How do I Become a Personnel Director?

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  • Written By: Elva K.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2018
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Personnel directors are responsible for supervision of the various aspects of human resources within a business or organization. The work might entail staffing or finding employees, compensation of employees, administering benefit packages or retirement perks to employees, helping employees learn necessary skills, or improving relations between management and workers. To become a personnel director, you generally will need a college degree and several years of work experience.

It is helpful to get a college degree in a major such as human resources if you want to become a personnel director. If your college does not have a human resources undergraduate major, then majoring in business administration or psychology could be helpful. These particular majors enable you to acquire the skills you will need as a personnel director.

During college, doing a human resources internship could be useful. Internships supplement the learning that you do in the classroom. Also, internships give you real-world experience that will give you a sense of what human resources work is like. Having this type of experience is something that prospective employers like to see.

You will most likely seek your first human resources job during the last semester of college. Typically, the career services department at your school can help you to locate jobs that you can apply for. Also, you can do your own online job search to find a job.


After working for two years, you can begin to seek a graduate human resources program. Generally, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a human resources specialization is recommended for anyone who wants to become a personnel director. The MBA usually includes courses such as business management, accounting, and other courses that are specific to human resources management. This degree will give you the overall preparation you need to function as a personnel director.

In addition to doing the MBA, attaining human resources certification can be a good idea if you want to become a personnel director because having certification demonstrates to prospective employers that you have academic stamina but also have willingness to master human resources. An example of a certificate that you could get is the Professional Human Resources (PHR) certificate that is given by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Another certificate given by SHRM is the Senior Professional Human Resources (SPHR) certificate.

Having good communications skills, both speaking and in writing, can be an important asset if you want to become a personnel director. Being comfortable in interacting with people from diverse backgrounds is also helpful. In addition, being able to keep employment-related information confidential is absolutely necessary because it is the law.

If you are able to juggle many different tasks at once, if you are well organized, and if you handle pressure well, being a personnel director could be an ideal job for you. Also, if you choose to leave the profession, you can pursue a related career. For instance, you could become a industrial-organizational psychologist or a counselor who specializes in helping people find the best career fit for themselves.



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