O.K. in H.R.

I am a 31-year-old recent graduate with a bachelor’s in organizational studies, and I’m looking to get into human resources. I have noticed that most employers are looking for experience over education. What steps should I take to get into HR? And would it help to get a master’s degree?—J. Wells, Via the Internet

Human resources is a broad field with many specialized areas including employee placement, employee relations, recruitment, organizational development, compensation and benefits, and labor relations. Many jobs in these areas will require that you have some experience—even if it’s entry level. Your best opportunity if you have no experience is as an assistant. There you can learn on the job and possibly have your company pay for your master’s degree and/or any additional certification you may need.

For senior management positions, an advanced degree will be required, since some areas of HR require training in finance and law, as well as in strategic, analytical, and technical skills.

Fortunately, growth in the industry is expected to increase 18% to 26% through 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Predictions from the U.S. Census are even higher, at 21% to 35%, through 2012. Consider joining the National Association of African Americans in Human Resources, www.naaahr.org.

Mail your career development questions to Since You Asked, BLACK ENTERPRISE, 130 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10011 or send an e-mail to alleynes@blackenterprise.com.