A Career Development Trifecta – Part 2: Career Paths
On Monday, I mentioned I received a letter from a reader. You can read the full letter here. One of the things the reader asked about was career paths in human resources. Specifically, they said:
I’d like to pursue a career in HR, however, I also love sales, being on the road, and need flexibility. Can you recommend the right career path?
This is a really interesting question because I’ve heard so many different stories about how people end up in HR or work their way through HR. To be fair, I didn’t want to offer just one approach. So I reached out to a few of my favorite blogging colleagues to offer up their experiences and some advice.
Christopher Hoyt – aka The Recruiter Guy
Because the person is asking about what areas within their own business channel they can explore – I’m left to think they still have more to learn about their organization. I’d gently encourage them to get to know their own teams and the people/jobs within them before pursuing external advice on where to go next. Regardless of how long ago they ‘fell into’ their current job – if they’re looking to stay within the HR department they’ll want to ensure they’re growing in HR rather than hopping around within the department.
Take the time to become a knowledgeable professional at what you do today. Take the time to understand what your peers and colleagues do – on your team as well as outside the company. You may be surprised how your passion for your current role grows or a new career path presents itself as you strive to excel. I think someone that is truly interested in being an expert at what they do is always looking for the role to grow and evolve as it’s best for the business – and the majority of the time will know when a move makes sense.
Have said all of that… The no-brainer for “sales” and “travel” within HR is Recruiting. But experienced managers in HR will tell you that nearly anything within a leadership role will have sales attributes and that business needs always dictate “flexibility” and “travel” regardless of the role. Not to mention that so much of this is specific to the type and size of company where this person works.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR – CEO of Xceptional HR and author of Blogging4Jobs
Sales is a part of every position whether you are in Human Resources or not. As a HR professional, we sell the company, benefits, and special projects to senior management, employees, and prospective candidates every day. Employee relations and recruiting are areas within human resources that encourage someone to listen as well as be persuasive and use closing skills.
The person may want to consider working in sales for a company that provides human resources related products like an ATS, payroll, or HRIS software. I would also encourage this person to consider supporting a sales division within a company allowing you to engage these sales-minded professionals. One must understand that Human Resources is not something that most fall into, and returning to the industry after a period of time in another role could be problematic.