6 Tips for Advancing Your Career in the HR Field


The field of human resources covers various areas and rungs that attaining career progression in this industry is always possible. Being well-rounded and versed in different areas of expertise is achievable as well when you are an HR professional.

The speed and extent to which you can achieve advancement, though, will depend greatly on your commitment to progress in this field. You have to invest time, effort, and money to acquire various skills and qualifications which will give you the boost you need to get promoted from one level to another.

Acquiring Career Progression as an HR Professional

If you want to start working your way up the career ladder, follow these tips:

1.     Take up relevant courses

The field of HR is constantly evolving. Keeping up with the new practices, concepts, and other trends is a must if you want to achieve career advancement.

Taking up HR training courses is a good way to start broadening your knowledge and getting more skills in this industry. These programs will allow you to be proficient in handling various responsibilities and areas covered by this profession.

HR training programs differ in the topics they cover and the qualifications they provide. As such, you have to be careful in choosing the courses you take to avoid completing similar ones. You also have to ensure you sign up for classes that will support your learning and career goals.

Completing a post-grad course is another way of obtaining more skills and knowledge in the field of HR. However, these degrees call for more expenses and commitment. They take longer as well, since they usually run for at least two to three years, depending on the number of units you will take per term.

Your investment and patience in completing a master’s degree, though, will be rewarded greatly since a post-grad diploma is usually required for managerial and higher positions in HR.

But whether you complete HR training courses and a post-grad degree, or both, the certificates you will support your progress in this field.

2.     Self-study regularly

Aside from taking up formal courses, you can broaden your knowledge and keep up with the trends by reading more.

Different topics and news regarding the field of human resources come up every day. Look for blog sites and websites that are full of informative, research-based, and updated articles. Download and listen to or watch podcasts hosted by industry experts as well.

Read books, magazines, and other publications about the different areas of HR regularly as well.

Keep in mind that the more you read or study on your own, the more knowledgeable you become. This will enable you to contribute more to your workplace and organization. And this will allow your employer to recognize your contributions and talent, which will give you a leg up in your pursuit of job advancement.

3.     Step up your networking activities

Being in the HR field means constantly working with other people.These opportunities allow you to build your people skills, which will help you in expanding your network and collaborating with your peers and possible mentors.

Regardless of where you are in your career in HR, you always need to surround yourself with the right people. This is because established, well-connected mentors and experienced peers can help set you on the right track for career development.

If you are looking for a mentor, find someone who is also working in the area of your interest. He or she should be a person you respect and feel comfortable seeking advice from.

If you work for a large company, you will likely find a possible mentor or workplace coach within your organization. In case you don’t have any prospects in your company, try looking for job-shadowing opportunities so that you can meet more professionals in your field.

To connect with professionals that share your goals and passion, join online and local HR groups and attend conferences and workshops regarding this field too.

4.     Explore other roles

Limiting yourself to what you usually do and already known can work against you. If you want to be qualified for more positions and higher positions, you need to have an idea of what the other HR areas and roles entail.

Human resources is a vast field. Understanding the different departments and their importance in organizations is a good start to broadening your expertise. However, accepting specialist assignments in various areas will help you even more.

For instance, if you currently involved in recruitment, find out if you can get additional tasks from the payroll or labor relations department.

Aside from gaining further knowledge, stepping out of your comfort zone allows you to discover which area you want to specialize in, if you are ready to choose one. Trying different functions can also affirm your decision to be an HR generalist, a role that allows you to handle a variety of duties.

5.     Learn from feedback and mistakes

Making mistakes is part of growth, even career-wise. How you accept and handle them, however, makes a huge difference.

Whether you are introducing new policies in the workplace or methods for organizing or filing paperwork, do not expect that everything will go well or that all employees will accept them eagerly. If you see the system failing, do not force it in the workplace.

If you think the new system is worth putting in place, find out why it is not working as you expected. Ask for feedback from your co-employees and use their input to improve your policy.

What is important is that you learn from your mistakes and use them to introduce more positive changes in the workplace and your performance.

6.     Keep your resume updated

Lastly, whether you are looking for opportunities outside your company or aiming for an internal promotion, regularly update your resume.

Add any new skills or qualifications you gained from training programs. If you were given a seasonal job or asked to fill in a position temporarily, make sure it is stated on your resume.

Keep your job duties updated as well. Make sure everything you do in your current position, even the additional ones you occasionally do, is listed on it.

Lastly, highlight any people management, coaching, mentoring, and other HR-related duties that you have both in your current and previous jobs.

The point is, you always have to be prepared to jump on career advancement opportunities that come your way. Having an updated resume that will get you through the next stage of the application stage is the first step to doing so.

Taking note of these tips will help you achieve your goal of career advancement in the field of HR. Moreover, you will develop skills, personality traits, and attitudes that will shape you into a better employee and future leader.


Jerrin Samuel, ED at Regional Educational Institute (REI) in Abu Dhabi.


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