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What can I do to improve my career in HR?

Question :

Hi Doctor,

I am currently confusing what I can I do to equip myself for HR field. Would you please provide me some advice.

I am a fresh university graduate majoring in Finance. Throughout the study years, I find myself not interested in financial field.

After graduation, I look back my working experience. I worked in a recruitment agency as HR and Accounting Assistant for 6 years and I think this long experience is valuable and my major competitive advantage. So I am determined to pursue a career in HR. Luckily, I get into a large FMCG as HR Assistant and have been working for half year till now.

To equip myself for my future career, I am looking for courses (recognized by HKIHRM) to strengthen my education background.

Originally I want to find a Postgraduate Diploma in HRM, however currently there is no such a courses opening in any University or institute.
As I am holding a degree, I think lower level  education such as Diploma/Advanced Diploma/Professional Diploma in HRM is not a good choice.
For Master, it generally request applicant with at least 6 years related working experience and I think myself in not qualified. Also, the tuition fee is a large burden.

In long term, I do think my inconsistent education background will become a weakness for my to get a higher position. So my question is what I can I do to improve that. Thanks.


Posted by Pete on Sunday, 19 Jan 2014

Comments :

Dear Pete Thank you for your question. I’m not in the best position to give advice regarding the best HR qualifications but what I can do is help you create a strategy to make sure you are effectively managing your career in the direction you want. You want to equip yourself for your career but don’t say what direction you want to head in. Do you want to be an HR generalist or specialise in Compensation & Benefits for example? Target a direction your want to progress towards as this will help inform your strategy. You are currently working at a large FMCG firm and have only been there for 6 months, so my first piece of advice would be to speak internally to your Manager or Director and ask two things. ‘What opportunities are there for career progression?’ and ‘What do I need to do to achieve these?’ If your current employer requires you to have a professional qualification to move up the corporate ladder, investigate whether they offer study support. This could either be financial or additional annual study leave or even both and may make studying for a Masters (for example) more manageable and affordable. If your career options internally are limited and you feel you are going to need to move to another firm, I would suggest building up as much experience as possible in your current role. Try to take on more responsibilities and work on any relevant projects if possible. Look to build skills that will help you move your career towards the areas you are interested in. Most employers state their requirements when they are looking to hire externally and while these could include ‘degree educated’ or ‘professional HR qualification,’ they are also very likely to include a specific level of relevant experience. These transferable skills can sometimes be more important than a qualification, unless broader regulations require one. I suggest you look regularly in the relevant press and keep track of the roles you are interested in and what the requirements are. If they are experience based, look to develop your skills in that direction and if you keep seeing a specific requirement for a professional qualification, explore your options as to how best achieve that also. I hope this has given you a few ideas as to how to effectively manage your career in HR. Good luck! Fraser Douglas

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