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Ten Rules for Securing Your HR Job and Enhancing Your Career

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From the first day in the office, an HR professional devotes his or her time and effort to assisting others in the organization with scaling new heights on the career ladder. However, at the same time, efforts to secure his or her personal career often take a backseat. Therefore, here are a few rules from the career-advancement handbook that also apply to HR professionals:

Rule 1: Learn to Grab Attention.

Direct the limelight toward yourself. Learn to act strategically while climbing the corporate ladder and get the attention and recognition you deserve. If you have been working hard or have implemented innovative ideas or have put your problem-solving skills to good use, it is high time you climbed a few rungs yourself. Don't shy away from tooting your own horn occasionally when you deserve it.

Rule 2: Take Calculated Risks.

Accept difficult assignments and challenging projects. See that they get completed on time and have their intended effect. In your enthusiasm, however, do not overstep your limits. That would be professional suicide. Recognize what is achievable and what is not before plunging headlong into a task.

Rule 3: Be Focused.

A rule of thumb: be focused in your efforts and assess yourself. Be the best at your craft, whether it's managing people or developing policies. HR professionals need to create their own learning opportunities in order to raise their profiles and credibility within their organizations. Strike up meaningful conversations with veterans in the field whose integrity, discipline, and knowledge you respect.

Rule 4: Be a Sponge.

Be a sponge when you are new to a job. Soak up your surroundings while working alongside a colleague to better understand the ebb and flow of your position as an HR professional. Fish for ideas in all departments; you will catch on to things you may never have fathomed existed in the workplace!

Rule 5: Learn While You Earn.

While it is a cliché, this is the best way to master the role of an HR professional, and it is essential to keeping yourself professionally viable in the workplace. Its effectiveness can be elevated if an HR expert facilitates the process. Beware; idling will allow your competition to get an edge on you. The most surefire method for preventing this is to keep on top of career developments in the industry through seminars or training conferences.

Rule 6: Schmooze Effectively.

Don't be an island. Building bridges across the room, reaching out to a broad range of people several cubicles down, and maintaining these relationships through good communication are all parts of effective schmoozing. Schmoozing is not gossiping. On the contrary, it is the art of striking up conversations with a combination of people in the organization (rather than about a number of people) and garnering appreciation for your friendliness and approachability. Increase your popularity as an HR professional by reaching out to others.

Rule 7: Give 100%; Take 100%.

Maintain balance. Deliver an honest day's work for what the company is paying you. An enthusiastic jumpstart that ends in a slow-motion jog will draw as much attention as your efforts to be punctual and hardworking. Here are 10 tips for ensuring success:
  • Be a self-starter.
  • Be a high-quality performer.
  • Be prompt when delivering on promises.
  • Be honest in your dealings with others.
  • Be aware of the latest trends and act knowledgeably.
  • Be a critical thinker and analyst.
  • Be sincere.
  • Be brave enough to ask questions.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Be a willing teammate.
Rule 8: Be Tactful in Your Dealings with Others.

Diplomacy never fails. Be tactful in your approaches to peers and superiors, even if friction and disagreements arise while sharing the same space and tasks. Calm yourself before discussing a problem. When praising someone, be clear and generous; when offering constructive criticism, do it privately, quietly, and in an unbiased manner. Often criticism directed toward oneself is hard to swallow. However, a little tact can make bitter pills advantageous to your career. An evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses as an HR professional will provide an authentic checklist of your employer's expectations. Therefore, make effective use of reviews, treating them like guidebooks to success.

Rule 9: Be a Vital Element.

Make the company dependent on your abilities. Be multifaceted as an HR professional. Expectations for HR managers are not always spelled out. Going above and beyond to prove your efficiency and resourcefulness will never fail.

Rule 10: Take Charge of Responsibility.

Finally, if you are confident you have put forth your best effort and want to climb the corporate ladder, don't hesitate to ask your boss for a project that will earn you a pat on the back. Volunteer to work on special projects or take other calculated risks necessary to gain a promotion.

The climb is not that tough. You already know the way. Just keep pushing yourself toward the next rung, and you will undoubtedly reach the top.
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