Ok so you’ve made it through the doors of the building and you’re sat in reception waiting to start your first job in HR, and if you’re like me, you’ll be thinking, “what the heck am I thinking?” “why have they hired me?” or “can I actually do this job?”. Thoughts to that effect were the exact ones that I had on my first day at Entertainment UK.
If you find yourself in that position, always remember that they hired you for a reason.
When I spoke at the CIPD student conference in March this year, these were the thoughts I poured out to those in the room. Self doubt is incredibly common and something we all go through at some point in our careers, so here are my top tips to get your HR career off to a flying start!
- Be honest; you’re not going to know everything, ask questions, if you’re not sure, ask! There is no shame in asking for help, if you ask, it shows courage, not weakness. Be honest, say you’re not sure and learn from the answers you are shown. Even now, 12 years into my career, I’m still curious and asking questions, it’s what keeps our profession exciting; every day is a school day!
- Get networking! There are so many ways to interact with other HR professionals, so join in Twitter chats such as HR Hour on Thursday’s, by having a network of other HR professionals, you can easily access help and support when you have questions and when you just need someone to bounce ideas off of.
- Take everything in! Take time to get to know the business, master the basics and remember don’t run before you can walk. There were times as a HR admin that I wish I’d just “progress already” and it’s easy to get carried away, but by taking my time, I was given the exposure to the commercial environment, this has put me steps ahead in my career and without it, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
- Get involved with your people! Don’t hide behind the screen, it is not where your people are. The first hour of my day was spent with people, catching up over morning coffee, finding out their pain points and getting the information I needed first hand, by actively listening to your people, you can build relationships, influence and support people much more effectively. You can’t do that over email!
- Have a good sense of humour; you are human after all! Maintaining a good sense of humour helps to get you through the more challenging times when everything seems to be an uphill struggle.
- Have confidence in your own ability; HR is anything but black and white, it’s not even grey, it’s more like a rainbow! Develop your own working style, explore options, if you don’t know about a subject but are curious, read up on it. These skills are particularly effective when problem solving and getting involved in employment relations, you need to look at options from every angle (even the angles you don’t really want to look at!)
These are just a few tips from my forthcoming book Kickstart your HR career which will be available from January 2019 – watch this space!