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There’s no shortage of people renovating their houses.  Summer is apparently the season when HR executives decide to give the house a face-lift.  I hear reasons like, “We spend so much time in the kitchen, I want my family to be comfortable,” and so on.  That makes sense, but when was the last time you considered remodeling your career?  If you spend lots of time in the kitchen, the family room, or even the garage, and that qualifies for a home renovation, consider the amount of time you spend in your profession.  It’s probably time for a refresh!

Here are a few options.

Certificate from Accredited College or University

Numerous reputable colleges and universities offer certificates in general HR.  Additionally, you can find specialized certificates which differentiate your skill set and add to your employability.  For example, Michigan State University offers credentialing as a Certified Labor Relations Leader (where better to get labor relations credentials than in Michigan, right?).  World at Work offers the well-established CCP and CBP for those interested in Total Rewards.  It may be easiest to look first at respected, well-established schools or certifying bodies, and then consider the certifications they offer.  Think–what are the credentials others have that you feel make a difference in their value to the company?

Earn your SHRM or HRCI Credentials

Several years ago, SHRM and HRCI went through an uncomfortable divorce.  Since then, two credentialing paths have emerged for HR professionals.  Although both are similar in their offerings, SHRM’s credentialing has the SHRM name–there’s something to be said for that stability.  At the same time, HRCI’s credentialing has been around much longer.  Review each credentialing body’s offerings, what prep materials you’re comfortable with, and even the local options for in-person prep classes if that will help you study.  For example, in Arizona the SHRM State Council offers in-person classes for the SHRM certifications and universities have both online and ground-based prep classes.  You can also find prep materials at book stores or through specialty retailers.  The key is to focus on studying for the 6-ish weeks prior to the exam and to plan your studying based on the advice of the resource you select.

Pursue Your MBA

I know what you’re thinking, “Who has two years to dedicate to getting an MBA?”  Well, those two years are going to pass, regardless of whether you get your MBA.  Two years from now, in the summer of 2019, you’ll be two years older.  Your eyesight will be a little worse, you’ll make a hair more noise when you reach down to tie your shoes, and you’ll either have just graduated with your MBA or you will have skipped it.  If you chose to skip it, do so for reasons other than the time it will take.  Either way, that time will pass.  

Realize that your organization may either contribute to your effort financially, or they may pay for it entirely.  I’m sure you know someone in your organization’s HR *wink* who can give you guidance on the tuition reimbursement policy.  Local state schools have truly outstanding, world-class MBA programs–we’re very fortunate to have the resources we do in Arizona.  Realize July is the end of the student recruiting season–now’s the time to attend an info session and consider the degree.

Think twice about getting an MBA with an HR specialization.  Business leaders don’t complain about HR leaders who lack HR acumen, they complain about HR leaders who lack general business acumen.  A general MBA will provide you with a solid financial education, a dive into marketing and process flow, and numerous other dynamic aspects of modern business.  Go for it!

Join the Board of a Professional Association

Remember the theme is remodeling your career.  There are many, many worthy causes to give back to, and you should certainly be involved in the community if time permits.  However, the question we’re answering is what would enhance and renovate your career.  Volunteer for a leadership position or a position of responsibility with your local professional association.  There are numerous HR-related associations in every major metropolitan area.  Not surprisingly, many of them are SHRM affiliates, some are affiliates of the Association for Talent Development, and others may have different national affiliations.  Take a position with an organization that will add value and strength to your resume and falls in your scope of interest for your career.

Go ahead!  Remodel the bathroom that still has the velvet wallpaper and the lights that were on clearance 15 years ago.  But remember where you spend even more time than in any room in your house–your career.  You may want to remodel that, too!