I’ve written many times about my entry into the HR profession. One of the things I’ve always prioritized is creating resources to help people get into HR and move toward their strengths and interests. Over the last year I have answered countless emails from people needing career advice and support (some of them answered publicly here on the blog).
It’s difficult to answer every request, so after talking with a few people I have decided to start a podcast series on We’re Only Human that features content focused on HR careers. I recently started crowdsourcing the topics for this series, and a number of people pointed out critical things that they think new or aspiring HR pros need to know.
For example, consider some of the comments below:
I don’t think enough gets said to HR career seekers about the knowledge, experience, and skills you get and the knowledge, experience, and skills you need at a small company vs a midsize company vs a large company. Titles often appear similar across postings but duties and skills required are vastly different based on company sizes. –Marquesa Ortega
I had a hard time applying what I learned in school to my HR career. It took a couple of years to close that gap. I found it difficult to know how and when to apply what I had learned since it’s not as obvious in the context of work. There isn’t a quiz at the end of the day. You have to always be considering when to use what you learned. That’s something I would have liked to learn about so maybe others would too. –Andrea Lato
There needs to be more awareness of the knowledge-skills gap for HR folks. I have hired dozens of HR practitioners right out of school who have acquired quite a bit of knowledge (some with 6 years that includes a Master’s in HR), but lack the skill set to be effective, without quite a bit of upskilling and training. In terms of skills, I am talking about: tech selection and procurement, writing a business case, tech implementation, change management Comms and training, content/copy writing for external and internal Comms, data collection, data analytics, basic Stats, design thinking, marketing skills for recruitment, branding (for building an employer brand), Machine Learning, evidence based practice, and I can go on and on… The solution: let’s be honest up front and let the next generation of human resources pros know that their career will be a lifelong learning journey covering the skill sets mentioned above, along with many others, and that they should embrace being a Polymath. It is indeed an exciting time to be joining the ranks of HR! –Robert St-Jacques
The “curriculum” for this series is almost finished, and I am starting to reach out to different experts to help us all learn about how to improve our careers. The goal for this series is to ensure a diverse set of perspectives, so at a minimum, half of the “instructors” that are interviewed will be minorities so that the advice will be applicable to everyone, not just a select set of listeners.
Let Your Voice Be Heard
If you’d like to add your own thoughts for the upcoming podcast series on HR careers (what do you want to know OR what advice would you give?), we would love to wrap them into the show. Just click this link and record yourself sharing your best tip for improving your HR career. If you give your name and city/region I would be glad to give you credit for your ideas. The best ideas will be short (30-60 seconds max) so we can incorporate them into the show.
We will pick from the best ones and send out a gift pack to the winners, but if we’re being honest, the real winners will be those that listen to the series to gain some knowledge, improve their leadership capabilities, and thrive in an HR career!
Getting a Head Start: Perspectives from the HR Community
As a head start on this career development journey, I asked some people I respect on Twitter to share their ideas that can help the next generation of HR leaders. Those comments are below and represent a wide variety of perspectives and viewpoints, and I’m thankful for each person for being willing to share their ideas with all of us. If you enjoy any (or all) of the ideas, be sure to like, retweet, and follow the individuals below. You’ll be better for it.
We have to keep learning/growing so that we can help others live and work to their fulll potential. If we’re using an old toolset or mindset the people we serve will suffer and the organizations we serve won’t be successful!
— Carlos Escobar (@cescobar78) February 21, 2020
The Cornell Professor is spot on Ben. Expanding my circle of influence has been key. Learning from those with more knowledge has been invaluable thank you @sbrownehr @TimSackett @greg_savage . A Former TA Director introduced me to Agile HR
— truerecruiter (@garrydolive) February 21, 2020
In HR we often speak of the leadership Development need & how it affects the EmployeeExperience. So practice what we preach. For me is attending academic level courses, exhaust online resources by utilizing commute time & also constantly asking for guidance from people I admire.
— Anna Mamalaki🌎 (@AnnaMamalaki) February 22, 2020
Having a continuous learners mindset is pivotal for HR to remain relevant in an organization. Our industry directly tied the ops and people to overall success or failure of an organization. #hrcommunity
CE has allowed me to evolve as an HR practitioner & keep up with the constant changes. It allowed me to work in any industry. As a HR consultant, I found that I get hired to bring change, update policies, procedures, & clean up. Fix the HR image & install #HRTech. pic.twitter.com/hfV6miIWRU
— Gemma Toth, SHRM-SCP, #HRPro #WorkHuman (@GemmaTothSCP) February 23, 2020
We need to learn to remain relevant. The moment we choose to stop learning is the moment we lose our effectiveness inside our organization as business people. We can’t afford to become stuck in our ways. Remember, development begins WITH you !! #HR #HRCommunity
— Steve Browne (@sbrownehr) February 21, 2020
— Karen A. Oakey (@KarenAOakey) February 22, 2020
We need to keep learning as individuals, for the profession, and the organization we represent. I’ve always said that if you aren’t learning something new about your job everyday that you are in trouble. Make sure learn something new everyday!
— Anthony Paradiso, MS, SHRM-CP (he/him/his)🏳️🌈🌈 (@allthingzap) February 21, 2020
Being more involved in the field allows you more opportunities to find your specific HR passion.
Always find ways to expand your craft.
— Christine Assaf (@HRTact) February 22, 2020
The nature of the workforce, the work environment, the rise of #HRtech tools are changing the way we work. Continuous learning is required to stay abreast to help the teams, organization to remain agile, and succeed. Remember, “The road to success is always under construction.”
— Baskaran Ambalavanan (@baski_LA) February 23, 2020
I like to think about it this way. When you graduated from college, you had the most up-to-date understanding of your field at that time. Key words: at that time.
Investing in your personal & professional development is a must.
— Dr David M Arrington (@dmackarrington) February 21, 2020
Identifying the reasons or barriers to continuous learning will also aid in ensuring we don’t fall victim to these traps for ourselves and those we serve.
— Ryan McShane (@RyanMc_HRevo) February 21, 2020
I remember when I didn’t even want to get an iPhone, if you can believe it. Also, didn’t want to use social media. Decided not to stay stagnant and these resources have changed and enhanced my life, personally & professionally. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/5WpOrxMOHc
— Dr. Melanie Peacock MBA, PhD, CPHR, SHRM-SCP (@doublempeacock) February 23, 2020
Finally, HR can be really lonely! A commitment to growth is what will help you engage our fabulous #HRCommunity and light your career path.
— Rob Caswell (@robcaz) February 21, 2020
I think it’s important to remember that we have one benefit most industries don’t: humans are part of our title. The easiest way to keep learning is to keep reaching out to people and listening.
— Katrina Kibben (@KatrinaKibben) February 21, 2020
Thanks again for your support. Can’t wait to start sharing these new insights on the podcast!