Skip to content
Log in
Discovering your career

Top 10 human resources jobs and who’s hiring

Want to get a job in HR? This complete guide covers the top 10 entry-level human resources jobs, best degrees for the industry, and who’s hiring.

Human resources is something no business can go without. The HR team handles staffing, management, and pay and benefits, ensuring a company has employees and that they’re taken care of.

A single HR team can consist of different experts, from recruiters to payroll specialists. What’s that mean for you as a job applicant? You’ve got a lot of roles to explore.

In this guide, we talk about some popular entry-level HR job titles and what you need to break into the field. We also give you a list of companies hiring in HR on Handshake right now.

Should you pursue a career in human resources?

The one nonnegotiable you’ll need to work in any HR job category? Good people skills. Beyond great interpersonal abilities, a few other traits can help you thrive in this sector:

  • Communication skills. HR pros act as a liaison between employees and employers and need to have stellar communication skills. For example, a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) specialist may host sensitivity training.
  • Problem-solving and negotiation abilities. HR experts are also responsible for smoothing over issues internally. For example, an employee relations or human resources coordinator may mediate misunderstandings between employees, while a recruiter may negotiate salaries.
  • Multitasking skills. HR pros must support an organization’s entire staff, which can mean managing diverse tasks. For example, a talent acquisition specialist may look for new talent and handle hiring and onboarding.
  • IT proficiency. Most HR roles require some kind of IT knowledge. For instance, payroll specialists must use payroll software, while human resources generalists may find themselves implementing initiatives like corporate intranets to improve employee communication.

Companies always need employees, so they’ll always need human resources professionals to hire and manage those employees. That means HR pros will be in steady demand in the years to come.

The demand for HR specialists is expected to grow at an above-average rate of 8% from 2021 to 2031.

Best degrees to help you land human resources jobs

Ready to jump-start your human resources career? A solid education is the first step. These degrees can help you get your foot in the door:

  • Human resources. A human resources degree can teach hard skills like HR software and soft skills like communication. This can prove useful for roles from HR generalist to talent acquisitions expert.
  • Business. Business degrees focusing on communications or HR can help pave the path to a role like an HR administrator or a benefits specialist.
  • Social sciences. Social sciences graduates can gain communication, presentation, and language skills that can prove useful in HR. With some work experience, a social sciences degree can open doors in HR.

Industries where you can build a human resources career

You can find human resources roles in whatever industry you want. A business can’t run without its employees — and it won’t have any employees if it doesn’t have an HR team!

Check out these examples for proof:

  • Government agencies. The U.S. government is a major employer, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You could work as a human resources coordinator or generalist for any of these agencies.
  • Consulting firms. Consulting firms like Deloitte and KPMG rely on top talent. You might work as an in-house recruiter for one of these big names, sourcing talent from top colleges and onboarding them to the company.
  • Health care. Health care relies on a variety of professionals, from nurses to doctors, physical therapists, pharmacists, and more. Who’s handling all that hiring? HR pros, of course. You could work in health care HR, handling anything from payroll to talent acquisition.
  • Education. The education sector likewise needs all kinds of employees, from admin staff to professors. For example, you might work in higher ed as a human resources coordinator or help bring more diversity to college campuses with a job as a DEI specialist.
  • Technology. The tech field is diverse, with jobs for software engineers, IT specialists, cybersecurity experts, and more. To oversee these diverse teams, tech companies need recruiters, benefits specialists, and human resources administrators.

Which industry is calling you? Find the job type for you below and read on for a list of companies hiring on Handshake.

Who's hiring in human resources on Handshake?

Top 10 entry-level jobs in human resources

There’s no shortage of entry-level roles in human resources, including internships, part-time gigs, and full-time roles. Here are some options to consider as you start your job search.

1. Human resources coordinator

Human resources coordinators take care of admin tasks in an HR department. They may organize employee records, support payroll, and help with recruitment, with the help of human resources assistants.

Median salary: $41,600 per year


  • Bachelor’s degree in human resources or similar


  • Excellent communication and people skills
  • Familiarity with employment law and payroll practices
  • Computer literate

2. Recruiter

Recruiters are responsible for finding and recruiting candidates for specific roles within companies. These HR business partners must have in-depth knowledge of current job positions and the requirements needed to fulfill them.

Median salary: $56,060 per year


  • Bachelor’s in human resources


  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Good decision-making abilities
  • Knowledge of employment laws

3. Benefits specialist

These human resources specialists oversee corporate benefits programs, ensuring employees get the perks promised. They could manage everything from employee equity programs to holiday requests.

Median salary: $54,121 per year


  • Associate or bachelor’s degree in human resources
  • Certification in CEBS, CMS, or GBA preferable


  • Computer literate
  • Good people skills
  • Highly organized

4. Human resources administrator

HR administrators oversee the admin tasks of an HR team. They may prepare employee contracts, process employee needs like travel requests and sick leave, and act as a point of contact for employee questions.

Median salary: $52,482 per year


  • Associate or bachelor’s degree in human resources, business management, or similar


  • Strong ethics
  • A helpful mindset
  • Knowledge of labor relations laws

5. Payroll specialist

Payroll specialists ensure employees get paid. They enter time sheet data, collect employee information, and prepare paychecks. They also answer pay-related questions.

Median salary: $43,680 per year


  • High school diploma or equivalent (GED)


  • Good with numbers
  • Familiarity with payroll software
  • Knowledge of basic accounting principles

6. Employee relations specialist

Employee relations specialists manage labor relations within companies. They may counsel employees, mediate disputes, and conduct exit interviews.

Median salary: $67,089 per year


  • Associate or bachelor’s degree in human resources


  • Knowledge of labor law
  • Great interpersonal and communication skills
  • Problem-solving and mediation abilities

7. Human resources generalist

HR generalists, also known as human resources managers (HR managers), oversee overall human resources activities for a company. These senior managers may handle recruitment, onboarding, training, and performance management.

Median salary: $58,040 per year


  • Bachelor’s in human resources or similar


  • Computer literacy
  • Attention to detail and record-keeping skills
  • Good communication and diplomacy

8. Talent acquisition specialist

Talent acquisition specialists are recruiters who work in niche fields, such as technology or health care. They develop recruitment campaigns, network to find suitable candidates, and attend events like job fairs to find staff.

Median salary: $59,765 per year


  • Bachelor’s in human resources or similar


  • Proficiency in recruiting and applicant tracking systems (ATS)
  • Superior communication skills
  • Sound decision-making abilities

9. Onboarding specialist

Onboarding specialists help employees integrate into a new organization after they’re hired. They develop onboarding programs and ensure new hires start on the right foot.

Median salary: $54,440 per year


  • Associate or bachelor’s degree in human resources


  • Experience with HR software
  • Excellent communication and teamwork abilities
  • Knowledge of resume databases

10. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) specialist

DEI specialists help design company policies that safeguard diversity in the workplace and address potential harassment against individuals. They may also help update job descriptions to ensure inclusivity, ensuring no discriminatory language based on national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or similar.

Median salary: $86,477 per year


  • Associate or bachelor’s degree in human resources
  • Experience with DEI topics


  • Excellent communication skills
  • Sensitivity and sound judgment
  • Knowledge of labor and anti-discrimination laws

Get help finding the right human resources career for you with Handshake

A human resources career offers loads of versatility. If you’re a communications whiz, a role like DEI specialist might be the perfect fit. Into crunching numbers? Consider a role like a payroll specialist.

The point is: There’s something for everyone in HR. Find the right match on Handshake. You can scout current job alerts, create a profile, and connect with potential employers immediately.

Take the first step and create your profile to find jobs now.


Find the right jobs for you. Get hired.