How Do I Break Into Other HR Areas Besides Recruiting?

June 19, 2012

Dear Unwilling:


You have a minimum of three important issues here.

1. You have not been able to get good assignments and therefore have a lousy résumé.

2. You are positioned as a recruiter despite having years of other HR experience (although you don't tell us what that experience is).

3. Like many human resources professionals, you are using ineffective job-search techniques.

Let's take each of these one at a time.

1. You have not managed your career well. When a manager wants you to do recruiting, you are in a position to negotiate. You could say, "I'm happy to handle this recruiting that you need done, but I know we are working on a special project too and I'd like to help out on that as well." Help your boss, but also take care of your own career. Six years is a long time to go without significant assignments that build your résumé. What's more, if you work on important assignments rather than just what the company needs to have done at the moment, you have greater job protection. You become one of those people who are involved in important projects and are considered to be almost indispensable. .

2. Make a list of all of your job-related accomplishments—things you have enjoyed doing and have also done well. Chances are, there are at least a few worth bragging about (and that are not recruiting-related). In the summary section of your résumé, start with those as bulleted accomplishments. These are what you want the reader to see first—not your job titles or recruiting experiences.

3. Most HR people, even those in very senior positions, rely on search firms or network with other HR people to hear about openings. For example, HR professionals who earn more than $100,000 a year typically get 38 percent of their meetings (and their job offers) by contacting companies directly. Contact search firms, answer the ads and network, but spend most of your time thinking about the companies that would be most appropriate for you, Find the name of the person you should contact and then contact that person directly. Very senior HR people need to contact company presidents and division heads. You may need to contact the heads of HR in appropriately sized companies.

SOURCE: Kate Wendleton, president, The Five O'Clock Club, New York

LEARN MORE: For further views on this topic, please read How Fit Is Your HR Career?

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.