How to Become a Human Resources Assistant


Career Path Guide

If you have an interest in helping an organization create a superior work force, while making great use of your organizational and communications skills, then you should consider a career as a human resources assistant; this field offers great pay for entry-level work, consistent working hours, and excellent opportunities for career advancement.


If this profession is one that might interest, then read on below; we’ll fill you in on what you’d be doing, how much you could make, and what you need to do to get into this field!



Education You’ll Need

Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have a certificate or diploma in human resources, or in a related field, such as business administration.


Success Tip: Some employers will hire you while you’re still a student. This is a great way to get your foot in the door with an organization and get professional experience before you’ve even graduated!





Required Experience

Some employers may give preference to candidates that have some work experience in an office environment (especially if it’s in an HR department). However since this is generally considered an entry-level position, having a diploma or certificate in HR should be enough to get you hired on.



Certification You Might Need

Professional certification in HR is rarely required to become an assistant. It is however, quite useful when looking to advance your career, and take on roles of higher responsibility and pay.


Success Tip: Check job postings for more advanced roles in HR to see what levels of certification they are looking for. That way you'll get a great idea of what you may need to advance your career.



Skills You’ll Need to Be Effective

In order to succeed in this line of work (and most likely to even get hired on in the first place) you’ll need to following skills, knowledge and competencies:


• Proficient with Microsoft Office software, such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint

• Knowledge of various HR processes, such as recruitment

• Excellent organizational and communication skills

• The ability to keep sensitive information confidential

• Professional and ethical behaviour



What You’d Be Doing: General Job Description

As a human resources assistant, you would be responsible for assisting human resources managers and coordinators with administrative and clerical functions. For example, a large part of your duties would involve compiling and keeping employee data, such as address, periodic earnings, absences, supervisor reports on performance, and other information. 



Typical Job Functions

Although the functions you would perform could vary from job to job, tasks you would be responsible for performing might include:


• Preparing recruitment advertisements for job vacancies

• Contacting various advertising media representatives for pricing

• Informing job applicants of their acceptance or rejection of employment

• Explaining company policies and procedures to job applicants

• Assisting with the planning and execution of new employee orientation

• Responding to employee inquiries regarding salary, benefits, vacation policy and other related information

• Arranging for in-house and external training seminars and activities

• Might act as the liaison between the organization and insurance or retirement benefit vendors

• Processing, verifying and maintaining documentation relating to personnel activities such as staffing, recruitment, training, grievances, performance evaluations, and classifications





How Much Would You Earn?

The salary level you could earn as a human resources assistant can vary, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The industry in which you work

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties


HR Assistant Salary - Canada: According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the "Administrative Assistants" occupational group earn a mean salary of $52,068 per year. In British Columbia, WorkBC reports that those it that same group earn an annual provincial median salary of $45,768. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (October 8, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of Americans working in the "Human Resources Assistants, Except Payroll and Timekeeping" occupational group is $40,700 per year (May, 2017 figures).



Career Advancement Possibilities

As an HR assistant, there will be many opportunities to move into other roles or to otherwise advance your career. Some forms of career advancement that will be open to you may include:


• Becoming an HR coordinator or specialist

• Moving into supervisory or management roles

• Eventually working for yourself as an HR consultant

• Eventually moving into executive management roles, such as Operations Manager

• Eventually becoming an owner or partner in your organization



Who Employs HR Assistants?

Human resources assistants can be employed by virtually any organization: small, medium and large organizations in the business, government and non-profit worlds. Some common employers include:


• Educational institutions

• Federal, provincial/state and municipal governments

• Financial institutions

• Health care institutions

• Large and medium sized businesses

• Manufacturing firms

• Hotels and other hospitality industry establishments



Human Resources Assistant Jobs

Our job board below has "Human Resources Assistant" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Work Environment

As an HR assistant, your work would be based out of an office, and you would likely work during normal, weekday working hours (although this isn't always the case). Depending on the scope of your job you may be required to work overtime, or to travel to attend job fairs, visit school campuses, and meet with applicants.



Similar Careers in Our Database

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or be in the same sector of industry, as "Human Resources Assistant":


• Administrative Assistant

• Benefits Officer

• Human Resources Coordinator

• Human Resources Manager

• Payroll Administrator

• Recruiter




Information for this career guide was compiled from the websites listed below. Some information has also been compiled from actual job postings from various organizations, which cannot be listed here due to the brief nature of their online availability.


Occupations in Alberta: “Administrative Assistant.” (March 31, 2019). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

Occupational Employment and Wages: “Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal, Medical, and Executive.” (March 29, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

Explore Careers:Administrative assistants.” (January 18, 2018). WorkBC website. Retrieved December 21, 2019.

Articles:9 Duties of a Human Resource Assistant.” Patricia Lotich (August 31, 2016) Thriving Small Business website. Retrieved December 21, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming a Human Resources Assistant

The “Applicable Majors” section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a human resources assistant. You can search for scholarships matched to those fields of study on the following pages:


Human Resources Scholarships

Management Scholarships

Political Science Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Applicable Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful for a career as a human resources assistant. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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