What HR career advice would you give your younger self?

Steve Bridger

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Community Manager

2 Jul, 2019 09:49

A bit of a sneaky question to draw you in... but in all seriousness this Community surfaces many of the challenges people professionals face at various stages of their cereers.

aced throughout their career and try to draw out some common themes. So, back to the questions...

  • What career advice would you give your younger self?
  • What has been your most important resource when thinking about the career progression you have made to date?

...and with my CIPD hat on, how have CIPD resources helped you to progress your career to date (leaving to one side qualifications and professional recognition)?

...and what kind of resources for career development do you feel the CIPD could provide that we do not already?


  • Careers advice - think lattice not ladder - think about gaining the broadest possible experience both inside and outside of HR. Gather experiences rather than just seek next big thing. Commercial knowledge is as important as employment law.

    Most important resource - looking at the careers profile of people I admire and people I aspire to emulate.

    To be honest i haven't greatly used the CIPD careers resources. So its hard to answer that question.
  • Interesting set of questions - despite the typos :-)

    1) Advice to my younger self.

    - Focus on getting the basics right (HR admin) - without that you won't have any credibility in the more professional/technical areas

    - Build up a network of practioners whom you respect and don't hesitate to exchange with them regularly - this will serve you for a very long time, provided that you maintain the network up to date as people move on, retire, are promoted etc.

    - Once you are confident with a decision or point of view, it won't sell itself. Make sure you understand how you will convince the deciders that it is the right decision in THEIR eyes, and build/rehearse the appropriate arguments to get it supported.

    - Best practice is a dangerous illusion - focus on identifying the solution(s) that are appropriate to the specific context in which you operate - what I call "best fit" (took me a few years to get there)

    2) Ressources for considering career development

    - by and large this has been through discussing opportunities (both looking and deciding) with respected peers/friends in a strong personal network

    Like Keith, I haven't used CIPD resources for career development - my career has been strongly international and for the last 25 years based outside of the UK, so no comment on that point 

  • Johanna

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    Community Manager

    2 Jul, 2019 11:10

    In reply to Keith:

    this community comes in useful as a careers resource occasionally!
  • As Ray said, advice to younger self would be to build my knowledge in as broad a way as possible. For me that included taking roles which were not HR per se but which gave me a broad exposure to the commercial aspects of the business which has been invaluable over the years. Build up a network of contacts whom you can bounce things off with. This forum has been invaluable for that over the years as has been my own network of contacts built up over my career.
    I don't tend to use a lot of the CIPD resources, apart from factsheets and updates at time.
  • -Careers advice to my younger self? Think harder about specific career goals and formulate a plan to achieve them. It's very easy to drift from one job to another. Having said that, my career history has underpinned my general knowledge of commercial business which is an important aspect of dealing with HR.
    -Most important resource for progression of my career? Two things have helped enormously: (1) Professional relationships with colleagues who have been generous with knowledge-sharing and advice and (2) the internet! It gives you access to the CIPD, ACAS and too many other resources to mention here.
    -CIPD resources that have helped progress my career? I use CIPD resources regularly, for example fact sheets, reports and survey results. I use these (as well as other resources) to make sure my knowledge is up-to-date and I can respond to queries and MI requests confidently. I'm convinced this has aided my career progression in my current company, in terms of being thought of as someone who is well-informed and whose responses are based on fact and not (too much!) on opinion. In a nutshell- being good at my job.
    -Other career development resources? I can't think of any at this moment in time!
  • Advice to younger self - feel the fear and do it anyway (after assessing the risk first). Also find a good teacher in the Business/HR and gain as much experience/learning from them as possible and then do the same for someone new to the profession - they will appreciate it. Finally don't focus too much on the can't when advising on a situation but the outcome and how best to get there! It took a while too!!!!.
    CIPD resources - I like the bloggs, attend the CIPD network events for networking opportunities and sharing of information and use the factsheets and website and employment law helpline too.
  • Steve Bridger

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    Community Manager

    25 Jul, 2019 14:02

    In reply to cmoroney:

    Thanks for 'bumping' this thread,
  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    Don't focus on HR first. Get a job on the shop floor first. Then get a job as a supervisor. Then go for HR if you want to. Why? Because you'll be giving good advice based on the needs of the company and not just because it says its good practice in some HR book. And there's nothing better in my opinion than knowing how the shop floor and the shop floor workers think and makes them tick.
  • What career advice would you give your younger self? - You won't have all the answers after a course here and a seminar there. Everyone is always learning and it's not always black and white. Learn to listen more and be open-minded to the possibilities. 

    What has been your most important resource when thinking about the career progression you have made to date?  -  I completed my Level 3 Diploma a few years back, and it was a fantastic stepping stone into the world of HR. Since then Its been about learning from as many different people as possible. 

  • Johanna

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    Community Manager

    26 Jul, 2019 12:20

    In reply to Jack Davison:

    Love your first paragraph Jack! The principles around the new Profession Map are a useful sense check too peopleprofession.cipd.org/.../principles-led

  • I would have told myself to take some of those free course back in the early 1990s (US university so not cheap when paying for every course)
  • In regards to what career advice I would give my younger self?
    It's ok to try new things and make mistakes, you don't need to constantly compare your career progress to your friends, family or peers as it's really just a matter of perspective. Everyone is on their own career path and life journey and so it's best to focus on what you learn from each experience. Try to stop and take stock of your achievements a little more rather than running ahead on to the next challenge.

    What has been my most important resource when thinking about career progression?
    Resources can be found in the most wonderful of ways and not always where you would traditionally think. It's the people around you that can help you to progress in your career, always try to add value wherever you work and help people. This will in turn allow people the opportunity to pay it forward as you form a network of advice. Looking at how influential people have overcame challenges and understanding that there is more than one way to progress.

    How have Cipd resources helped to progress my career to date?
    The cpd map tool has been great at helping me to know where knowledge gaps are and where my strengths lie. This has allowed me to self benchmark my own achievements.

    What could Cipd provide for career resources that they currently don't?
    Resources that focus on less traditional ways of learning that are better suited for those who aren't quite so academic in nature. Maybe a networking event with a skills swap shop type thing.