HR Career Advancement

Anybody here "start out" as an HR Assistant or other HR non-exempt type position? How did you move up? I was the HR Office Assistant for a year, then promoted to HR Assistant :DD(going on 6 months in that position). As I sink my teeth into the field more and more, I find I'm really interested in a Generalist position. I'm going to finish my BS in Bus Admin concentrating on HR Management...but it will probably take me 12-18 months. Is it realistic to think once I obtain my degree I'll get promoted?xpray If not, should I look elsewhere? Any thoughts wise ones?:-?


  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I believe that you are doing the right thing by working toward you degree. That will put you in a position to move up in the HR profession toward a generalist role. I suggest that you do not worry right now about where that may be, whether it is with your current employer or somewhere else. To prepare for the next level, I suggest that you try to get projects assigned to you that expand what you currently do with your company. Not only will it help gain experience to share with other employers, it will also show you current employer what you can do so that they may be more inclined to keep you there with a possible promotion if that is available.
  • I was an administrator at a fast-growing (too fast) human services company that needed to create an HR department overnight. I was tapped for the task and have been in HR since. Yes, by all means keep going with your education. Those 12-18 months will go by anyway, and once you have your degree no one can take it away from you.
  • A degree will widen the range of jobs that will be available to you. Whether or not that will translate into a promotion where you currently work will depend on the need that the company has at that time and your relationship with others in the company. The year or so that you have to go will give you time to evaluate whether there are possibilities internally or if you have to look elsewhere.
  • Cinderella, Getting your degree is most important, but it is not the "end to all". It is what you do with what you are given with the company/s that will get you to where you are going in this life. A career progression, a staircase to your dream world, is what you need to do to help you plan and execute something of value. I once read a small little book in the Dallas airport that made a very strong impact on my life and career in the HR arena. The book was laying on a chair when I sat down and began to read. I wish many times afterward, that I had kept the colored booklet because I have so often referred back to the profound words presented. The title was "DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE GOING; FOR YOU ARE GOING SOMEWHERE". The thrust of the booklet was/is 'set up a plan and execute your plan'! Moment by moment, minute by minute life is going on whether you are in control or worrying or not. If you don't want to be in control, then just "DO NOT WORRY ABOUT IT" but look back over your path that you have acomplished, and you can see very clearly what made a difference, what was important to how or why you are where you are today, right now. If you want to be in control then worry about your current situation and where you are going to be in the next moment, the next minute, the next hour, the next week, months, and year/s. Be in control and make things happen for your self. All quality employees are team players and they usually get the project assigned completed and working with little fanfare; they make things hapeen they do not wait for things to happen. You will make some mistakes, always step up and admit it, but never let it happen again. Some times even doing something is better than doing nothing at all! Getting a degree is nothing more than a demonstration of our ability to take a project and make something happen. You do not have to have a degree to be a success, it just helps and gives your bosses/friends/relatives something that they can hang their hat on that says you are a success and a "go getter". There are many of us out here that have a degree, but it is not worth the paper it is printed on as a demonstration of how good we are, or how successful we will be!!! I for one, have found a nitch for myself in this ole world of HR, because I truly love dealing with the human being and seeing the phsychology of the organization function to mission accomplishment. My degrees helped but they did not get me anything more than the recognition of accomplishment of something of value for my self. It is the people in any organization that makes the organization produce the end product or service. People make a difference and they make things happen, are you going to be a doer or a wait er?

    I hope this has help, it is oh so profound, even if I have to say so myself. Good luck in your HR endeavors. Pork
  • You're heading in the right direction. My tip would be to also read as much as you can stand. There are so many good publications and organizations like SHRM, APA, RIMS out there. I encourage every non exempt asst out there to read as much as you can "off the clock." It is all part of professional development. Following this forum is also an education in itself. Good luck & don't burn out!

  • Thanks everybody, I appreciate your insights. x:D
  • I started my career straight out of college as a Recruiter for a Staffing Firm. After spending a couple years there, I entered a new company and started as an HR Assistant. I spent a year in that position and then moved up into the HR Coordinator role. Shortly thereafter, I became HR Manager, and then left that company after three years and became HR Director of a small non-profit agency. I have my bachelor degree and started taking on my Management roles after I received my Master's degree. I think a bachelor degree is critical in moving up into more progressive HR roles. Having degrees in HR mgmt positions, helps HR maintain their professional image in the business community. Over the years, I've been told the reasons I've moved up so quickly are: "my continuous curiousity and wanting to help out". I've always asked my supervisor what else I could do. I was a hard worker, put my all into everything I did. I had the degree which showed I was someone that could be used in a variety of roles. Finally, and in my opinion, most importantly, "DON'T MISS WORK!!". HR staffers are always role models. HR is responsible for upholding policies and procedures and disciplinary actions, and if we miss work and slack off of policies and procedures, how can we expect employees to do so.

    Good Luck with your career.
  • Just one comment about Melanie's response and that has to do with the HR role of upholding policies and procedures and disciplinary actions. That information, particulary the part about disciplinary action, may be perceived by some as advocating the HR police role which is not one which leads to success. I don't think that it was meant that way, judging by Melanie's career path. Success comes from solving problems for people and sometimes that does involve coaching supervisors in the proper way of administering corrective action, however, we are advisors, not the disciplinary police. I hope that Melanie does not take this is criticism of her, because it isn't.
  • I think Melanie and I are the same person! My first job out of college was also in a staffing agency. After about a year, I went to an HR Assistant job at a bank which allowed me to see all the various aspects of HR in action. I was promoted after a year to the Employment Specialist position. After 4 years there I wanted a generalist position so I left for a non-profit agency to "start-up" the HR dept as Director. I have since gone back and forth a few times - going back to the specialist role (in Employment/EEO) as a manager, and then moving on to another HR Director position. I have enjoyed moving back and forth between the specialist and generalist role and feel that focusing on ONE area for a while enables me to strengthen ALL areas.

    I have found (and this of course depends upon the size of your organization as far as internal opportunities) that in order to move "up" I have had to move to new organizations. Then again, I enjoy this aspect of HR -- being able to take my skills to a new industry or a new organization and impacting it. In addition, I have learned trmendously in each position as well.

    Once you have your degree - keep learning. Take more classes, attend seminars and conferences. Get your certification. Never stop learning and widening your horizons. There are, alas, some HR professionals who become complacent and stagnant once they have reached a certain level of job and decide they are set and don't need to keep educating themselves.
  • uh-oh Melanie.....I am reading the latest posts from HOME because I am SICK and MISSED WORK TODAY!!! #-o
    I have the horrid cold that has been going around the office. I've been sneezing so much that my abdominal muscles are cramping and my poor cats won't come near me because the jerking sneezing movements and noise scares them. Sheesh! But hey, I am a diligent little worker and am keeping up on the HR BB's!
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 10-25-02 AT 08:19AM (CST)[/font][p]I agree completely with Melanie in regard to role-modeling appropriate work behavior, which includes a strong work ethic. If you're sick, you're sick, but c'mon! I'm sure many of us routinely see people racking up multiple sick days. An HR person needs to set a higher example.
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