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5 Tips for Taking Your Career in HR to the Next Level

A career in human resources is virtually recession proof. Organizations will always need HR professionals to support employee relations, training, and hiring efforts. As an HR professional, you also have many options for job opportunities given the wide range of HR job functions. Employee retention, compliance, recruiting, benefits, organizational development, compensation, and HRIS administration all fall under the HR umbrella. If you love your career in HR, and you’re ready to take it to the next level, the following tips will prepare you to do just that.


1. Get clear on your ultimate HR career path.

To take your career in HR to the next level, you want to clarify what your endgame is. If your ultimate career goal is to be an HR Director one day, then your career path will look a bit different than if your goal is to be promoted to the highest level in your current position, such as going from an HR Representative to a Senior HR Representative. Alternatively, if your ultimate goal is to be an HR Generalist, then your career path might look different than if your goal is to become a senior-level Benefits Specialist. By clarifying your goals, you’ll be in a better position to determine what steps to take and the type of experience required for your desired HR career path.


female job seeker deciding which career path to take


2. Acquire HR certifications.

Per SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), more than 5,000 employers seek SHRM credential-holders on a monthly basis. SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP are HR certifications that are accredited by the Buros Center for testing. The testing requirements and exams are extensive; passing them shows that you have foundational HR knowledge that can be applied in work environments around the globe.


3. Pursue an HR Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Some organizations will substitute a certain level of experience for a degree, though many will not. If you’re currently working in an entry-level HR position and you’re looking to move up the ladder or work for a larger company, then a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in the HR field might be required. If your organization has an education reimbursement program, ask if a degree in HR would be covered, and take advantage of it if it is.


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4. Join industry-specific organizations like SHRM.

Joining SHRM is a no-brainer if you’re in the HR profession. SHRM offers several HR-related resources to its members that aren’t available to nonmembers, as well as training and development at a discounted price. An SHRM membership, if utilized to its fullest, will ensure that you remain up to date on employment law, best practices, and policies, so you’ll be able to speak intelligently about the different facets of HR. Research regional and local chapters of SHRM, as well as other HR organizations such as HRCI, HCI, and WorldatWork, in which you can become involved.


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5. Network and showcase your HR expertise online and offline.

As the saying goes, it’s not who you know but who knows you that will help you get the job. You want always to be networking both online and offline, even when you’re in a job you love.

LinkedIn is a great online resource to highlight your professional skill set, qualifications, and experience. It’s also a great place to post your insights and showcase your professional brand and expertise. Share articles and blogs about your experiences and career in human resources, for example.

Offline, network at professional events and conferences and identify opportunities to speak and demonstrate your areas of expertise as well. If you’re an employee relations guru, you might offer to present at a local HR symposium on what has and hasn’t been effective for your organization when it comes to employee morale or retention, for example.


Though a career in human resources can be highly gratifying, climbing the ladder or taking your career in HR to the next level takes dedication and work. Find jobs on iHireHR by job title, state, skill requirements, and more to zero in on the perfect opportunity.

By iHire | July 03, 2019
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