A reader asks: Over the past couple of years I've made the transition into HR as an HR Coordinator. The role is challenging in many ways, but not necessarily HR-related challenges.
What I am finding is that in this role, I am spread out across so many responsibilities and it's difficult to put 100% into any particular area. I find myself yearning for a specialty, an area that I can really sink my teeth into.
I am interested in hearing your thoughts on how to make the most of generalist roles without becoming the proverbial "jack-of-all trades/ master of non" and suggestions on how to move into a specialized area of HR without having the experience.
I am an HR Generalist and I personally wouldn't have it any other way so I am a little biased. I enjoy the variety and, because HR is so interrelated, I find that having an understanding of multiple aspects helps me to ask better questions and make more complete decisions.
Having said that, there are aspects of HR that I enjoy more than others and aspects that I am more knowledgeable about than others. These are the areas I dedicate and devote time to enhancing my skills in and the ones people come to me for when they are seeking a level of expertise. If I were to specialize, it would be in employee/labor relations and performance management.
On moving into a specialized area of HR without having the experience, consider working as a generalist and using that time to develop skills. You will find the areas that resonate with you and can begin to build your expertise in that specialized area or area(s). Not all positions require a full-performance level of expertise and are established to develop and grow competencies. Seek these out.
There are pros and cons to each and you're cool no matter what you choose. With that, I am throwing the questions out the field: what can a person do to make the most out of a generalist role and what suggestions do you have on moving into a specialized role without experience?