27 Insanely Great Ideas For Taking Your HR Career To The Next Level in 2018…

by Alan Collins

It’s that time again.

We’re now a few days into 2018.

What will you do specifically to drive your HR career forward this year?

Now’s the time to plan to make this year your BEST year yet.

Stuck for ideas on what to do?

No problem.

I’m going to give you 27 ideas to consider. 

They’re not new.  I first presented 20 of them two years ago.

But I’ve added MORE to the list and ENHANCED many of  them so that they’re even more actionable.

Here’s the deal:  Pick two of them and start making things happen.

Here you go: 27 ideas, any one of which — if achieved —  will easily place you among the top 5% of all HR professionals and make 2018 a year you’ll never forget.

#1:  Update your resume and start using it to aggressively go after better HR opportunities. 

Your resume is the single most important financial document you will ever create.

It is the first thing anyone will ask you for before they’ll agree to interview you.   So you absolutely must have one if you want to open doors and connect with hiring authorities.

And you need one that powerfully differentiates YOU from…and above ..the rest of the pack if you want to advance your career in today’s highly competitive HR marketplace.

If you need help in developing one that will do just that, check out HR Resume Secrets.

Note: Once you’ve updated your resume, update your LinkedIn profile too, to make sure the two are in sync.

While we’re talking about LinkedIn….

#2:  Go get 20 recommendations on LinkedIn.

Want an edge when recruiters and headhunters check you out on LinkedIn?  Want to make more HR job opportunities come to you?

Then, dramatically increase the number of your recommendations on your LinkedIn profile.

With 20 or more endorsements, you cannot help but blow hiring managers away with the sheer number of testimonials from people who are praising you to the hilt.

#3:  Go get HR certified (or re-certified).

Whether it’s certification through SHRM or HRCI, it really doesn’t matter.

However, let me be brutally honest.  HR certifications by themselves don’t get you promoted.  You still need a track record of performing well and delivering the goods.

On the other hand, only 11% of HR professionals globally have HR related certifications.  And that’s an elite enough group to make many hiring managers take such certifications seriously.

With that it mind, if you’re in the job market, this means it may give you that itty-bitty edge that allows your resume to hit the “yes” stack.

And that by itself may make it all worth it!

#4:  Publish three articles this year in your HR specialty.

To get your name more broadly known and in print, you have lots of options.

Check out the article publishing requirements for HR MagazineWorkforce, and HR Executive.

Or just put up a three articles on ezinearticles.com…it’s easy.

Or start publishing on LinkedIn’s article platform, Pulse.

Just make sure you that for each article, you include a two sentence bio about yourself at the end.   Here’s an example.

#5:  Stretch yourself by moving into an entirely different HR role.  

If you’re an HR generalist, deepen your expertise by accepting a specialist assignment in an area like compensation, staffing/talent acquisition or labor relations.

If you’re a specialist, move into a generalist role supporting a business, client group or field organization.  Step out of your comfort zone

#6:  Differentiate yourself by broadening your global experience.

Expand your HR experience by relocating out of the U.S. and accepting an international assignment (e.g. Brazil, Russia, India, China or elsewhere).  If you are already in these countries, then accept a U.S. assignment.

Yes, this is a major life, family and career move.

However, HR folks with international experience are hugely desirable in our global economy — and will continue to be — and such experience WILL differentiate you from the rest of the pack and open up opportunities to take your career to an entirely new level.

#7:  Find your ONE BIG THING and then excel at it.

An HR generalist I know specializes in building teams.  He’s a pro at using Myers-Briggs, the Kolbe assessment and other personality and team tools to help groups enhance their team’s effectiveness.

He’s in huge demand both inside and outside of his current organization.

His team building expertise has opened the door for him to have a positive impact in his organization with groups in unexpected ways…to rave reviews.

Again, he regards himself as an HR generalist primarily…but his one BIG thing is team building.   

He’s long believed that HR generalists are a dime a dozen.  And feels the field of HR is too broad, multi-faceted and complex to become an expert in every single freaking thing.

So he doesn’t even try.

Instead, he would advise anyone in HR that while it’s okay to be a jack of all trades…make sure you’re the absolute master of ONE.

Whether you agree with him or not.  There’s an important point here…

You will greatly enhance your career in HR if you become known as the TRUSTED AUTHORITY in ONE thing.

For example:

…Can you become known as the best at filling key jobs fast using social media?

…Or become known as the top dog in developing retention strategies that will keep the best performers on the payroll?

…Or become known as the go-to HR pro when it comes to collaborating with business leaders in resolving their employee performance issues?

….Or become known as the best compensation pro at developing innovative incentive pay plans that drive hard-to-motivate employees to perform like crazy?

….Or simply become known as the super-fast HR pro who responds faster, acts quickly, and always follows up?

These are just a few examples.

There are tons of other areas where you can carve your own unique niche.

The key is to pick ONE area that appeals to you, plays to your strengths and is VALUED BY YOUR ORGANIZATION.

Aim to become so awesome at this ONE thing that people can’t wait to share with others how great you are.

And then watch new opportunities land at your doorstep.

That said, let’s move on to…

#8:  Write your own HR book.

An out-of-the-box idea, you say?

I say, not really.

Want a role model in this area?  Then Alisa Charles is the gold standard.

Alisa has now written two books leveraging her expertise in human resources… all while holding down her full-time day gig as an HR director.  Check out her story here.

The secret key: write a short book.

Nobody has time to read 300-page HR books anymore.

Use this to your advantage.

Put together a 60-80 page book on a project you’ve accomplished or a problem you’ve solved that appeals to other HR or talent management folks and you’ll become a rock star.

Want to get a book done faster than you ever imagined?  Here’s step-by-step plan on how to get it done.

#9:  Develop a white paper on your HR specialty and aim to get it downloaded by 500 HR people.

Don’t have time to do a book, even a small one?

Then, promote the crap out of your own unique HR brand with a 20-page white paper.

Need an example or model to follow, look over this white paper here.

#10:  Speak at a local SHRM chapter or conference. 

Giving talks on your HR area of expertise is one of the fastest ways to attract favorable attention from those who can help advance your career.

Just reach out and contact your local SHRM chapter.  Pitch your presentation idea.

Chapters around the country are always looking for enthusiastic presenters with practical, real-world, in-the-trenches HR experience.

Become that presenter.

#11:  Get an executive coach or superstar mentor.  

Want to speed up your learning curve in a specific area within HR?   Then don’t be a lone ranger.

Get some help from an expert coach or mentor in that area.  Can’t afford one?  Don’t know anyone?  No problem. As an alternative, surround yourself with 2-3 trusted colleagues that care about you that you can utilize as your personal Board of Directors.

Make sure they are people who have gone down the path where you want to go…and have the scars to show for it.

Or have experiences different than yours.

Or who may be playing a bigger game than you are…in order to help move your OWN game upwards.

Really let your hair down with this group.

Give them permission to provide you with brutally candid career advice and feedback.  Make commitments to them.  Then ask them to hold you accountable.

It works.

#12:  Shun the vampires.  

You have vampires in your life.  We all do.

These are people that feed on negativity, shoot down your ideas and most of all, extinguish your desire to improve yourself.

It’s tempting to debate them or try to prove them wrong.  However, this is food for them, merely encouragement.  And it wastes your time.

They only respond to garlic.

And the garlic you use is simple: shun them.  

Delete their email.

Drop them from your social media accounts.

Don’t attend meetings where they show up.

Don’t buy into the false expectation that in an organizational democracy, every voice matters.

Every voice does NOT.

The only voices that count are those that move your HR ideas forward, make them better and make you or your clients even more awesome.

So shun those who feed on your failures.

#13: Re-read Unwritten HR Rules or  Winning Big in HR.

I don’t care which one.  But just pick one and scan through it again.

Then commit yourself to two action steps from either of these books to propel your career forward.

Share this commitment with your spouse, partner, significant other, trusted peer or BFF so they can hold your feet to the fire.

#14:  Start your own HR blog.

Get some inspiration from the HR blogs of Ben Eubanks (an HR manager who blogs for “in-the-trenches” HR professionals),  Kris Dunn (the Chief Human Resources Officer for Kinetix who has built an expansive blogging community), and Suzanne Lucas (a corporate HR director known as the evil HR lady).

Use them as models to craft your own unique identity.  Through your blog you can share your own HR insights and experiences to enhance your credibility.

Not sure how to get started?  Follow the guidance in this step-by-step guide.

#15.  Start your own group on LinkedIn.

Want to be perceived as a thought leader within the HR world or expand your LinkedIn network fast.  Then creating your own group may be up your alley.  Here are ten more benefits of starting up your own Linkedin group.

#16:  Give a lecture or teach an HR class at a local university.

Local universities, junior colleges or their extension campuses are always in the hunt for guest lecturers, instructors and part-time adjunct faculty members.

Landing a college teaching gig can help you polish up your presentation skills and your confidence.  Besides, you never know who is in your class and who knows whom.

#17:  Create a brown-bag lecture series.

Turn your lunch period into networking opportunities to showcase your knowledge.

Take an HR-related skill that everyone needs (like doing performance appraisals or interviewing employees), an empty conference room and start teaching the ins-and-outs to others in your organization and you’ll become a hero.

Want to extend your reach?  Turn it into a webinar.

#18:  Coach and run Train-the-trainers on your brown-bag topic.

Take your brown-bag program and expand it by sharing your expertise one-on-one or by training others to do what you can do.  Spreading your expertise in diverse ways helps spread your reputation in positive ways.

#19:  Turn your HR know-how into second income on side…while keeping your day job.

Just about any expertise you’ve picked up in your HR day job can be turned into extra income.  All you need to do is to package your experience into a “product” and market it.  This  product could be one page tip sheets, a special report, a workbook, articles, instructor guides, paid presentations, webinars, workshops or at least 20 other things.

Why not start your own HR micro-business on the side with the goal to grow it slowly into something more significant in the future.  Want more specific ideas, HR case examples and a step-by-step roadmap for doing this yourself without jeopardizing your day job in HR, then check out: Your HR Goldmine. 

#20:  Become an officer in your local HR association.

Local HR associations abound.   Besides your local SHRM chapter, there is NAAAHR, The OD Network, and ASTD to name a few.  All turn over their officers every year.

This is an opportunity for you to get involved in a leadership capacity.

Volunteer to help increase their membership, put on programs, fund raise or manage their communications.

It’s a terrific way to expand your contact network, stay up to date and give back to the profession.

#21:  Get a twitter account and attract 500 meaningful followers.

Twitter is all about sharing information with people who are important to you.  Use it to put out interesting, relevant info for your followers.

Post inspirational quotes or helpful HR tips.

Provide links to interesting, relevant HR articles that will help others.

In many ways, this is like having your own mini-blog…and is therefore an excellent way to attract more followers and establish yourself as an authority in your specialty within HR.  For more information on how to best leverage twitter, go here.

#22:  Develop your own iPhone app for HR.

Admittedly this is an out-0f-the-box idea.   iPhone apps continue to grow exponentially.  So it’s not surprising that there are some very serious ones being developed to help job seekers and HR professionals.

Examples:

Just about any routine HR activity can be turned into an app.  Got a great HR idea you want to turn into an app, but you’re not a techie?

No sweat.

There are plenty of programmers and geeks around the globe on Upwork.com anxious for you to put them to work dirt cheap.  Lay out your HR idea and let them amaze you with the iPhone app they can design for you.  It’s more affordable than you think and may become your new HR sidehustle.

Like I said, out-of-the-box.  But not beyond the realm of reality.

#23:  Start running your HR department as a profit center.

Start quantifying the value of your HR programs and share the results with your organization…and on your resume.

For additional credibility, partner with your in-house Finance Comptroller on this initiative.

For more information on this topic, check out this classic.

#24:  Make yourself available as an HR expert for news stories.

If you’re an authority in a hot area like health care cost containment, use of social media in HR or employee engagement, you are attractive to reporters who are writing stories on these topics.

Reporters like to reinforce their stories with quotes from experts just like you.

If this appealing to you, one service you might want to explore is PRLeads.com.  While I can’t vouch for the service and it looks expensive, it just might be worth exploring.

#25:  Produce a series of YouTube videos on your HR specialty.

All you need is your smart phone video recorder and You Tube.

Pat Goodman is a great example of someone who has produced an entire line of short HR-related videos on YouTube.  You can check out one of her many videos here.

#26:  Contribute regularly to your company’s e-zine or newsletter.

Your in-house communications group is always looking for positive stories about your organization.  They also tend to be always on deadline and understaffed.

Volunteering to periodically provide them with a story or article for publication will provide you exposure and visibility inside your current firm.

#27:  Get off your duff and clearly define what makes you different.

Find a quiet spot, take some time, and figure out what REALLY makes you distinctive in the HR career marketplace?

Come up with a clear answer to the question: “Why should I promote or hire you rather than every other ‘result-oriented, HR leader’ out there?

Yes, it’s fine to be a jack of all trades, but you need to be a master of ONE — so, what’s yours?

Now that you’ve read over this list, what are you waiting for?

When someone asks you at the end of 2018 what you’ve accomplished in HR, will you be excited to tell them the answer?

I hope so.  If not, you’re wasting away your career and don’t know it.

No matter what your HR gig is, no matter where you work, there IS a way for YOU to take a couple of these ideas (on your own, on weekends if necessary), to advance your HR career or to expand your impact on our profession.

Get a great start in the New Year.  Make this the year to take your HR career to an entirely different level. 

Starting now.

Your feedback is welcomed.  Please click HERE to add your comments or thoughts on this article…or to add any other insanely great ideas that may been omitted.

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About the author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling books for HR professionals featured on the right sidebar of this site. His newest book, The New HR Leader’s First 100 Days, is a #1 best seller on Amazon in the Human Resources and Personnel Management category.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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6 Responses to “27 Insanely Great Ideas For Taking Your HR Career To The Next Level in 2018…”

  1. Raeisha Says:

    These are great ideas, and great ideas must be repeated. I have been contemplating a few of them but need a way to distinguish myself from everyone else who wants more out of their HR career. I guess #26 is top on the list, in the #1 spot to be exact!

    Great article, and resources!

  2. Josephine Winfrey Says:

    Great advice as always Alan. I have used some of the techniques very successfully. Now I’m looking at writing articles.

  3. Mobola Says:

    Thank you so much for this great insight, well appreciated.

  4. Rohith Castelino Says:

    This is a brilliant article, thought provoking and exciting to ready and practical too. Thanks Sir

  5. simon odewole Says:

    This is really a treasure, I can’t stop re-reading it over and over again. Implementation is key for me right now.thanks Alan you are a gift to HR.

  6. Bim Says:

    This is great, it has got me thinking – thank you!

Comments