The HR Career Guide Answers Your Tough Career Questions

You want to succeed in life, and the Society for Human Resource Management wants the same for you. That's why we've put together The HR Career Guide: Great Answers to Tough Career Questions(SHRM, 2018): to offer work/life success formulas combining the best of my weekly "Career Q&A"columns from SHRM online.

Even though you've spent all your working life becoming excellent at what you do, you may be deficient in the areas that can ensure your ongoing economic survival in a world without job security, including:

  • How to get job interviews.
  • How to turn job interviews into offers.
  • How to make your job more secure.
  • How to climb the ladder of success.
  • How to prepare for the unimaginable but inevitable.

The guide provides practical and effective advice for handling even the most discombobulating career management issues you may face—from choosing and changing careers to navigating every aspect of job search, interviewing and professional growth.

Each question is from a SHRM member and focuses on the specific difficulties that HR professional is struggling with; I give each one a comprehensive, no-bull answer. The book is organized by chapters that make it easy to pinpoint topics such as:

  • Starting and guiding your HR career. In this uncertain world, successful careers don't happen by accident. They need to be planned and guided with careful attention, and this chapter shows readers how to overcome challenges to launching a successful career.
  • Resumes. Resumes are a no-pain, no-gain proposition. They not only form the foundation for successful job search and promotion efforts, but, properly done, they also help you prepare for interviews, keep you in tune with the changing needs of your profession and empower you with the tools to guide your career much more effectively.
  • Job search. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans change jobs about every four years, so knowing how to get job interviews is a critical career skill. This chapter shows you how to develop a more effective job search strategy so you can survive and prosper over a long career.
  • Networking. While you must have at least 70 percent of the technical skills for the job you are pursuing, how well you are connected to your professional community can greatly ease the many transitions you will make over the course of a long career. This chapter shows you how to build strong, profession-relevant networks and provides tips on how to nurture and leverage them.
  • Interviews. The ability to turn interviews into offers is an important asset. HR professionals, because they are involved with and/or surrounded by selection activities on a daily basis, often believe they know how it's done. This chapter shows how to turn interviews into job offers.
  • Job stability. True job stability is a thing of the past. No one is safe today. In this chapter, I answer questions about anticipating layoffs, recognizing a setup for termination, dealing with unhelpful managers, boosting job security and getting assignments that develop your competencies.
  • Leadership. Managing up, building leadership skills and applying them in difficult environments are all vital to leadership. This chapter provides guidance for developing these skills, plus tips on how to break into management.
  • Promotions and transfers. This chapter covers positioning yourself for growth and advancement, creating experience-building opportunities, earning certifications, making internal transitions, winning promotions, and other tactics for keeping your short- and longer-term goals in focus.
  • Job change. So, when is it time to make a move? This chapter lays out the planning and timing of making a strategic career move, changing industries, changing countries, tailoring your experience to specific jobs, handling limited options and more.
  • Career change. Moving into or out of HR is far more challenging than it is for many other professions. This chapter offers advice on how to execute a complete change in early, middle and late career.

How successfully you guide and manage your career affects the quality of your entire life. Yet the best advice in the world can only help to the extent that you absorb and apply it to guide the trajectory of your professional future. You only have this one life to live, and The HR Career Guide can help you increase your odds of forging a successful, stable and fulfilling future.

Martin Yate writes the weekly SHRM online column "Career Q&A" and is the New York Times best-selling author of Knock 'Em Dead—The Ultimate Job Search Guide, (Adams Media, 2017), now in its 32nd edition.

Submit a career question to Yate at


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