Why Should You Become an HR Coordinator? HR Career Paths

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Learn about how to become an HR coordinator to help advance your career and develop HR coordinator skills through education and practical experience.

[Featured image] A female, wearing a green top, is sitting at her desk by the window in the office, as she performs her duties as an hr coordinator.

Becoming a human resources (HR) coordinator can be a rewarding, fulfilling career choice. Because this isn’t an entry-level position, you’ll first need experience in the industry. The career path you might explore is ideal if you want to learn more about HR and develop a varied skill set often valued in senior jobs in HR departments.

HR coordinators are responsible for supporting the daily operations of a company’s HR department. In this role, you’ll typically be supervised by the HR manager, and perform clerical and administrative job duties pertaining to hiring, benefits, retirement plans, and employee relations. HR coordinators are usually the link between employees and HR managers. 

What is an HR coordinator?

HR coordinators are responsible for the administrative and clerical functions of HR departments. In this job, you would maintain personnel records, create and update employee handbooks, and develop employee orientation programs. You may also manage payroll functions, administer benefits plans, and coordinate employer-sponsored events. 

HR coordinators are frequently the first contact for existing staff and job applicants who have questions about open positions. Most HR coordinator roles are full-time during regular office hours, but you may occasionally work overtime to meet deadlines.

The role of a coordinator depends on the size and structure of the HR department. Some HR coordinators are assigned to a specific HR function (such as benefits, payroll, or recruitment). In other companies, coordinators will have an array of duties. As a general rule, the larger the company the more specialized the role.

Why are HR coordinators important?

In this role, you will likely be the person that knows most about the day-to-day operations of the HR department. You will be a crucial feedback conduit between staff and HR leadership teams.. The functions that you perform are important to companies, you will:

  • Be the go-to person for employee questions.

  • Help with new hires and make them feel welcome.

  • Help manage the benefits program for employees.

  • Be integral to resolving conflicts between employees peacefully.

  • Be in a position to improve employee morale and engagement.

  • Guide new employees and help those who want to develop career skills.

  • Work closely with management on any issues they need input on, including discussing policies and procedures with employees when necessary.

What does an HR coordinator do on a daily basis?

Human resources coordinators are responsible for performing HR-related duties professionally  and working closely with the HR manager. Here are some of the tasks you would do in an HR coordinator role:

  • Manage hard and digital copies of employee records.

  • Assist with the recruitment process of candidates.

  • Manage the administrative process for interviews, meetings, HR events, and campaigns.

  • Conduct training sessions and seminars.

  • Update records of new and existing staff.

  • Collaborate with the entire human resource team.

  • Assist with internal and external human resource inquiries from employees.

  • Assist with employee performance reviews.

  • Track the hiring status of candidates using the company’s human resource information system (HRIS).

  • Conduct background checks on new employees.

What competencies do you need to become an HR coordinator?

To be successful in this role you need to be an extremely detail-oriented and organized individual, and an excellent communicator. As an HR coordinator you need to have knowledge of:

  • Payroll

  • Benefits

  • Recruiting and hiring processes

  • Training and development

  • Employee relations

  • Performance management

  • Employment law

Required HR competencies also include being empathetic and understanding employee needs, while still ensuring your company abides by all federal and state laws. This can be a delicate balance at times, so you will need to be able to strike a balance between being compassionate yet professional.

Employers looking to fill an HR coordinator role will want to see the following skills on your resume:

  • Proficiency in Office Suite software

  • Knowledge of HR procedures, practices, and laws

  • Organizational skills

  • Attention to detail

  • Verbal and written communication skills

  • Time management skills

Read more: What Does HR Do?

Average salary of HR coordinators

According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a human resources coordinator in the US is $61,897 per year [1]. The top 10 percent earned more than $107,000 annually, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $36,000. The median salary was $42,858 per year, which is $20.29 per hour.

Similar roles 

Some companies may call HR coordinator jobs by different job titles. When looking at jobs, it’s important to focus on the job role, and the competencies you’ll learn. This will help you plot a career path where you build skills for more senior roles. You may see HR coordination roles called:

*All salary data in this article is sourced from Glassdoor as of July 2022

  • HR assistant: $62,452 per year

  • HR generalist: $71,909 per year

  • HR representative: $62,259 per year

  • Recruiting coordinator: $60,350 per year

  • Payroll coordinator: $69,590 per year

  • HR specialist: $70,895 per year

  • HR officer: $63,873 per year

How do I begin an HR career?

There are several ways to begin an HR career, but first you may want to consider the kind of work you'd like to do in the field. Do you want to be a generalist or a specialist? 

You don't have to choose at the beginning of your career, but it's best if you have an idea of where you're headed in HR, so that your early choices make sense for the path you want to take. As opportunities come along, you can steer yourself toward one area or another, and build a rounded skill set for the future.

Get relevant education.

Once you know what kind of work you want, get the required education. Most HR jobs require a bachelor's degree at the minimum. Some only require an associate degree in human resources management, which is uncommon. You’ll likely need to earn a higher degree eventually to move up the ladder. Some employers expect applicants to have a master's degree in human resources management to apply for senior roles.

If you need additional education, you could look into online programs that will let you study while working full-time. Some programs are exclusively online, while others are hybrid programs that allow learners to attend lectures on campus, and complete some coursework on their own time virtually.

Make use of your networks.

Networking is an effective strategy to get your foot in the door, not just for an entry-level job, but also for all types of positions within the HR industry. Here are some ideas to build relationships, gather information, and improve your exposure:

  • Talk with friends and family members who have worked in HR. 

  • Attend local networking events and meet other HR professionals. 

  • Join social media groups, or follow HR professionals on LinkedIn. 

  • Connect with a mentor who can provide career guidance and advice.

What certifications can improve your HR resume?

Human resources professionals often rise through the ranks as they gain experience. However, getting certifications can help you advance your career more quickly. Certifications can also make it easier for you to change specialization within human resources, or move into a new company, or industry. Here are some certifications to consider:

  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)

  • SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)

  • Human Resources Information Professional (HRIP)

  • Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)

  • Certified Payroll Professional (CPP)

Craft a resume that demonstrates your HR coordinator competencies. 

When you're considering a job or career change, it's important to understand how your experience and skills fit with what potential employers may be looking for. Identify transferable skills and how they fit with the HR coordinator role.

For example, if you've been working in customer service, ask yourself, “What skills did you develop that will apply to the HR coordinator job?” Customer service issues are often complex.  It involves interpersonal interactions and sometimes difficult situations. You may have had to come up with creative solutions to resolve problems or use negotiation skills. Perhaps you had a leadership role in developing processes that improved customer satisfaction. These are good examples of transferable skills that are valued in HR departments.

Hiring managers looking for HR talent will be interested in your accomplishments, so include them on your resume. Show what you did, explain how you did it, and what the outcome was. Focus on the positive impact you’ve been able to make, using specific numbers when possible. For example, "Reduced employee turnover from 15 percent to 8 percent by initiating an employee recognition program."

Read more: Transferable Skills: How to Use Them to Land Your Next Job

Typical Career Paths from HR Coordinator Jobs

If you want to advance in human resources, the next step is usually a senior HR coordinator position. You could also look to specialize in a specific HR function, move into consultancy, or go straight to an HR manager role. 

Senior HR coordinator: In this role, you would take on more responsibilities, such as supervising junior coordinators and handling more complex projects, such as coordinating benefits for new hires. You might also manage employee performance reviews for a larger group of employees. The average salary of a senior HR coordinator in the US is $78,996 per year.

HR specialist: You could specialize in payroll and benefits, recruitment, training, or any other HR function. If you’re climbing the ladder in an enterprise environment, specialization is a great way to gain exposure to higher levels in the management structure. An HR specialist makes $65,177 per year on average. 

HR consultant: There are many consulting firms that work with companies of all sizes to help them address their talent needs, or improve their people practices, such as employee engagement, training, or diversity and inclusion programs. This is a career step into a more consulting function. An HR consultant in the US earns an average of $102,434 per year. 

HR manager: In this position, you have full responsibility for everything related to human resources from hiring staff to ensuring retention and performance management. The role will vary depending on company size and industry. If you’re moving from a coordinator role you may want to take this role at a smaller company where you can gain experience before moving up the ranks. An HR manager makes an average salary of $94,591 a year in the US.

Earn a professional HR certificate online

If you want to apply for an HR coordinator role, completing online learning can be a great way to build your resume, and set yourself apart from other applicants. On Coursera, The Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers Specialization will give you the opportunity to learn about human resource management strategies, the legal context, and about motivating employees.

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Human Resource Management: HR for People Managers

Become a better manager of people. Develop strategies and skills for hiring, managing performance, and rewarding employees.

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Average time: 6 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Performance Management, interviewing, Human Resources (HR), Onboarding, managing people, Resource Management, Hr Strategy, Recruiting, Recruitment, Performance Appraisal, Organizational Culture, Incentive, Compensation And Benefits, Compensation Analysis

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Article sources

  1. Glassdoor, “How much does a human resources coordinator make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/human-resources-coordinator-salary-SRCH_KO0,27.htm.” Accessed March 29, 2022.

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