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Working As a Personnel Specialist

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Getting Information
  • Staffing Organizational Units
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $53,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Personnel Specialist Do

Human resources specialists recruit, screen, interview, and place workers. They often handle tasks related to employee relations, compensation and benefits, and training.

Duties

Human resources specialists typically do the following:

  • Consult with employers to identify employment needs
  • Interview applicants about their experience, education, and skills
  • Contact references and perform background checks on job applicants
  • Inform applicants about job details, such as duties, benefits, and working conditions
  • Hire or refer qualified candidates for employers
  • Conduct or help with new employee orientation
  • Keep employment records and process paperwork

Human resources specialists are often trained in all human resources disciplines and perform tasks throughout all areas of the department. In addition to recruiting and placing workers, human resources specialists help guide employees through all human resources procedures and answer questions about policies. They sometimes administer benefits, process payroll, and handle any associated questions or problems, although many specialists may focus more on strategic planning and hiring instead of administrative duties. They also ensure that all human resources functions comply with federal, state, and local regulations. 

The following are examples of types of human resources specialists:

Human resources generalists handle all aspects of human resources work. They may have duties in all areas of human resources including recruitment, employee relations, compensation, benefits, training, as well as the administration of human resources policies, procedures, and programs. 

Placement specialists match employers with qualified jobseekers. They search for candidates who have the skills, education, and work experience needed for jobs, and they try to place those candidates with employers. They also may help set up interviews.

Recruitment specialists, sometimes known as personnel recruiters or head hunters,” find, screen, and interview applicants for job openings in an organization. They search for applicants by posting listings, attending job fairs, and visiting college campuses. They also may test applicants, contact references, and extend job offers.

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How To Become A Personnel Specialist

Human resources specialists must usually have a bachelor’s degree.

Education

Applicants seeking positions as a human resources specialist must usually have a bachelor’s degree in human resources, business, or a related field.

Coursework typically includes business, industrial relations, psychology, professional writing, human resource management, and accounting.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

Some positions, particularly human resources generalists, may require previous work experience. Candidates can gain experience as human resources assistants, in customer service positions, or in other related jobs.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Many professional associations that specialize in human resources offer courses intended to enhance the skills of their members, and some offer certification programs. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers the SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

Although certification is usually voluntary, some employers may prefer or require it. Human resources generalists, in particular, can benefit from certification because it shows knowledge and professional competence across all human resources areas. 

Advancement

Human resources specialists who possess a thorough knowledge of their organization, as well as an understanding of regulatory compliance needs, can advance to become human resources managers. Specialists can increase their chance of advancement by completing voluntary certification programs.

Important Qualities

Decisionmaking skills. Human resources specialists use decisionmaking skills when reviewing candidates’ qualifications or when working to resolve disputes.  

Detail oriented. Specialists must be detail oriented when evaluating applicants’ qualifications, performing background checks, maintaining records of an employee grievance, and ensuring that a workplace is in compliance with labor standards. 

Interpersonal skills. Specialists continually interact with new people and must be able to converse and connect with people from different backgrounds. 

Listening skills. Listening skills are essential for human resources specialists. When interviewing job applicants, for example, specialists must pay careful attention to candidates’ responses, understand the points they are making, and ask relevant followup questions. 

Speaking skills. All specialists need strong speaking skills to be effective at their job. They often give presentations and must be able to clearly convey information about their organizations and jobs within them.

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Personnel Specialist Career Paths

Personnel Specialist
Human Resources Manager
Director Of Human Resources
10 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager Director Of Human Resources
Human Resources Vice President
12 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager General Manager
Senior Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Human Resources Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager
Business Office Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager Branch Manager
Manager, Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Office Manager General Manager Director
Regional Director
9 Yearsyrs
Director Of Human Resources Assistant Vice President Director
Deputy Director
9 Yearsyrs
Director Of Human Resources Human Resources Vice President Senior Vice President
Human Resource Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Manager Project Manager
Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Project Manager Purchasing Manager
Contracts Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Account Manager Recruitment Manager
Human Resources Business Partner
10 Yearsyrs
Manager Property Manager
Compliance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager Senior Manager
Senior Human Resources Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Training Manager Human Resources Business Partner
Human Resources Lead
8 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Store Manager Property Manager
Office Manager Of Human Resources
6 Yearsyrs
Team Leader Account Manager Client Services Manager
Client Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Personnel Supervisor Personnel Manager
Employee Relations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Personnel Manager Administrative Manager Human Resources Administration Manager
Director, Human Resources And Administration
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Human Resources Specialist
Senior Human Resources Generalist
8 Yearsyrs
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Average Yearly Salary
$53,000
Show Salaries
$41,000
Min 10%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$53,000
Median 50%
$69,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Magellan Health
Highest Paying City
Washington, DC
Highest Paying State
Massachusetts
Avg Experience Level
5.0 years
How much does a Personnel Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Personnel Specialist in the United States is $53,451 per year or $26 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $41,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $69,000.

Real Personnel Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Personnel Specialist Coursekit, Inc. New York, NY Nov 21, 2011 $65,000
Personnel Specialist Datasys Consulting & Software, Inc. Princeton, NJ Oct 01, 2012 $60,000
Personnel Specialist Datalot Inc. New York, NY Jun 01, 2010 $57,000
Personnel Specialist Adstruc Inc. New York, NY Sep 01, 2011 $54,262
Personnel Specialist Michael H. Lester, JD, CPA Los Angeles, CA Oct 02, 2011 $52,000
Personnel Specialist University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN Sep 01, 2009 $52,000
Global Personnel Specialist Smartbridge, LLC Houston, TX Jan 15, 2013 $51,500
Global Personnel Specialist Smartbridge, LLC Houston, TX Feb 22, 2012 $50,000
Personnel Specialist Berkeley Thai House Berkeley, CA Sep 18, 2014 $45,914
Personnel Specialist Berkeley Thai House Berkeley, CA Sep 26, 2014 $45,914
Personnel Specialist Berkeley Thai House Berkeley, CA Sep 27, 2014 $45,914

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Top Skills for A Personnel Specialist

  1. Personnel Files
  2. Audit Pay
  3. Customer Service
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided support to management, maintained personnel files, recorded and tracked personnel duty station changes/transfers payroll
  • Audit payroll results Research and process payroll discrepancies.
  • Charged with performing customer service functions for military transfer activities, separations and retirements, compensation, and personnel records.
  • Monitored personnel pay and travel allowance related issues for over 4,000 military personnel including correcting and computing all financial entitlements.
  • Position required data entry, records maintenance, reclassification, reassignment and updating dependents status.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Personnel Specialists

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. West Virginia
  4. Virginia
  5. Maryland
  6. Alaska
  7. North Dakota
  8. New York
  9. Minnesota
  10. Idaho
  • (128 jobs)
  • (369 jobs)
  • (50 jobs)
  • (503 jobs)
  • (256 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (38 jobs)
  • (543 jobs)
  • (285 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)

Personnel Specialist Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 4,100 Personnel Specialist resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Personnel Specialist Resume

View Resume Examples

Personnel Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

49.5%

Male

40.3%

Unknown

10.2%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.6%

Black or African American

13.8%

Asian

6.5%

Unknown

3.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

65.2%

French

9.6%

German

6.1%

Tagalog

2.6%

Portuguese

1.7%

Carrier

1.7%

Korean

1.7%

Swahili

0.9%

Dutch

0.9%

Chinese

0.9%

Ukrainian

0.9%

Wolof

0.9%

Persian

0.9%

Japanese

0.9%

Dari

0.9%

Yiddish

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Russian

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Arabic

0.9%
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Personnel Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.9%

Community College of the Air Force

9.5%

Strayer University

7.4%

University of Maryland - University College

6.6%

Saint Leo University

6.2%

Ashford University

5.7%

Liberty University

5.5%

Kaplan University

4.7%

American University

3.8%

Capella University

3.4%

Tidewater Community College

3.3%

The Academy

2.8%

Webster University

2.8%

Columbia Southern University

2.6%

Troy University

2.6%

Old Dominion University

2.6%

Grand Canyon University

2.6%

National University

2.4%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.4%

Grantham University

2.4%
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Majors

Business

33.7%

Human Resources Management

13.5%

Criminal Justice

5.9%

Psychology

5.6%

Accounting

4.7%

Management

4.6%

Health Care Administration

4.5%

General Studies

3.2%

Public Administration

2.6%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Political Science

2.4%

Nursing

2.4%

Education

2.4%

Computer Information Systems

2.1%

Human Services

1.9%

Communication

1.8%

Legal Support Services

1.6%

Computer Science

1.6%

Information Technology

1.6%

Elementary Education

1.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

36.6%

Other

22.4%

Masters

19.5%

Associate

14.0%

Certificate

5.1%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

1.1%

License

0.1%
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Updated May 19, 2020