeing the enrollment process.

What does a Benefits Coordinator do?

Benefits Coordinators typically work in the human resources department within a corporation to make sure that all employees understand their benefits and how to use them. They work closely with other HR personnel and upper management to oversee employee enrollment. Their job is to maintain communication with insurance providers, monitor payroll deductions and revise benefit packages in compliance with employee needs. They may also give presentations and write information guides to aid employee understanding of new benefits packages and changes to the enrollment process.

Benefits Coordinator skills and qualifications

A Benefits Coordinator should be completely knowledgeable about any and all procedures regarding to the selection and allocation of benefits. Here are the essential skills and qualifications you may consider adding to your Benefits Coordinator job description:

  • Strong organizational skills
  • Familiarity with benefits and payroll software
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Communication skills
  • A keen eye for detail
  • Advanced knowledge of standard computer and office software 

Benefits Coordinator duties and responsibilities

Benefits Coordinators are primarily responsible for informing employees about the nature of benefits plans and any changes that happen to the structure of those benefits. They should be able to answer questions and concerns that employees have about their benefits. In addition to that, here are some of the general duties and responsibilities of a Benefits Coordinator:

  • Processing enrollments quickly and accurately 
  • Reviewing monthly payroll deductions
  • Resolving employee issues with benefits administrators and insurance providers
  • Assisting the employees in enrolling in dental, vision and medical insurance plans
  • Providing new hires with explanations of benefits and instructing them on enrollment and fulfillment procedures
  • Providing ongoing support for the HR and benefits teams
  • Consulting with employees about eligibility and other pertinent issues
  • Ensuring that the firm’s benefits policy is compliant with the set laws and regulations

Benefits Coordinator salary expectations 

A Benefits Coordinator earns an average of $52,753 per year. This is a salary estimate based on the information gathered from 889 employees and users of Indeed who posted their salaries anonymously. Depending on the minimum wage in your region and the qualification and experience level of the new hire, you may choose to adjust this salary. A Benefits Coordinator's typical tenure is one to three years.

Benefits Coordinator education and training requirements

To qualify for the position of a Benefits Coordinator, a candidate needs a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED). A bachelor's degree in human resources, business or related fields is preferred. Upon being hired, the new hire might have to undergo on-the-job training focusing on industrial and organizational psychology, business administration and communication, among others.

Benefits Coordinator experience requirements

A candidate for the post of Benefits Coordinator should have at least 3 years of experience in human resources. They also need to demonstrate familiarity with benefits and payroll software systems. Some preferred certifications include Retirement Plan Associate (RPA), Group Benefits Associate (GBA) and Certified Employee Benefits Specialist (CEBS) through the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP).

Benefits Coordinator: Learn More


A Recruiter, or HR Sourcing Specialist, is in charge of seeking out quality candidates, confirming their qualifications and placing them in open roles at a company. Their duties include researching job seekers and inviting them to apply to a job, screening candidates through phone interviews and filling out hiring paperwork.

What does a Recruiter do?

Recruiters work in the human resources department of a company or at third-party recruiting businesses that help connect qualified candidates with competitive employers. The role of a Recruiter is to act as a liaison between an employer and applicants for a job, especially for roles that are hard to fill and require a list of special qualifications. Recruiters use databases, advertising and their professional network to find people who could be a good match for a job, researching each candidate then talking to them about the opportunity.

Internally, Recruiters process applications, schedule interviews and manage new hire paperwork. They help onboard the candidate to their new employer’s team, assisting with all parts of their transition. Recruiters also help refine job descriptions to make sure they accurately reflect the needs of the company.

Recruiter skills and qualifications

A successful Recruiter will have a set of prerequisite skills to qualify them for the job. Duties always include effective communication and organization skills. Industry experience will prepare the recruiter for career advancement. Other attributes may include:

  • Positive attitude: People on both sides of a job-seeking relationship may encounter challenges and frustrations as they search for employment. A successful recruiter will be encouraging, positive and realistic about potential matches.
  • Good research techniques: A recruiter spends a significant portion of their time finding resumes from professional job search sites, networking and personal interaction. They accumulate a pool of candidates and keep that information organized.
  • Good interviewing skills: Whether the Recruiter speaks with a candidate or hiring manager in person, on the phone or electronically, it is important to know how to efficiently ask questions that help them understand the applicant’s skills or the company’s job requirements. 
  • Advocacy: The Recruiter will represent the applicant until it is time for an interview. They should accurately represent the candidate’s skills and qualifications and sell those criteria to the hiring manager.

Recruiter duties and responsibilities

The kind of company or agency the Recruiter works for will dictate their specific responsibilities. All Recruiters need to have strong people skills and the ability to synthesize information quickly and efficiently. They should foster good relationships with recruits and company staffing agents and be able to follow through on a project. Different types of Recruiter responsibilities may include the following:

  • Staffing or Temp Agency: These agencies have a large talent pool who may have a more general skill set. The Recruiter knows who is available for immediate work to fill either temporary positions or jobs that may transition to full-time. 
  • Contingency Recruiter: A Contingency Recruiter gets paid only when a candidate is hired by a company. They will get to know the clients’ needs and wants in detail, and develop a good relationship with the hiring managers. For the candidates, they may provide career guidance and resume advice.
  • Retained Search Firm Recruiter: This kind of agency typically specializes in matching executive-level talent with companies who need new leadership. Placing from the more specialized pool of candidates comes at a higher cost to the company.
  • Internal Recruiter: Some companies employ a salaried internal Recruiter who can use current employee networks to find talent for open positions. They review resumes and arrange interviews while acting as a support system for before and after hiring.

Recruiter salary expectations

A Recruiter makes an average of $56,429 per year. Salary may depend on level of education, experience and geographical location.

Recruiter education and training requirements

Being hired as a Recruiter typically requires a bachelor’s degree in human resources or a related field such as business administration. Without a bachelor’s degree, years of on-the-job experience may suffice. Some employers may require professional certifications or periodic training for advances in the field. Professional organizations that provide certificates typically require some kind of education followed by a test.

Recruiter experience requirements

Experience in customer-service-related fields can be valuable training. Professions that focus on interpersonal skills, deft organization skills and proficient communication can prepare someone well for a career as a recruiter. These kinds of careers can also provide networking opportunities that can provide recruiting mentors.

Recruiter: Learn More



Training and Development Specialists help create, plan, and run training programs for businesses and organizations. To do this, they must first assess the needs of an organization. They then develop custom training programs that may take place online, in classrooms, or in training facilities.

Training and Development Specialists organize or run training sessions using lectures, team exercises and other formats. Training also may be in the form of a video, a self-guided instructional manual, or an online application. Training may be collaborative, allowing employees to connect informally with colleagues, experts, and mentors.

What does a Training and Development Specialist do?

Training and Development Specialists plan and administer programs that train employees and improve their skills and knowledge.

Training and Development Specialist duties and responsibilities

Training and Development Specialists typically do the following:

  • Assess training needs through surveys, interviews with employees, or consultations with managers or instructors
  • Design and create training manuals, online learning modules, and course materials
  • Review training materials from multiple sources and choose appropriate materials
  • Deliver training to employees using a variety of instructional techniques
  • Assist in evaluating training programs
  • Perform administrative tasks such as monitoring costs, scheduling classes, setting up systems and equipment, and coordinating enrollment

Training and Development Specialist skills and qualifications

In order to effectively train a company’s employees, Training and Development Specialists should have certain hard and soft skills, including:

  • Analytical skills. Training and Development Specialists must evaluate training programs, methods, and materials and choose those that best fit each situation.
  • Collaboration skills. Specialists need strong interpersonal skills because delivering training programs requires coordinating with instructors, subject-matter experts, and trainees. Specialists accomplish much of their work through teams.
  • Communication skills. Training and Development Specialists must convey information clearly and facilitate learning to diverse audiences.
  • Creativity. Specialists should be resourceful when developing training materials. They may need to think of and implement new approaches when considering training methods.
  • Instructional skills. Training and Development Specialists deliver employee training programs. They must have strong training skills to meet the learning needs of a particular group.

Training and Development Specialist salary expectations

A Training and Development Specialist makes an average of $61,570 per year in the United States. This salary may vary depending on a candidate's education, experience, industry and geographical location.

Training and Development Specialist education and training requirements

Training and Development Specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree, often in a business field such as organizational development or human resources. Other fields of degree include education, social science, psychology, and communications.

Candidates who do not have a bachelor's degree sometimes qualify for jobs if they have experience developing and delivering training. The experience may need to be extensive and specific to the employer's industry.


Training and Development Specialist: Learn More


Human Resources Professional Organizations

Joining professional human resource organizations can provide you with resources, information, networking opportunities, and professional development. Consider the following organizations: