7 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Career in HR

Dear Me (10 Years Ago),

Three days a week I take a commuter bus into the office. I live about 45 minutes away, it’s a great option to have! I joke with my colleague’s that I improve my efficiency by 1 hour and 32 minutes each day I take the bus. I must have been in a sappy mood last week, I was listening to country music, not a typical choice. A song came about what writing a letter to a younger you, what have you learned so far etc. I immediately thought about as each day passes, I become more like my parents. Terrifying Truth!

Really though, what would I tell myself fresh out of high school or college? What is common sense to me today in my career, sure wasn’t 10 years ago. Dear Me, listen up!

Communication Is King

Hiring managers, candidates and colleagues are your customers in the HR world. Even if it’s a quick email, they want to hear from you! Close the loop with all candidates! You remember how it feels to be a candidate, right? Even if it’s not the answer they want to hear, close the loop. Hiring managers want to know that you are thinking about them and their opening, that their position is important to you..a quick update will make a world of difference.

Education – Know Your Craft!

Stay sharp, make sure you know your stuff. I’m not saying go back to school and get your masters. What does your company offer? Take advantage of the resources around you. Over time you will become the resident expert, your manager will notice the extra effort.

Always Take The High Road

Stand your ground but, be humble. Pick your battles. Don’t be a push over. Not every difficult situation is a battle that needs to be fought. I constantly give myself “Adult Time Outs”. I assess the situation and make a move. 9 times out of 10 I will take the high road, correct the issue, and move on. Negativity breeds negativity, keep as much of it out of your daily life as possible. Do I get in situations where I bite my tongue, I sure do! Mellow out, show maturity in your actions.

Ask Questions – Create a Parking Lot

On a new project, learning something new? Do you feel like you are annoying your colleague’s or supervisor with questions? If you have a question that is not immediate, write it down. Create a list. When you have the person’s attention that holds the answers, ask them all at once or twice a day. They will appreciate the consideration of their time.

Do 1 Extra Thing a Day

Exhausted, it’s 4:55pm… I know you can do it! Make one extra call. Close the loop with one more candidate. Fold the last load of laundry. Whatever it is, do one extra task.

I never claim to be an expert, I learn something new every day. I am turning into my parents “When I was younger” “I learned this the hard way” etc. Every day is a new opportunity to learn from others around you, to add to your life experience file. I would also have told myself 10 years ago… lay off of the hairspray!

Jen Ray Fun Fact: I am a nerd, if I have the TV remote I am watching a documentary on anything from the shipping industry to North Korea.

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Jen Ray, PHR

Jen Ray, PHR is professional relationship builder by day, general contractor by night. Her experiences come from the retail, financial services and banking industries. Outside of the office, you will find Jen remolding her home in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Connect with Jen.

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