Updated: Dec 25, 2020
by Miles Madison
As an industry leader in career coaching, professional development and consulting I've seen my share of mistakes made in an effort to move up the ladder. When I joined Black In HR, I found a community made up of over 5,000 Black HR professionals across North America, Africa and Europe, who had like minded interest and similar career paths. I want to share with you what I've learned since joining this organization in hopes that it can give you additional tools for your professional journey.
We recently polled a few of our senior members from Google, Deloitte, Facebook and others for tips on what HR professionals should know in order to grow and be successful in this field. Why did we do this? The answer is because there is a lot of misinformation floating around that causes confusion for members of our community, and HR in general. Career development is a science that we take seriously, and we want to give you the secret sauce to grow your career:
1. HR is an experience driven field. All of the MBA's in the world won't help you if you do not have practical experience. Focus your energy on practical learning that you can only gain in the workplace. Also, if you believe that higher education is absolutely critical to your success, then simply do a job search on LinkedIn. How many jobs require a Master’s or higher? It is a nice to have, but we would venture to say, not many require it. That being said, if you are absolutely committed to additional education, you should allow your employer to pay for it. According to SHRM, “61 percent of employers offer a tuition assistance benefit for undergraduate pursuits. (Cherry,T. 2014)"
2. Piggy backing off of number 1. GET AN INTERNSHIP! This can be anywhere. Have a friend that owns a State Farm or Tax office? Ask them to let you volunteer 5 hours a week to manage their employee files or schedule interviews. Seriously! An internship doesn’t have to be from a top company. You can go door to door with businesses and ask if they would let you volunteer to manage some of their HR processes including recruiting, file management and corrective action. This is a win-win as they get free help as a small business, and you get verifiable and practical experience.
3. You need an HR Career Coach. HR professionals know the career path that you are trying to walk and speak your language. Your aunt that writes resumes on occasions is probably not as qualified as a trained coach in this field. Even career coaches that don’t have a background in HR are probably not qualified to understand the needs of an HR professional. Leave it to the pro’s at Black In HR! We know HR, because we ARE HR!
4. Certifications are great! But they don't matter AT ALL at the entry level. Listen, we understand that an added credential would look great on your resume. The thing is, if you have zero experience, then no one is going to pay you more money simply because you have a certification. Focus on steps #1 and #2.
5. Upgrade your circle. Your friends who work as CNAs (shout out to them) don't know what they are talking about when it comes to your career. Your circle shapes who you are, and this field requires you to be around people who can elevate your thinking and serve as a checks and balance. Connect with our members at events and through our Facebook and GroupMe networks. We want you to be successful!
6. Research how much HR professionals can make. Don't get stuck with a job for any more than 2-3 years. Research shows that you are leaving $$$$$ on the table every year that you stay with one company. Some of our members have hit SIX figures after only 4 years in HR. This is because changing jobs can yield 20% or higher in wage increases, while annual increases from your current employer usually top off in the 3-5% range. You are more valuable to your next employer than you are to your current employer.
If you still don't get it, don't worry. Entering and growing in HR can be rewarding, but can be challenging. If you find yourself stuck, We're here to help! Book a free consultation with our coaches at Theblackinhr.com.