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What's the Most Valuable Item an HR Professional Can Have On His or Her Resume Today

December 20, 1999
Related Topics: Your HR Career, Featured Article
Responses from members as to the best item on an HR resume.

"An MBA is a huge drawing card, particularly for CEOs who want a strategic business partner in their HR officer. Transformational change experience is key due to the aggressive expectations of HR coming from CEOs and company leaders. Line or operational experience is attractive to CEOs particularly if the individual can demonstrate the ability to learn on the fly."

Bonnie C. Hathcock
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Humana Inc.
Louisville, Kentucky


"I suppose it depends on one's goals. I will answer from the perspective of someone who aspires to a senior human resources position.

  1. Executive exposure. Having daily, real interaction with senior leadership forces HR professionals to focus on the key business issues and "toughens" them up to learn how to push upwards when the time comes.
  2. Corporatewide responsibilities. These provide one with a high-level perspective on what the business is doing, as well as giving one breadth on the variety of issues that can occur in different work groups.
  3. A seat at the table. HR professionals should be, literally, sitting at the table (e.g., staff meetings and key conversations) and be viewed as an integral part of the business, working with both employees and management."

Phillip A. Weiss
Director, Human Resources
Continental Airlines
Houston, Texas


"I think by far the most valuable thing an HR professional can have on his or her resume is demonstrated productivity improvements within the business not just in HR.

For example, if you improved or instituted some process that impacted overall company performance, then celebrate it on your r sum . Did you effectively decrease time-to-hire? What was the bottom-line impact of that? Did you introduce a child-care program, or a distributed education initiative? If so, did it result in better retention, better service, higher quality?

Businesses want to be able to do more and better with less, and they can appreciate that quality even in their HR hires. Let your current and prospective employers know you are on the same page on improving the overall business."

Mark Koskiniemi
Vice President, Human Resources
Buckman Laboratories International Inc.
Memphis, Tennessee


"The most valuable experience any of us can have on our resumes will detail how we dealt with the tough issues that confront us as HR professionals. Neither the education nor the simple employer listing does enough to catch the eye of the recruiter in need of special skills. Each search has a need for a set of tools and an understanding how to best use them; the only way to effectively showcase them is with simple examples of how they were used to address the issues that face all employers equally."

Arthur E. Nathan
Vice President, Human Resources
Bellagio Resort
Las Vegas, Nevada


If you could begin your career again, what's the one thing you would do differently? Send your answer along with your name, title, company and location to Todd Raphael at and your answer may appear on or in Workforce magazine.

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