I recently downloaded your e-book. I can’t wait to print it out & dive in! Since you have been down this road before, I have a question for you.
I know that the way to network effectively is through social media. While I do have a LinkedIn account, it’s not 100% forthcoming on my objectives & my posted resume still looks “teachery”. The one I’m sending out in response to ads is geared toward the position. My question is about how a teacher dives in to using social media without colleagues/boss finding out your intentions. Should someone look me up I’ll be found out per se. I guess that’s why I haven’t joined your FB group yet. I am afraid of my teacher friends & colleagues finding out my intentions. It seems like we have to be shrouded in secrecy. How do other teachers do it?
I am looking to transition into HR. I am planning on taking an Intro to HR course through my local university in Feb. It is the first course in a series leading to an HR certificate. I’m bummed that I will most likely have to take a pay cut to transition even though I have two bachelors & one masters degrees. Sigh. However, I’ve gotta get out.
I look forward to your response.
S. in U. S.
Thank you so much for your email!
Your question is a very realistic one — to network efficiently you have to completely immerse yourself in it… but to completely immerse yourself in it throws a red flag to your peers and boss!
I’m not sure I know what the perfect answer is because I’d hate to recommend you “go for it” and then have consequences at work (my husband still teachers and I understand first hand how word can spread and people can pressure you or question your committment).
I can say that often we think more people are watching than they really are, and that social media privacy control can be very helpful. For example, when you make an update or change to your LinkedIn profile, you can click a button to not have the change announced to your network. That might be a way to add more HR-related things to your profile without drawing attention to them, but you’d want to be careful about it.
It’s always more fun to focus on positive actions though! It seems like a great approach would be to actively network and particupate in HR forums and blogs (the school you’re attending should give you access to at least some) and even in-person HR networking events where no other teachers will be. You can be yourself and show interest in HR in person without any consequences to your digital/teaching life.
Hint for networking: aim for networking events where you’ll meet other HR people, not necessarily generic networking events. That’s going to include “Best Practices” and “Continuing Education” type events where HR people have to go or want to go as a part of their job.
If you plan to write a blog or network in that way, maybe go by an abbreviation of your name and use an avatar as your photo so that you aren’t immediately recognizable. I used this one to make an avatar for a pen name for some of my articles, but you can google around to find a style you like.
From hanging out with a dear friend who is an HR director, I’d also love to offer this other tip: the sooner you can specialize in a certain kind of HR, the better. For someone shopping around to hire an HR person, they don’t want to hear that you have a passion for any and everything because then they’ll focus on your teaching background. Instead, they would want to hear that you were teaching, learned X, and then passionately pursued a very narrow field of HR because you’re dedicated to it (for example, medical practices, startups, finance industry, etc).
Obviously you’d want to wait to specialize until you know for sure that you love a particular industry, but once you do be sure to shout it from the rooftops!