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To remain competitive in the modern business world, you need to have qualifications that set you apart from others. Just having the requirements for barebones is no longer enough.
Instead, go beyond showing potential employers that you are the best candidate for the job and that you will have the greatest success in the job. A good way to do this is with a human resource certification.
Job managers prefer graduates with the background and basic knowledge that comes with an HR certification. As the competition for jobs in HR grows, a certification will help you stand out from the rest.
If you need more proof of why an HR certification is important, how to get one and some long-term strategies, read on for our complete guide to human resource certifications.
Why human resource certifications are so important
HR certifications are becoming increasingly important. A 2018 survey conducted by Payscale showed that over 34% of HR professionals have at least one HR credential.
So one of the reasons a certification is a smart move is to make yourself a competitive candidate for HR jobs and promotions. This is especially true when climbing the HR ladder. The higher you want to go in your HR career, the more important it becomes for you to have a certification.
The same Payscale survey found that 35.5% of HR executives are certified and 51.5% of HR vice presidents are certified. Only 13.2% of HR administrators have at least one credential, so certification is less important if this is where you start or aim as your next step. However, as you continue to grow in your career, you will find that the knowledge that comes with the certification and its credibility will be a significant benefit.
As mentioned above, certification is a way to give yourself a good entry into the competition. Some job descriptions say that having a certification is a “strong plus”, but they are often not a requirement. Certifications show a recruiter that continuing education in your industry is important to you and that you are likely to be a reliable long-term employee. It goes a long way when it comes to hiring.
No company wants to hire someone who stays for a few months and then moves on to another company. The cost of hiring and boarding new employees is high, and it makes more sense for the HR team to take more time to decide which candidate will be the best than it does to make a hasty hiring decision.
An HR certification is a quick way to hire professionals in a company to see you go beyond.
Moreover, according to The Balance Careers, professionals who have certifications are more likely to be promoted than those who do not. Its survey showed that 63% of HR employees with a certification were promoted, while only 34% of employees without certification were. This is because an HR certificate shows that you have the skills and knowledge to move forward in your career.
Finally, an HR certification can come in handy when it’s time for you to negotiate a higher salary. Whether you are starting a new job or want an increase in your current role, a certification will help you make this salary increase more likely because it gives you leverage.
Quick tips for improving human resource certifications today
Spend more time with software
HR certifications are a great way to expand your understanding of HR technology, including HR software. It is therefore a good idea that you get comfortable using HR software before diving into your certification.
There are various HR tools out there that you can choose from and what works best depends on your specific needs.
The HR tool that works best across the board is BambooHR. This management software is used and trusted by over 19,000 customers, including major companies such as Postmates, Grammarly and ZipRecruiter.
Why is this software so loved? There are a few different reasons.
First, it is simple and easy to use, which is always a bonus when it comes to software. You will not spend too much time getting acquainted with HR software like BambooHR. After that, it no longer becomes effective.
If you work with a team with different user permission levels, you will love the features offered by BambooHR. Employees have easy access to the information and features they need, without having to see and access what is above their grade.
Some of the key ways BambooHR helps HR teams simplify employee data and create reports, streamline hiring processes with good ATS, onboarding assistance, time tracking, PTO and payroll.
Bamboo HR offers two different packages for businesses, an Essentials package and an Advantage plan.
BambooHR does not list its prices publicly. To determine the price of your business and your needs, fill out the online form for a free quote.
Schedule the test early
When you are ready to take the exam, it is good to schedule the exam right away. You do not have to take the test right away, but you want to schedule it so you have the right time to study (which varies from person to person).
By waiting too long to schedule your test, you risk not getting the time you wanted or would have to go out of your way to take it somewhere else. By planning early, you have more control over your test times and locations and less stress to deal with on top of the actual test sampling.
Know how long you need to prepare and whether you work best in the morning, afternoon or evening, and plan accordingly.
Learn how the exam is structured
The HR certification exams have a different layout than other standardized tests you have probably taken in the past. So you need to take the time to learn the structure so that you feel comfortable with this specific test.
The company you choose to take your test with should provide you with information on what to expect at the exam so that it does not come as a complete surprise.
For example, one of the best certifications is through HRCI, and they give you the structure of the exams here. Typically, the exams include:
Traditional multiple choice with four answer options Multiple choice with two or more correct answers Fill in the form Drag and drop Scenarios
Most test companies also provide study materials or practice tests that you should definitely take advantage of during your study time.
Create a study plan
Doing well on this test requires study. This is not a test you can “wing it” and expect to do well. Since you are probably already busy in your current job, there is a high probability that you do not have an open schedule for studies.
Therefore, a study plan is critical. It helps ensure that you have time in your week to study and get study meetings driven by goals.
Set aside specific time blocks each week to have quiet study time. Use study guides, practice tests, and exam review materials to determine where to spend your study hours. While finding chunks of time to study can be challenging, it is imperative. If you do not study well or enough, you risk failing the test and having to pay more money and spend more time preparing to take it again.
Long-term strategies for human resource certifications
Focusing on the short-term tips for your human resource certification is important, but you will also want to look at the long-term strategies that will help you over time.
You want to get the most out of this certification, so consider what we share below to get the maximum benefits from it.
Plan your career goals
Take a look at where you stand in your career right now, where you will be in two years, then in five years and then in 10 years.
Things do not always go according to plan, but having an idea of where you want to be is crucial for you to set career goals.
If you are starting at the bottom of the HR ladder right now, you may not need to get an HR certification yet. But if you are ready to move up and make yourself a more competitive candidate for higher positions, it’s time to move on with your certification. And as your career progresses, consider what additional certifications will help you move on to the next step and have the knowledge and skills you need to succeed.
Understand the difference between the certifications
Two of the most popular HR certifications are PHR certification and SPHR certification.
Keep in mind that these are not the only two certifications offered by HRCI, an independent non-profit organization that is the leading credentialing and learning organization in the HR field. Other certifications they offer are Associate Professional in HR (aPHR), Associate Professional in HR – International (aPHRi), Professional in HR – International (PHRi), Senior Professional in HR – International (SPHRi) and Global Professional in HR (GPHR )).
Below I go into more detail about the two main certifications offered.
PHR (Professional in Human Resources)
The PHR certification shows that you have the technical knowledge of HR management, including US laws and regulations.
This certification is intended for those who have experience with HR jobs at a professional level and are responsible for focusing specifically on the HR department rather than the company as a whole.
Eligibility requirements for the PHR certification ask you to meet one of these conditions:
At least one year of experience in an HR position at professional level and a master’s degree or higher At least two years of experience and a bachelor’s degree or higher At least four years of experience and a high school or higher
This exam focuses on employee and labor relations, business management, talent planning and acquisition, learning and development and more. The exam is two hours long and contains 90 questions and 25 preliminary test questions. The application to take the exam costs $ 100 and the exam itself is $ 395.
SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources)
This certification is intended for those HR professionals who want to be HR managers. It shows that you understand strategies for HR as well as decision making, making you a good person to be involved in and have the responsibility to plan HR policy; you go beyond just implementing it.
Eligibility requirements for the SPHR certification ask you to meet one of these conditions:
At least four years’ experience in an HR position at professional level and a master’s degree or higher At least five years’ experience and a bachelor’s degree or higher At least seven years’ experience and a high school or higher
Although this exam covers many of the same overarching topics as PHR, it also focuses a great deal on management and strategy. The exam is two and a half hours long, with 115 scored questions plus 25 prior test questions. The application to take the exam costs $ 100 and the exam itself is $ 495.
Both certifications require 60 recertification credits every three years to maintain your active certification. For SPHR, 15 of these recertification credits must be in the field of corporate governance and strategy.
Once you get your HR certification, you will find that HR software becomes even more important in your job. There are some great opportunities for HR tools out there, but we have a few favorites that will help make your job easier.
See all our top picks for the best HR software.
You may also find that you do not have the time to do everything and want to outsource some of your HR tasks. There are outsourcing services out there that will help you get the job done. To help you choose the best one for you, check out our best article on HR outsourcing services and supporting information.
This article is written by today’s Daily Eggspert.
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