How did you move on from your first role in HR?

Hi everyone,

Just looking for some friendly advice and your experiences on developing your career.

I've been in my first HR role for almost two years as a HR Administrator and I am really enjoying it, I love the work and I love my team and the company I work for.

I'm not thinking about moving on but I do want to hear about your experiences of moving from a similar band 1 role to that of a band 2?

I have reviewed the job description for the next role up in my organisation (which is HR Advisor) and have identified the areas I need to gain experience in to meet the requirements. I also appreciate that learning and becoming confident at these new tasks will take some time. (Timescale for me is not important as I want to make sure I can do the job!)

Please let me know your experiences, I'm really keen to hear how you've driven your career forward. 



  • Hi Georgia

    Welcome to the Community in spite of no-one replying for nearly a week!

    In think the reason is that this is quite a complex question, because any move upward is like climbing a ladder: you need to get your foot firmly on the next rung before you lift yourself upward.... But you can't do that without lifting your foot up first and committing to the step!

    In role-change terms; you need to feel comfortable with the role you are in now, confident you are ready to "climb", but accepting that (particularly in our "line of business") you can't really know all you need to know until you have committed to that step upward.

    At your level, that is usually most comfortably done within your existing workplace, where those above you are aware that you are "new to the job" so do not expect depth of experience regarding some tasks (the new ones), and are happy to be asked for support now and then.

    The important things to remember are that learning is a continuous process: None of us is completely "ready" for our next step up until we have got there, and reached our firm footing of experience in THAT role.... and there is no such thing as a stupid question, except the one that isn't asked, So if you go for the step upward, expect to be asking for advice in that role, and let yourself do so. Don't hang back just because you think you haven't yet gained enough experience in that role's functions because (by definition) how can you? You're not doing it!

    If you think you're ready for the challenge, and you have the support of your LM or mentor: Go for it.

    (....and don't forget you can always pick brains here when you need to, just as we all do when we're "stuck" for an answer) :-)

  • In reply to Peter:

    Hi Peter,

    Thank you so much for your welcome and your detailed response, I have found your reply to be really helpful and also very positive!

    I appreciate your expertise and hope to cross virtual paths with you again in the future :-)

    Warm regards,
  • Hi Georgia, I concur with Peter also. I have always found a new role to be daunting and I am starting a new one next week. I try and see it as walking through a gate into the unknown, it is uncomfortable, but once you step through it is an opportunity to learn and use learnt skills and knowledge, but sometimes you have to move sideways as well as just upwards to gain this.

    If I am uncertain I will post a question on here from ideas, suggestions and even support.
  • In reply to Jules:

    Hi Jules, thank you for your reply. That's a really good way of looking at it - I try to think that way too. In a years time you will know much more than you do now and will be more used to how things work in your new organisation.

    Wishing you the best of luck in your new role :-)
  • Hi Georgia

    I used my secretarial and administrative skills to get into the HR field and undertook my qualifications in the evenings. To gain more advanced skills, I got involved with assisting senior colleagues on HR based projects. This was useful as I gained relevant experience and it also it assisted me on my course.

    Once I gained my qualification and applied for a more senior role I was able to provide evidence of how I had worked at that level in those projects and this enabled me to secure the new opportunity. Over the years in different sectors, I have moved from PA in HR, to HR Assistant, to HR Officer, to Senior HR Officer to HR Manager, to Head of HR and now to Head of HR Operations.

    As you go through your HR career you’ll find that you will learn so much along the way, and no matter the sector you always find something you can take with you to the next opportunity.

    Best of luck.

  • Hi Georgia

    I have moved between roles via secondment each time within my organisation. It gives you a good amount of time to learn new skills and understand the role but there is always an option to return if you find it isn't for you. I am not sure if this is something your organisation offers but if so its worth considering. Mine were not by design, just that really interesting roles came up as maternity cover, some worked out to be longer term moves and others didn't. I had nerves before each one but I have found others expectations were not anywhere near as high as the ones I had of myself. No-one expects you to walk in an expert, just be willing to learn and enthusiastic to get stuck in.

    A move sideways can be as valuable as a move upwards as it gives you breadth of knowledge which I have found so helpful over the years having had the chance to work in both generalist and specialist teams so I wouldn't rule that out.

    Good luck!
  • Georgia, I agree with Peter although email prompts to post on questions can be a week before they land in my in-box so don't be too concerned about the lack of answers, it could be just timing :-).

    Gaining additional experience in your current company and in your current role as part of a development plan can be a great way of getting additional skills and showing your current or potential future employer that you have the understanding to move into an advisor role. Volunteering for additional work, checking out the CIPD professional map & using that as a way of plotting what skills and experience you need & identifying development areas would help. I found lots of learning so going to CIPD branch sessions, checking out topics on line - webinars, You Tube videos, Twitter chats like #HRHour can all help broaden your knowledge and connections. Reading books on HR advice can also help. You might also want to seek out a mentor - the CIPD have a mentor service or there could be a HRBP in your team who needs to gain that experience so it could be mutually beneficial for both of you.

    I wasn't always in HR I started off in line and project management and moved into HR so I don't have the direct experience of moving up through the ranks but I do know the move from a first to a second role of any kind can feel a challenge so keep plugging away. It will come.
  • Hi Georgia,

    I was quite fortunate that when I was working as a HR Administrator I was working in quite an open team and I was able to ask plenty of questions, especially when I was studying for my Level 7.

    From this I was then able to assist on projects that further enhanced my own understanding and gave me experience at operating at a slightly higher level albeit not officially. I was then able to assist and in some cases take ownership of some HR Advisor tasks to assist the team and my area of the business.

    There maybe someone in your team who may be able to assist you with broadening your knowledge. In the past year I have started to minute take our quarterly Equality meeting (normally this would be done by a designated PA, but I was happy to do so to expand my own knowledge as a generalist who is mainly involved with recruitment or absence related conversations), and it has put me on a new path of learning, and has left me asking questions but also I see things from a completely different perspective. But from this I have also been able to put forward ideas for consideration. Is this something that you could do in your company if it should align to where you have identified that you need further experience?

    Hope this helps

  • In reply to Arlene Anita:

    Hi Arlene,

    This is really helpful - thank you. That is exactly how I got into HR too! I'm 3/4 through my Level 5 now and really enjoying it, I feel like that has helped a lot with the theoretical side of HR too. Prior to COVID-19 I was shadowing our HR Advisor which was great but due to social distancing and other restrictions in our workplace, this isn't possible at the moment.

    It's really interesting to see your HR journey and this gives me lots of hope for the future! Thanks for your advice.

    Best wishes,
  • In reply to Emma Louise:

    Hi Emma,

    Thanks for your reply! That's a great suggestion. I'll definitely ask about the opportunity of secondment - i've nothing to lose!

    Best wishes,
  • In reply to Sharon:

    Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for your reply - that's really helpful. I have my own CIPD development plan which highlights some of these areas, but I don't have one at work, I think that should be my next step before anything else, thanks for highlighting this. I'll definitely check out the other areas you have suggested too, thank you!

    Best wishes,
  • In reply to Tracey:

    Yes I agree with Tracey. As all my HR career has been in large public sector organisations I have had the opportunity to move to different roles on secondment - it's given me the opportunity to try new things and gain new skills. It has enabled me to widen my skills into Recruitment and Workforce Analysis as well career progression from Personnel Clerk to Assistant at the start of my career and from HR Assistant to HR Advisor/Officer more recently.