HR Generalist Resume Examples, Skills, and Keywords

HR generalists are able to manage a wide variety of HR needs. Here’s how to elaborate on the skills needed for this position in your resume.


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HR Generalist Resume Examples

An HR generalist is a human resources professional that does a wide variety of jobs, typically working a little bit in all different areas. When applying for an HR generalist position, you need to be able to highlight the reasons that you’ll work well in all sorts of HR functions. Here’s what you need to know about writing a resume for this job search.


What to Highlight in an HR Generalist Resume

An HR generalist needs to have a wide range of skills, which can include benefits administration, worker’s compensation, talent acquisition, performance reviews, new hire orientation, processing leaves of absence, and doing exit interviews. That means it’s important to highlight the fact that not only do you have a wide variety of existing skills, but you’re also flexible and able to pick up new company policies easily.

The Structure of an HR Generalist Resume

Your resume structure will partially depend on the resume format you choose for your resume. The most common is the chronological format, which emphasizes experience, but the functional and combination formats can also be beneficial in some cases. Regardless of the format you choose, you’ll use the following sections, although they might be organized differently in your resume depending on your format.
Contact information
The resume header is where you will add your contact information, including your full name, phone number, and professional social media links, such as your LinkedIn profile. It goes at the top of your resume and is part of the resume design.
Resume summary or objective
The first actual section in a human resources generalist resume is the resume summary or resume objective. This is a 2-3 sentence paragraph at the very top that summarizes your certifications, your years of experience, and anything else you find important for a hiring manager to know. The summary will highlight your experience, while the objective, more frequently used in entry-level jobs, will state your goals and top skills.

HR management requires a wide variety of skills – try to match your skillset to what the job posting lists. Here are a few skills to consider:

  • Employee relations and retention
  • Knowledge of employment law (FMLA, ADA, labor relations)
  • Knowledge of Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)
  • Employee onboarding
  • General legal compliance
  • New employee orientation
  • Project management
  • Employee benefits and enrollment in benefit programs (healthcare, PTO)
  • Employee engagement
  • Communication 
  • Conflict resolution
  • Performance management
  • Human resource management systems (PeopleSoft, ADP)
  • Interpersonal skills

The exact skills you’ll need will vary from one HR department to another. The most important skill you can have is adaptability, so you can learn the HR policies of a specific department and incorporate them into your experience.

Work history
Next is your work experience section. This is where you will include any previous job titles you held that were related to human resources. A professional resume will typically include 10 years of experience at most. Include any HR professional experience, even experience that doesn’t specifically include the job title of Human Resources. You will want to include the company name and dates of employment in this section.
A human resources manager typically needs at least a bachelor’s degree, often in a field like business administration. Certain positions may require a master’s degree. In your education section, you’ll typically also list any organizations you belong to, like the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Do’s and Don’ts for an HR Generalist Resume

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind as you are writing your HR generalist resume:


  • Use the ResumeHelp resume builder to make it easier to create your resume. This helps you avoid issues with formatting and smaller elements like font selection.
  • Look at HR generalist resume examples before you write yours. These resume samples help you learn what a hiring manager is looking for.
  • Feature all of your most important work experiences, but don’t list every responsibility you’ve ever had. You can save that for your LinkedIn.


  • Talk about specific initiatives you want to incorporate into the company’s system. This is much better suited for a cover letter, where you can talk about the ideas you have.
  • Include bar graphs and other excessive graphic design elements in your resume. This can make it more difficult for a resume to be scanned by an applicant tracking system (ATS), which is an automated system that screens resumes before a hiring manager does.
  • Include irrelevant work history. Being a business partner or a budgetary executive is impressive, but if you can’t connect it to your HR skills, you shouldn’t include it.

FAQ: HR Generalist Resume Examples

Q: Do I need to include a cover letter for an HR generalist application?

Yes. A cover letter allows you to ask for the interview, express more of who you are, and discuss your best qualifications. Check out the HR cover letter example at ResumeHelp to learn more about how you can craft your cover letter.

Q: Do I need experience to be an HR generalist?

Almost always. An HR generalist is not an entry-level job. This means you need experience so you can show you know how to do the job. Remember, however, that relevant experience can include other HR jobs, volunteer work, and internships, so you might have experience even if you haven’t previously worked as an HR generalist.

Q: How do I change my HR generalist resume to apply to different jobs?

Resume keywords are an important part of changing up your resume so that you can apply to different jobs. When you use them, you’re able to project an image of yourself that’s exactly what the hiring manager is looking for. Read our article about how to use resume keywords in the link above so that you can effectively customize your resume.

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