Working as a Senior Human Resources Specialist

What Does a Senior Human Resources 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.

How To Become a Senior Human Resources 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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Average Salary$65,268
Job Growth Rate5%

Senior Human Resources Specialist Jobs

Senior Human Resources Specialist Career Paths

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Average Salary for a Senior Human Resources Specialist

Senior Human Resources Specialists in America make an average salary of $65,268 per year or $31 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $89,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $47,000 per year.
Average Salary
$65,268

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Senior Human Resource Specialist
Senior Human Resource Specialist
Idaho Division of Human Resources
Idaho Division of Human Resources
07/18/2020
07/18/2020
$55,30607/18/2020
$55,306
Human Resources Specialist (Senior Regional Human Resource Specialist)
Human Resources Specialist (Senior Regional Human Resource Specialist)
Justice, Bureau of Prisons/Federal Prison System
Justice, Bureau of Prisons/Federal Prison System
05/21/2020
05/21/2020
$109,08805/21/2020
$109,088
Human Resource Specialist, Senior
Human Resource Specialist, Senior
Idaho Division of Human Resources
Idaho Division of Human Resources
05/14/2020
05/14/2020
$59,10405/14/2020
$59,104
Human Resources Specialist (Senior Human Resources Specialist)
Human Resources Specialist (Senior Human Resources Specialist)
Justice, Bureau of Prisons/Federal Prison System
Justice, Bureau of Prisons/Federal Prison System
04/21/2020
04/21/2020
$108,17004/21/2020
$108,170
Human Resources Specialist, Senior
Human Resources Specialist, Senior
Idaho Division of Human Resources
Idaho Division of Human Resources
03/05/2020
03/05/2020
$55,22203/05/2020
$55,222
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Senior Human Resources Specialist Demographics

Gender

Female

68.9 %

Male

27.0 %

Unknown

4.1 %
Ethnicity

White

61.3 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.1 %

Black or African American

12.8 %
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.2 %

French

7.5 %

Arabic

6.0 %
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Senior Human Resources Specialist Education

Schools

Strayer University

12.2 %

Webster University

9.5 %

Columbia Southern University

7.5 %

University of Maryland - University College

6.1 %
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Majors

Business

34.9 %

Human Resources Management

28.6 %

Management

7.1 %

Psychology

5.4 %
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.8 %

Masters

34.8 %

Associate

7.5 %

Certificate

5.1 %
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Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Senior Human Resources Specialist

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Top Skills For a Senior Human Resources Specialist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 11.6% of senior human resources specialists listed procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and speaking skills are important as well.

Best States For a Senior Human Resources Specialist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a senior human resources specialist. The best states for people in this position are Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, and Virginia. Senior human resources specialists make the most in Massachusetts with an average salary of $79,234. Whereas in Maine and Maryland, they would average $77,848 and $76,804, respectively. While senior human resources specialists would only make an average of $76,104 in Virginia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. District of Columbia

Total Senior Human Resources Specialist Jobs:
212
Highest 10% Earn:
$140,000
Location Quotient:
1.6
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Massachusetts

Total Senior Human Resources Specialist Jobs:
641
Highest 10% Earn:
$123,000
Location Quotient:
1.14
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Vermont

Total Senior Human Resources Specialist Jobs:
40
Highest 10% Earn:
$119,000
Location Quotient:
0.99
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Senior Human Resources Specialist Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a senior human resources specialist. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless senior human resources 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 Write a Senior Human Resources Specialist Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless senior human resources 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.

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Top Senior Human Resources Specialist Employers

1. US Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$53,674
Senior Human Resources Specialists Hired: 
124+
2. Target
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$42,036
Senior Human Resources Specialists Hired: 
28+
3. Fluor
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$64,632
Senior Human Resources Specialists Hired: 
24+
4. H&R Block
4.6
Avg. Salary: 
$40,367
Senior Human Resources Specialists Hired: 
19+
5. Lockheed Martin
4.9
Avg. Salary: 
$78,520
Senior Human Resources Specialists Hired: 
18+
6. TriZetto Healthcare Products
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$78,774
Senior Human Resources Specialists Hired: 
14+

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Recently Added Senior Human Resources Specialist Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020