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Yewande Jinadu: What You Need to Know If You Want to Build a Career in Human Resources

I can tell you for free that HR is a rewarding career that allows you make an impact on the lives of people and also the business.



The huge misconception about HR is that it’s a hire and fire role. People want to build a career in HR so that they can be in control and bully other colleagues at work. Another cliché I hear from people is “I’m a people person” or “I have passion!” What does that even mean to you?

What’s HR all about?

HR personnel help the business (an organization) achieve its objectives through the people – who are the biggest asset of a business. Managing machines is not as difficult as managing people who can talk and revolt if you’re not doing things right. So ensure you’re moving into HR for the right reasons if you want to get the satisfaction you desire.

Some of the functions HR Professionals perform includes Recruitment/Selection and Onboarding, Learning and Development, Performance Management, Compensation and Benefit, Documentation, Exit Management, Organizational Development, and Change Management.

You can decide to be a Generalist or a Specialist in any of the HR Functions mentioned. A lot of people are generalists, but being a specialist is also good. Specialists are highly sought after and the pay is juicier because they are scarcer than Generalists.

Education/Certification Requirement 

A social science degree is preferred but it’s not compulsory.  If you’re about to choose a degree, I would advise you do a social science course e.g. Industrial Relations and Personnel Management. This is because it’s easier for people with the required educational background than people who do not have it. If you have gotten a degree (doesn’t matter the course) and you have made up your mind to build a career in HR, I would advise you register with CIPM and start writing the exams. As someone who didn’t have a background in HR (I studied Chemical Engineering), those exams really taught me about the basics of practicing HR in Nigeria.

Apart from learning, you also get to network with other HR personnel in your study centre. I would advise you to join a nearby chapter, go for meetings and be involved. Networking is one of the fastest ways to get a job in HR.

Other certifications you can take as time goes on: aPHRi, PHRi, SPHRi, GPHRi, SHRM or a Masters in HR/Industrial Relations.

Skills/Competencies Required 

I’ve highlighted a few skills an H.R Professional should have or build over time to be successful:


The ability to communicate effectively and be void of ambiguity. Oral and written communication is key! The ability to listen well is also key!


The ability to be self-organized and deploy it towards helping the business is important. HR Generalist does a lot of things. If you’re not organized, you will drop the ball.


This is where you have to put the ‘human’ in HR. This is very critical so you don’t become a tyrant.

Customer Service

This is the ability to create a good experience for your customers (the staff members you manage). They are your clients and you’re not a ‘god’.

Decision Making

You will need to make a lot of tough decisions. For instance, making recruitment decisions would involve a lot of thought process, so you have to develop that over time.

Project Management

HR Practitioners usually take up multiple projects in the organization which they have to see to completion.

I can tell you for free that HR is a rewarding career that allows you make an impact on the lives of people and also the business. The best part is seeing your efforts and initiatives drive business growth and reduce turnover, thereby saving cost and seeing the business succeed. The ability to balance your policies to suit management and staff will help you succeed. It is financially rewarding and it’s a good career path in which you can grow.

I wish you the best in your HR journey.

Feel free to send me feedback and follow on Twitter and Instagram @careerlifeng

Yewande Jinadu is the Founder of CareerLife ( and also a Strategic HR Business Partner of a leading tech firm. She's a certified HR Professional with over 5years as a Generalist and a Talent Acquisition Specialist. With CareerLife Foundation, she helps young professionals achieve measurable success in their career. With CareerLife Consulting Services, she partners with businesses to deliver value through its people by providing HR Services (Recruitment, Training etc). She can be reached via [email protected] or @careerlifeng on Twitter and Instagram


  1. Adaeze Okezie

    November 5, 2019 at 11:48 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips.

    I have been working in the education & development sector for the past 10 years and I am looking to do a career change.

    HR has been on my mind for a while now.

    Especially Learning & Development, Performance and Change Management.

    I have a degree in B.SC Eduaction and rounding up my MSc in Education Technology.

    What will be your advice on how I should go about this.

  2. Yewande Jinadu

    November 5, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Adaeze,

    I feel you can register with CIPM, start exams and start applying to HR Roles. Like I mentioned in the article, most HR Roles are shared through referrals so you have to intentional start building a network. I am sure there are a lot of transferable skills you can bring into an HR Career.

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