My career in HR is going really well, but I've been advised that to get to the really senior roles, my best option is to make a bit of a name for myself in HR and start networking like crazy. Any suggestions?
Suzanne Taylor, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes
This is wise advice as you will need to have both a broad HR and wider business perspective in order to move into and succeed in the most senior HR roles. Initially, of course, you should be building networks within your company, but also should consider how you can build contacts and share ideas externally. Local CIPD forums are held regularly and this is certainly something you should get involved in. Building networks outside of HR is also invaluable and the Chamber of Commerce will be a good starting point for this. Addition-ally, if none already exist, consider starting-up network groups yourself with local businesses or companies within your industry. Finally, in order to gain these senior posts, it is important to have gained a first-hand perspective from more than one company, and perhaps more than one industry, so you may need to consider moving on from your current role.
Victoria Wall, managing director, Victoria Wall Associates
Although the contacts you meet through networking can be useful, I do not believe it is necessarily the answer to promoting your career. If you are presently challenged and doing well in your role, try to increase internal awareness of your ambition and abilities. If you were keen to make a name for yourself externally, respond to articles written in the HR press and media - intelligent or controversial viewpoints are often read and noted. In addition, it would be worth researching and attending a couple of HR conferences - focus on content and good speakers, and, if possible, attend a formal lunch in the hope that you will be seated with informative and influential people. In my experience, net-working is time consuming and hard to control. While it may enable you to expand your knowledge of 'what people think and are doing in the HR profession', and give you the opportunity to promote your skills, I would not suggest it is a reliable method of getting into senior management.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
Your question infers that the only way to get to the senior HR roles is to spend more time on the golf course and join