Human Resources/HR Career


QUESTION: Hi Shirley,


I want to break into Human Resources. I've been in teaching and hotels my entire life.
Is my resume suitable to get into the HR field?

TODD W. Johnson
142 E. Ankeny St
Phoenix, AZ 85325

Teacher / Assistant Teacher    
Des Moines Public Schools, Des Moines, IA 11/07 - Present   
Pinellas Park Middle School, St. Petersburg, FL
Pinellas County Schools, St. Petersburg, FL

Developed innovative curriculum to instruct students
Managed classroom of +40 students
Implemented high-level lesson plans
Launched a Wellness Committee to improve healthy lifestyles
Established positive relationships with students, parents and colleagues

Bellman / Concierge        

Bayfront Hilton Hotel, St. Petersburg, FL 9/94 - 11/07
Hotel Edgewater, Seattle, WA
Sunburst Hotel, Scottsdale, AZ
Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, AZ
Greeted guests in a friendly manner
Increased hotel productivity by providing team support
Streamlined guest service system
Proficient in OnQ, Microsoft Word, Office, XP, 7, Vista, Powerpoint, Outlook, Excel,
Handled as many as +200 customer contacts a day

Sales Professional       
Suntasia Marketing, St. Petersburg, FL 06/02 - 11/03

Increased territory sales from less than $1 million to $2.2 million within two years
Generated qualified sales leads and appointments for new business
Added new customers while maintaining premium service with existing account
Exceeded quotas by 12% in 2002 and 15% in 2003

Bachelor of Arts in Social Science
University of South Florida, 2005

Associates of Arts in Psychology
Daytona Beach Community College, 1993

ANSWER: I would suggest to you that you get some HR training, perhaps an HR certification. HR is a lot of work with wages, training, pensions, taxes, employee benefits, you need some training in this field. It is not just working with people all the time like a lot of people think. We have to know how to properly interview and hire the right person, how to  provide incentive to that person to stay, train that person in the needed training, and if that person does not work out terminate and rehire someone else. all without breaking any laws. Also we have to know about FMLA, FLSA, Cobra, EEOC, ADA, and other laws regarding payroll, the forms to fill out for them and how to stay compliant. Then you have the benefits, negotiating insurance rates, watch dogging the pension or 401K plan to make sure it is being administered correctly and in compliance with the law. You have to deal with Family Medical leave and Disability accommodation issues. Then you have workman's comp and all the issues that go with it and our favorite OSHA. You would have to know what to do in a downsizing, a restructuring, new and increased growth within a company. That is just normal HR, many HR employees also have to make sure payroll and payroll taxes are done correctly and that they are in compliance with all payroll rules and regulations, that the employees are paid correctly and on time.

If you have these experiences, capabilities and this knowledge it needs to be on your resume because I did not see anything that would tell me you could handle an HR position.

Without some HR training I would hire you for a sales position with your resume perhaps even a sales manager position, but I would not hire you for HR.

I am not saying you could never transition to HR , however, you will need some type of training to do so.


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Shirley,

That was valuable information. I still want to get into Human Resources.

Teaching a classroom is very stressful. We have 22-50 students in each class for 7 hours a day, IEP's, classroom discipline procedures to follow, unruly students, teacher-parent conference, coach a sport after-school, staff meetings, No Child Left Behind Act to comply with, grading papers, preparing lesson plans every night, classroom observations, complying with with state administrative regulations and Board of Education policies, school requirements, following a specified curriculum for their district, as well as for the state. We must keep up with federal and state mandatory testing mandates, and teach content with those goals, objectives and test requirements in mind.
Summers off are non-existent because of continuing education and license requirements. Holidays off I am usually setting up lesson plans.

If I can handle the heavy workload of teaching I can handle Human Resources. It takes hard work and perseverance.
Which classes do I have to take to get into HR? I am in Phoenix.


Hi Todd,

I have no doubts that you can handle Human Resources. It is not a question of working hard. I know how hard a teacher works my daughter teaches school and has for the last 5 years. I think she lives at the school.

Human Resources is not easy to enter into, but I have no doubt you can do it.

You need skills in order to do so. SHRM which is the Society of Human Resources certifies Human Resource Professionals with the PHR. This is the Professional in Human Resources certification. The problem is you have to work in Human Resources for 3 years with a degree or 5 years without a degree before you can sit for the exam. In order to get a job in Human Resources you must be able to demonstrate or otherwise convince a trained HR Director that you can do the job. In order to do this you need the skills and knowledge and some HR terminology. If you are asked a question in an interview about what is the eligibility requirement for FMLA you must be able to answer that question.

SHRM does teach a course for those wishing to sit for the exam. You can sign up and take the course even if you cannot take the exam. It is a little costly so you might wish to do some studying first to get down some of the basics before you attempt the SHRM class. It may still be beneficial to purchase a SHRM membership. You could sign up as an HR student or HR intern since you are studying.

The SHRM website is at

Another place to get some good information is the American Payroll Association. The agencies governing HR and Payroll are mostly the same agencies. HR works more closely with EEOC, workman's comp and Payroll works more closely with DOL and IRS. Both work with Department of Labor. The APA prints a book called the "Payroll Source" which is very comprehensive# It has questions for the CPP test which is Certified Payroll Professional. Many of those will help with your HR.

Their website is

I have both the CPP and the PHR. I started out in payroll went back to college and got my HR classes and took the PHR exam.

There are many sites on the internet that offer free HR webinars at no cost to you. Most of them are very good.
The Ascentis company offers free HR webinars free of charge# You have to register for the webinar that is it. They also have archived webinars that you can go to and learn from these are also at no charge.
Miller law Group is a legal firm that does free employment law webinars# They are very good. They also have some archived webinars you can listen to.
This is an HR social network. They have a free membership as well as a paid membership. With the free membership you can listen to 5 webinars and 2 virtual conferences a month. It doesn't cost anything for the free membership and the free webinars.
Tools to succeed is one of the places I go to get recertification credits. They offer 138 credits for a reasonable cost. Since you have to recertify the PHR every 3 years these credits are valuable as well as the free ones above. I use all these sites myself.

You might have to take an entry level HR job for a little bit to get some experience. Some companies offer paid internships, other's offer entry level in payroll or benefits.

Here is the website of your local Phoenix SHRM Society of Human Resources chapter If you could attend some meetings you would feel more comfortable with Human Resources. It is also a good place to look for an HR job, all the people in the meetings are HR.

Here is the website of your local Phoenix APA chapter of the American Payroll Association
The Phoenix SHRM chapter has a class in September and February for 10 weeks which will teach you the HR skills needed to pass the PHR exam. The cost is 425.00 I believe.

I hope I have given you some good resources. Good luck with your career change, I know you will make a smooth transition. Please feel free to ask future questions if you need to .


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Shirley McAllister, CPP, PHR


I can answer questions pertaining to Compensation, Health Benefits, Retirement Plans, Payroll,Payroll taxes, Employee selection, Employee Termination, Training, and Employee Incentives. I have offices in U.S., Canada, UK, South Africa,Australia and NZ. I am most confident in the U.S. and Canadian but have knowledge of the internationals. I do not have extensive knowledge of South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. I do have some Human Resource Knowledge in those areas. Please do not ask me homework questions, I do not have time to answer them.


I currently hold both the U.S. and Canadian Payroll Certifications. I currently hold the SHRM PHR certification. I have worked in the Human Resources area with high emphasis on compensation and benefits for 25 years at the same company. My company is an international company and I work with our International offices whenever there is a Human Resource area needing addressed. I volunteer on the American Payroll Association hotline and have for the last 10 years or so. I answer many questions each week for other payroll and HR professionals, mostly on taxes, benefits and compensation issues. I have been the trustee for our 401K plan for Retirement benefits and our 125 Cafeteria Plan for Health Insurance benefits.

SHRM, National APA, National DOLEA, State National Mentoring Network I.O.M.A. Advisory Board


Boise State University Human Resource Certificate Program PHR through SHRM CPP through American Payroll Association Payroll Administrator and Payroll Supervisor certification through Canadian Payroll Association Published writer of Payroll and Benefit articles in a payroll Publication 25 years experience in an International Company

Awards and Honors
Citation of Merit 8 years in a row for hotline service for A.P.A. Honor Award for child mentoring service through RSVP and National Mentoring A "Pat on the Back" award for outstanding leadership as a Youth Group Leader by "The Salvation Army." Runner up for Employee of the Year at my Company twice and Employee of the month 4 times.

Past/Present Clients
I used to answer questions on when they had a similar quesition and answer section. I volunteer for APA hotline I also belong to several HR forums when I often answer questions

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