With the economy slowing and job loss on the rise, more and more professionals are finding themselves starting from scratch in a new industry. The Wall Street Journal reports that workers in industries like financial services, real estate, and automobile manufacturing are ''scrambling for a Plan B.''
Many people whine about not having what it takes to start over in a new industry, especially after a career that spanned years in a specific industry. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you’re good at what you’re doing now, you can make it in many other industries. There are some basic skills that will never go out of style, and everything else you don’t know you can learn.
So what are the key skills and types of experience you should highlight on a resume if you choose to join the HR crowd?
HR Professionals Must Possess Impeccable Communication Skills.
Any well-adjusted employee should have this one down, no matter what industry he or she is coming from. If you don’t, get it together now because it’s going to be a long road to retirement if you cannot excel in simple communication activities.
Sharing information with a team quickly and effectively is something an HR professional must be able to do. It makes the HR department run smoothly, and it keeps the company’s employees happy.
Also be aware that HR is the only department that advocates for all of the company’s staff. If someone has sexual harassment issues or a serious problem with a coworker, you are the go-to person. Make sure to emphasize your talent for understanding and collaborating with others on your HR resume.
Sales and customer service skills can come into play for this portion of your resume. If you cannot get along with almost anyone, HR is not for you. This is not the kind of job where you can hide away from the world in your office — your coworkers will hunt you down when they need something.
Organization and Record-Keeping is the Key to Success in an HR Career.
When you’re dealing with an entire company’s healthcare benefits and paycheck matters, you’d better have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed because employees couldn’t care about anything more than their hard-earned money and benefits.
For your HR resume focus on your management achievements so a potential employer can see that you know how to ensure success on any project. Discuss how your effective organization and follow-through skills have helped you achieve significant goals for your current or last company.
HR Professionals Should be Talented in People-Reading.
When much of your job entails interviewing and hiring employees for a company all year long, you really need to be able to spot talent when you see it. Companies spend so much money in foolishly posting jobs on ridiculously priced job boards and in publications that you need to be able to snatch up the great talent before it’s gone or your job ad expires. Remember: if you hire well, you won’t have to fire later.
This reminds me of an incident that occurred in one of my previous jobs. My boss and our HR director interviewed a staff writer to join my team. This man was all set to start with us on Monday. The Friday before he was scheduled to start, our HR director happened to stumble upon a news article about a former teacher who was being charged with multiple sex crimes against a former student. Hmm…and he had the same name as our soon-to-be staff writer.
Well, that came to a stop immediately. But the moral of the story is to have great analytical skills when reviewing resumes, a knack for reading people’s personalities and actions in person, and talent for investigative background research.