Taking Time for a Career Check Up

The old saying about the cobbler’s children not having shoes can apply to HR professionals and their own careers. How many of you put yourself last on the list when it comes to career planning? Are you so busy counseling everyone else that you’ve forgotten to take a good look at your own needs?

With the start of a new year,  it’s a good time to inspect your own career and see if it’s time for a brush-up.

  • Personal Data
    • Is your resume up-to-date? Have you added new skills and accomplishments from the prior year?
    • Do you have a list of current articles or blog postings you’ve published, presentations you’ve made, or trainings you’ve conducted?
    • Do you have a list of 3 people you could readily use as a reference? Do they know what you’re doing in your career? When was the last time you spoke with them?
  • Networking
    • Are you active in your local chapter of SHRM? When was the last time you attended a meeting? Volunteered for a committee?
    • Is your LinkedIn profile up-to-date? Do you regularly add connections as you meet new people in the business community?
    • Have you invited a colleague for coffee or lunch anytime in the last month?
  • Knowledge and Credentials
    • Do you regularly read HR articles and keep your knowledge up-to-date?
    • Have you obtained your PHR, SPHR, or GPHR? If not, why not? If you have certification, is your credential up-to-date and do you have the credits you need to recertify?
    • What was the last new skill you learned or topic you gained expertise on? Is it on your resume?
  • Looking Ahead
    • Do you know what you want to be doing 5 – 7 years from now? Do you have a plan to get you there?
    • What are you doing to demonstrate your expertise to the HR community? (Hint: you can write for WomenofHR.com)
    • Is there a new skill you want to learn but have been putting off?

If answering these questions has put you in a positive frame of mind as you check off the items, that’s great! Pat yourself on the back for giving yourself and your career the priority it deserves.

If, on the other hand, you felt an overwhelming sense of “Oh crap!” as you read this list, do not despair!  A career checkup isn’t like your annual doctor’s visit – it doesn’t take place in one hour. And you don’t have to rush it.

Right now, think of three small, ridiculously easy things you can do to move you forward. For example,register for your local SHRM (or other HR association) chapter meeting, call a former boss or colleague and invite him/her to lunch, just to catch up or send a LinkedIn connection request to someone new you met in the last month.

Keep track of your progress and reward yourself for any action you take, no matter how small. Taking time for yourself and your career isn’t selfish, it’s just smart.

Photo credit iStockphoto

About the Author

Andrea Ballard

For 15+ years, Andrea Ballard, SPHR, has brought a unique, common sense perspective to the business of HR. A former HR Director and Training Manager, she advises companies on how to design/implement flexible work life programs to attract/retain top talent. A certified coach, she helps women create a balance between motherhood & career. She is the owner of Expecting Change, LLC, blogs at Working Mother and is on Twitter as @andreaballard.


Zharif Zahri

Greetings from HR REPUBLIC

Hi Andrea,

Your posts here is very insteresting and beneficial. I’m writitng to seek your permission to include this particular post ‘Taking Time for a Career Check Up’ in our monthly E-Mag named Guild of HR e-Mag for January issue.

In our previous editions, we featured articles by Sital Ruparelia, Jessica Miller, Mike King, Ed Newman and Steve Browne just to name a few.

Hope to hear from you soon.thanks!


Great post! I’m good about keeping myself up to date, but this is an excellent checklist to go through from time to time to make sure everything is good to go.


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