I recently realized how much I love working in HR since I was recently working in manufacturing as an HR assistant but was very hands on in the way that I did the same as the HR manager did before she moved to safety. After that I did some temp work and missed all my HR duties.
I completed my first week as an HR assistant at a great financial services company with 4 people in HR. I am the only one without my PHR and I fear I will have trouble moving up in this field without it but I feel like I’m stuck in a “catch 22″ since I can’t get my PHR without being in an exempt position but without my PHR I don’t know if I will ever get an opportunity for a higher position. I currently have my associates with a concentration in HR but what do you think I can do to insure my HR career goes in the right direction?
I have 9 years of HR experience, 8.5 of which were as an exempt employee. I earned my PHR certification in June of 2007. I’m living proof that you don’t need the PHR to get the exempt job.
First off, slow down. You’ve been in your HR assistant job for one week. (Well, one week when you wrote this, it’s been a month, so now 5 weeks.) No one expects you to be promoted within that time frame. You also don’t know enough to know if you can get promoted. So, take a deep breath, and relax.
Now, how to get ahead. You have an associates degree with an emphasis in HR. Fantastic. Go back to school and finish your bachelors degree. Please. Many companies won’t put you into an exempt position without one. Go at night, go on the weekends, go online, but get the degree.
When you’ve finished that (probably 3-4 years, since you’ll be working full time), and you have all this lovely HR assistant experience, you’ll be ready to jump into an exempt role.
You may be able to find a job that will put you in an exempt role before you have the degree, but they will be more likely to take you if you are demonstrating that you are working towards it.
Don’t turn down opportunities to learn at your current job. I love that there are only 4 people in HR. This means that you will be exposed to the broad spectrum of HR duties and responsibilities. Yeah! I love broad knowledge. You can specialize later.
Those boring power point slides that people need formatted? Volunteer to do that. Not because you love pointing and clicking, but because you may not be invited to the actual meeting, but if you read through the materials beforehand you’ll gain the knowledge anyway.
Don’t worry too much about jumping to an exempt role immediately. An HR assistant is a great place to start, especially with a 2 year degree. Work towards the 4 and gain all the knowledge you can and you’ll go places. Don’t worry.