HR Assistant to HR Advisor

Linzi Murphy

In one of my previous blogs, I discussed ways in which candidates could progress their way up the career ladder. And it really struck a chord with me as to just how many conversations I have with my candidates concerning “taking the next step”. There are so many dedicated HR professionals, who have the ambition, the credibility and the skills to elevate their position.

More often than not, it’s HR Assistants looking to become HR Advisors. This is an area where there is a lot of talented candidates who can struggle to move up as they are often competing against candidates who have managed to procure advisory experience.

The HR Assistant and the HR Advisor are two very different roles, which is why it can be difficult to progress.

The HR Assistant role is mainly the administrative tasks in an HR function – it is a generalist position where you will provide support to the entire HR team. Most HR Advisor roles have an emphasis on employee relations, therefore exceptional influencing and relationship building skills are essential as well as first class employment law knowledge.

So, if you are looking to make a career move, here is my advice as to how to transition from Assistant to Advisor.

Experience

HR is definitely a career where the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. You have to be motivated enough to take the initiative and ask for responsibilities at the “top end” of your remit. You could also ask to shadow more senior HR employees within your business to gain insight as to what it takes to progress.

Understanding

Business acumen and strategic thinking are two qualities that all senior HR professionals possess. How do yours compare? You should be willing to ask questions – why and how – in order to gain a broader perspective as to how the HR function operates within your business. Read as much HR content as you can to keep yourself up to speed with legislation and technology.

Sidestep

If you aren’t progressing at your current organisation, consider a lateral move to a competitor or a different market. They may well offer more professional and personal development opportunities, which will enable you to hone your skills in a new way. It’s important to research the role thoroughly, however, as the only reason to make a “side move” is to take on more responsibilities and learn as much as you can.

Realistic Expectations

There is no “cheat sheet” for progression. You can’t expect to graduate from university and walk in to a HRBP role. You have to accumulate a broad range of experiences and responsibilities in order to work your way up. Another thing to consider is the size of the business: If it’s a small, one man band, the likelihood of promotion is probably less in comparison to a bigger company.

If you would like to speak to me about your career options within the Scottish HR market, I’d be delighted to have a confidential conversation. Click here to see my details and get in touch.

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