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How to Successfully Climb the Career Ladder as a Human Resources Professional

build-career-in-human-resourcesEveryday responsibilities and ever-changing industry developments can make it challenging for you to invest time in advancing your human resources (HR) career. Luckily, there are numerous innovative methods available to help you expand your knowledge and credentials. At MVNU, we’re dedicated to helping students attain online degrees in timeframes that work best for them. Here, we provide tips to support your progress in the human resources field.


While many small- and medium-size companies often employ human resource personnel who pivoted into their roles from related jobs, it is challenging to expand your career without educational experience. Some people find going back to school to earn an HR degree online most benefits their career outlook. At MVNU, we offer a BBA in human resource management and an MBA in human resource management. Both programs feature exceptional courses that transform HR professionals into more effective leaders across several specialties. 

Industry certifications also help boost your HR career. For example, the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) certifications indicate your qualifications in the field. Regardless of how you grow in your knowledge of human resources, rest assured you’ll be with like-minded individuals who can assist in elevating your career. 


In most any job, the more excitement and passion you bring to the role, the more likely it is for the leadership at the company to believe your work is first-rate. This statement is particularly vital in HR, where you encounter various situations that call for creativity. For example, HR teams typically must design cultural values that sustain long-term impact at growing companies. Instead of waiting for this assignment from your leaders, identify company needs and take action yourself. Don’t be passive in your HR position, but use your expertise to improve any ineffective processes or systems at your workplace. When you go beyond what executive leadership expects, you’re more likely to see promotions in the future.

While a proactive spirit is vital to human resources careers, you must consult your leadership team on any innovations you wish to implement. Additionally, seek office feedback on new initiatives to measure their effectiveness. Remember that some new ideas may fail, but don’t let that prevent you from rethinking them and trying again. 


There are numerous unique human resources careers, making it necessary to explore each path before selecting a specialized role. Starting with a generalist position can help you decide on a specialty to pursue in the future as it allows you to gain experience with many HR duties, including benefits, employee development, and payroll. Your company value and chances of being promoted increase when you choose a specialization, making room for a highly rewarding career. Take the following steps to gain a broader knowledge of HR:

  • Work on projects that expose you to areas your current role does not feature.
  • Shadow members of your team or outside teams to experience other tasks. 
  • Ponder your career goals as you try different positions to determine which are most beneficial long-term. 


Paid services will always be available to help you advance your career, but there are also countless free resources for HR professionals online. These materials can assist you with everything you need to climb the HR ladder, including:

  • Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn or Slack, for networking with other professionals in the field and discovering new job opportunities 
  • Local in-person gatherings or webinars for learning more about your profession from other HR professionals 
  • Open communities, such as HR Open Source, for sharing and borrowing ideas with field experts 
  • Informational newsletters or professional journals for offering advice from your experiences and possibly making new connections 


The human resources field is incredibly versatile, and many skills you’ve attained in past jobs may transfer to an HR role. If you apply for a new position, highlight all relevant job duties on your resume and write them to meet the job requirements. It also helps to consult your mentors and peers on your resume, as they may remember overlooked initiatives you worked on in the past. It also helps to consult peers or mentors who've followed a similar career path, as they can help you prepare for transitional challenges and note the skills most valuable to your new title.

When starting a career in HR, don’t refuse a position just because it seems below your experience level. As mentioned, the scope of many human resources careers is broad, and responsibilities differ greatly depending on the size and structure of the business. For instance, an intern acting as the sole HR representative may perform more duties than an HR Associate working on a team of five. 


As you gain more industry knowledge and experience, you can become more successful in your HR career. Begin your journey by enrolling in an online human resources degree program at MVNU. Our focus is on adult learners, and all our bachelor’s and graduate programs help students get an education while balancing their busy lives. Contact us today for more information.