Do HR Professionals Fail to Control their Own Careers?

HR professionals are not taking their own advice when it comes to managing their career according to a new survey by our friends at LinkedIn, with modesty and a lack of planning preventing them from taking control of their career and finding fulfilment in their role.

The study found that 42% of HR professionals don’t have any kind of career plan in place with 70% believing that they have missed out on promotions due to professional modesty. This compares to a national average of 51% and 56% respectively.

Perhaps as a result of this lack of control, the survey finds that almost a fifth (19%) of HR professionals feel ‘unfulfilled’ in their jobs whilst a further 22% view it as ‘OK’. This compares to a national average of 24% and 26% respectively.

The study of 2,000 workers across all sectors found that as many as 70% of HR professionals said they’d rather work in another job given the opportunity, and 40% admitted to regularly suffering ‘Sunday Night Blues’. It also found that a quarter admitted to feeling uncomfortable connecting with someone more senior on LinkedIn.

Richard George from LinkedIn said:

“As a nation, we’re famous for our modesty, but we shouldn’t let that get in the way of our careers. Knowing how to showcase your achievements doesn’t mean bragging; it’s an invaluable skill for getting ahead at work. And the same rules apply online as off. We were surprised to learn that 40% of HR professionals don’t have a career plan, particularly as this is advice they regularly give to people. But it doesn’t have to be complex or intimidating.”

LinkedIn today announced the launch of a ‘Career Control’ campaign to help professionals take control and plot a path to their future career. For career control, LinkedIn recommends:

  • Have a plan – To be fulfilled at work, you first need to decide what you want from your career – what are you passionate about, and what’s going to get you out of bed in the morning? Once you’ve got an end goal in mind, it’s much easier to prioritise the connections you need to make, and the skills you need to develop, to get there.
  • Plot your path – Looking at people’s careers that you admire can help you plot your own career path. Whether it’s Richard Branson or your boss, use LinkedIn to look at the path that they took – this will help you sketch out your career “to do” list.
  • Do your research – Whether you’re networking on or offline, the same golden rule applies – do your research. If you know who’s attending an event, for example, you can come armed with conversation starters, likewise having a bit of background on the people you’re networking with online can help you tailor your patter.
  • Big up without bragging – To show your skills without showing off, be selective. You don’t need to mention everything you’ve ever done on your CV, LinkedIn profile or in job interviews. Cherry-pick your best achievements, and make sure you’ve got tangible examples to back them up. Finding a colleague to endorse your achievements can also be incredibly useful.
  • Make sure your on and offline personas match – With employers increasingly checking candidates out online as part of the hiring process, the online world is your career “shop window”, so make sure your profiles are up to date and engaging. Also make sure the prospective employers can only access the things that you want them to – checking your privacy settings on social sites is important to make sure your personal and professional lives don’t mix.

(Research findings based on a Censuswide survey of 2,000 UK part-time and full-time workers, conducted in May 2013. This included 41 HR professionals.)

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.