The 14 Most Valuable Job Experiences For Accelerating Your HR Career…

by Alan Collins

According to SHRM, there are 2 million HR jobs on planet earth.

However, I believe there are only 14 job assignments and experiences that will grow your career the MOST in HR.

These are those critical few experiences that are indispensable and that you should aim to add to your resume over time. 

If one of these opportunities is presented to you, take it in a New York minute!  Because the more of them you have, the more valuable you become in your career.

That said, here they are.  The 14 most important job assignments and experiences that you should look to collect and accumulate over time.

Note:  You can view this larger and download it as a “one page cheat sheet” below.

This One Page “Cheat Sheet” 

Once you downloaded it, here’s how to use it: 

Let us know what you think in the comments below by clicking HERE.


Want even more inspirational tips, strategies and ideas for getting ahead in HR?  Then check out: WINNING BIG IN HR: 100+ Powerful Strategies For Accomplishing Great Results Faster & Getting Your Clients To Rave About You As A Human Resources Professional!   For more detailed information about this book, go HERE.

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 including WINNING BIG IN HR.  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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8 Responses to “The 14 Most Valuable Job Experiences For Accelerating Your HR Career…”

  1. Ahmed Says:

    Nice One Allan..

  2. Diana Says:

    Thank you Alan for constantly sharing valuable articles with us!

  3. Agnella Says:

    Much appreciated .

  4. Josephine Winfrey Says:

    I have all but two, #3 and #4. But I will say that having Line experience goes a long way in building your credibility with the people who are the bread and butter of the organization. Once you’ve walked in their shoes and they know that you have, they will have a different perspective of HR and respect you as a person for knowing what their challenges may be.

    Consulting experience will train you to be able to react quickly and effectively to any given situation that you may encounter. It will also help you develop that thick skin that you will need to pull out when necessary.

    Great post Alan.

  5. Alan Says:

    Josephine, congrats on accumulating these experiences. Terrific insights. Couldn’t agree with you more. Thanks so much for taking time to share them. Be well.

  6. Sharlonda Says:

    Thanks Alan! Always great information! By the way, your “HR Resume Secrets” book was a great help to me. Even after 18 yrs in HR, there were really good lessons for me to learn to better market myself for the next role. Also, just started “She Stole My HR Promotion”.
    Thank you for always providing resources to challenge & encourage me to be a better HR professional.

  7. Jason Paradowski Says:

    Thanks for this great summary and I definitely agree. It’s important to be thinking about the different types of skills you need to be developing, and acquiring the experiences you need to meet your own career goals. One great thing about the company I currently work for is that an HR person can get experience in almost all of these areas.

    For my own career, I realized a few years back that I’d had many of these types of experiences above, but freely admit I didn’t have a grand plan at the beginning. I had mentors along the way that helped to develop me, giving me a breadth of experiences that influenced the perspective I have today.

    This reflection was realized when I considered taking on my current role to start up a shared services team. I realized that I had operated as an HR generalist and business partner in small and large sites, in corporate and plant environments, in union and non-union locations, and been a specialist in many HR and non-HR functions. And my manufacturing experiences in cross-functional areas like controlling and logistics gave me skills in operations management; and other responsibilities like health & safety really helped me to get to understand manufacturing operations, maintenance, and process engineering in different ways than I could learn as an HR professional.

    As a result, I felt that I had a view to what our associates, internal HR partners, and other stakeholders might expect from a service operation because I’d sat in all of those chairs during my career. AND I had acquired an understanding of business process management, lean manufacturing, quality management, and general operations. In short, the whole package fit to what I thought would be needed to make this new team successful.

    Did I plan it that way? no. But now knowing this, do I use this perspective to help develop others and ensure they consider rotating through a variety of experiences to better prepare them for their future opportunities? You bet.

    So thanks for so concisely putting this summary together – I’ve used it already across our organization to spark the conversation!

  8. Alan Says:

    Jason, thank you for sharing your story & your history in acquiring these critical HR experiences. Your perspectives on this are excellent and quite instructive to all of us. I can definitely identify with what you’ve shared. Like you, I was very fortunate that at Quaker Oats and later PepsiCo, I had an opportunity to gain experience in many of these areas — field, corp HQ, generalist, specialist, union, non-union, etc. — if that was my desire.

    I confess that I, too, didn’t have a grand design or a goal. I tended to gravitate to those experiences that either built on my previous experiences…or represented an interesting challenge, provided a great boss to report to or frankly, best positioned me for an short-term promotional opportunity.

    It’s great that you’re using your own experiences and perspectives in developing others to ensure they are more thoughtful in considering the wide variety of assignment options they have. The folks you are coaching should consider themselves fortunate. And I’m thrilled that the summary above can be a helpful tool for you in your coaching endeavors.

    Thanks again for sharing your terrific insights.