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In today’s knowledge-driven global economy, having top-tier talent can be critical to success. As a result, senior management teams need smart, strategic HR leaders who can guide them in developing and implementing strategies to efficiently attract, retain and manage employees. If you’re looking to move into a strategic HR management role, here are four steps that can help you to establish yourself as a respected HR leader.

1. Join an HR organization.

With over 300,000 members, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest professional HR society. SHRM provides members with a vast and useful assortment of resources, including sample employee handbooks, HR forms, policies, employee engagement surveys, how-to guides, job descriptions, interview questions, salary data and more. SHRM also offers in-person and virtual events that support professional growth and offer a chance to network with influential HR leaders in your region and beyond. Whether at an event or online, connecting with other SHRM members can lead to exciting career opportunities. For students, SHRM offers discounted membership and event rates, as well as student-focused events and scholarships.

2. Commit to lifelong learning.

Earning a master’s degree in human resources management can equip you with new skills, and, according to the BLS, potentially give you a leg up in the job market. After completing your graduate studies, HR certification is another way for you to gain and demonstrate expertise. The most well-known HR certifications include SHRM-CP, SHRM-SCP, PHR and SPHR. From there, staying knowledgeable on industry news and research findings will be important in your career. Legal changes, in particular, can require organizational changes, so understanding potential laws and regulations and their impact on the business can make you a valuable asset in your company. Many courses and trainings are also available to help you sharpen your skills and stay up-to-date in key HR areas like training and development, payroll, health and safety, recruitment and succession planning.

3. Align yourself to organizational needs.

If you’re looking to advance in your organization or move to a specific company, think about what it might take to help them solve their HR challenges and grow their team. Once you list out some things that might be important, identify areas where you know you’ll be able to make an impact as well as any skills you still need to develop and demonstrate. Beyond that, consider whether your current activities are aligned to the organization’s mission. Even if your past performance shows that you’re smart and talented, companies want employees who share their values and passion. Find ways to get more involved with their industry or support their mission in the community. Doing so will show initiative and that you’re well-matched with the company.

4. Learn to utilize the power of technology.

As it has everywhere, technology has revolutionized the HR field. HR professionals need to understand how to evaluate, use and manage technology like internal communication systems, e-learning software, employee benefit self-service platforms and online recruiting tools. HR metric and information systems are especially valuable, as they can allow you to easily track and share the critical value you and your department provides. When used properly, HR technology becomes a tool that helps you more efficiently and effectively identify and solve problems—and sometimes even stop potential issues before they occur.

If you currently work in HR or are looking to build expertise in this field, learn more today about how South University’s Master of Science in Human Resources Management can help prepare you to pursue a spot in your organization’s senior strategic leadership team.

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