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Matthew’s Place

Navigating the Corporate World as Young, LGTBQ+ Professionals

by Matt Casadona

It can be daunting to stare up at the corporate ladder and be unsure how to reach the first wrung. Human Resources can be a crucial support system to professionals at all stages of their career, but especially to LGBTQ+ employees navigating the corporate world and facing unique forms of discrimination. HR professionals facilitate important conversations to make sure employees feel confident and comfortable with the corporate culture, and are protected in their gender identity and sexual orientation. Human Resources can make the workforce stronger. Could it be the right role for you?

Many people begin their careers in HR while others end up in HR after changing careers. As you begin thinking about what your career will look like when you enter the workforce, you’ll need to determine whether a career in HR is right for you. Many professionals are working in HR, and you’ve likely already met a few if you’ve ever interviewed for a job before. However, you might not know that HR teams are crucial to most companies because they focus on the needs of the employees.

Of course, it can be difficult to understand what the HR department of any company does, but if you’re considering a career in HR, you’ll need to know everything that goes into the job. This article will help you decide whether or not you want to get into HR by teaching you what HR does, the different types of duties, and the factors that can influence your decision.

What is Human Resources?

Human resources handles everything related to employer and employee relations, including local and federal laws, recruiting, and employee management. Ultimately, human resources manages the entire employee lifecycle from recruiting and hiring to resignation and departure.

The overall goal of human resources is to attract employees to a business and keep them there for as long as possible. However, what HR departments do varies by company. Most HR specialists handle payroll, benefits, training, and hiring. However, the role of an HR team goes beyond the simple employment process. For example, if an employee is being harassed or bullied, HR handles all potential problems relating to the people within a company.

Simply put, human resources ensures a company is following all laws and regulations regarding employment, including diversity and discrimination in the workplace. However, their main priority is to keep the employees happy while ensuring the business is following best practices.

What to Expect Working in HR

As we’ve stated, most HR professionals have a primary objective of hiring new employees and ensuring a smooth onboarding process. These professionals must conduct interviews, educate employees, deal with benefits management, and write and enforce the employee handbook. Some people in HR will handle recruitment and exit interviews, while others will continue education plans, plan anti-discrimination presentations, and manage skills improvement activities for employees.

Overall, even though one HR professional’s day looks different from the next, they all must understand the company and its needs to help the employees do their best jobs.

Necessary Skills and Qualifications

While numerous colleges offer degrees in human resources, it’s not always necessary, depending on the business where you’re applying. Many businesses will hire people with diverse backgrounds for HR and teach them the necessary skills. That being said, you should have at least some of these common HR skills:

  • Employee retention and onboarding
  • Customer service
  • Performance management
  • Administrative skills
  • Orientation
  • Data Entry

Suppose you truly want to get into HR. In that case, you might consider getting a degree or a certificate to help you get a better understanding and develop the necessary skills to begin your career.

Is HR a Good Career?

When you’re choosing a career, you have so many choices to make. One way to find the right career for you is to consider whether something is a good field to go into. But, unfortunately, you can’t know anything for sure. For example, you might want to be an accountant only to find out that desk jobs are boring to you.

You can determine whether any career is in a good field based on the opportunities available to you. You can also research the career to learn about the job growth expected within the next decade. HR, in particular, is expected to increase over the next decade, which means more job opportunities. Areas where HR is expected growth include professional employer organizations.

The reason for this growth might be the fact that more companies realize that HR is a crucial department to have in any business because they take care of the needs and demands of the employees. In addition, HR professionals also ensure the employer is following the law correctly to help them prevent legal problems in the future.

Many companies are outsourcing HR, especially small businesses that don’t have the office space or need for a full HR department; instead, they can hire a company to recruit, hire, and manage their employees.

Of course, deciding if something is the right career for you should also depend on your earning potential. Compensation for HR professionals varies, but the annual median salary for an experienced professional is around $60,000 per year. Remember, when you’re just starting your first HR job, you’ll likely earn less than the median salary. Then, as you hone your skills and demonstrate your worth to the company, you can begin asking for raises.

Finding the Right Opportunities

Not all HR jobs have the same responsibilities; many professionals will be hired just to recruit and hire employees, while others focus on employee development and health and wellness. When you’re looking for your first HR job, you might not have many choices, depending on your degree and skill set. However, most people consider their first jobs stepping stones to a better career.

One entry-level HR job you might have on your way to becoming an HR manager is an assistant. While you might be making coffee, you’ll also be exposed to the world of HR so you can begin learning how the department functions and find which part of HR you enjoy the most. For example, you might enjoy putting together benefits packages and onboarding employees, but you don’t enjoy recruiting. In this case, you’d take the skills you learned at your first job and find a new job that allows you to focus on the areas of HR you enjoy the most.

Final Thoughts

It can be incredibly meaningful to work in HR and ensure all employees, no matter their gender identity or sexual orientation, feel confident and comfortable in the workplace. Is it right for you? Let us know down below in the comments.

About the Author:

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music.

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Matthew’s Place is by and for LGBTQ+ youth and a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation l #EraseHate

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Matthew's Place

Matthew's Place

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email patrick@matthewshepard.org

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