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Human Resources/Career change to HR


QUESTION: Dear Pankaj,

I am an MBA with marketing specialization from Andhra University [2002 batch - full time]. I have over 10 years of experience in content management [writing, editing, publishing in both print and digital media]. I also have team handling experience of up to 3 years. In addition, after completing MBA I joined a small publishing business where I worked as Editorial Assistant - as the business had yearly publications, my work was mostly administration and also recruitment of seasonal contract sales boys.

I see no growth in content management anymore. I am now contemplating a move into HR field - my second area of interest. I am especially interested in Employee record management and background check, and other similar areas. Please let me know if I made the right choice?

I recently joined a highly reputed product based company in IT industry as Associate Manager - Content. I am part of the HR team as my role deals with training & development of sales & marketing employees of the company. I feel lucky to be sitting with HR team and see how they work and go about.

Would this be a good chance for me to explore and enter into HR?

Unfortunately, my MBA is not dual mode. The university did not have dual mode MBAs at the time I completed my MBA. So, I am planning to pursue a distance mode PG Diploma in HRM. Please advise if it is the right decision? If yes, from which institute of university should I do it from?

Thank you very much for being patient enough to read such a long mail/question. Please advise me.

Thank you & Best regards,

Kamal Raj

ANSWER: Dear Kamal Raj
Change of career is definitely an option that many explore and one that brings with it its own set of questions.

Moving to an area of interest is a good way to look at an option of career change. Given that you have an interest an HR, it sounds like a good move. Having said that, you need to understand that HR is a vast field as well and has various aspects. As I understand from your query, you are keen on record management & reference check. That is one dimension and part of the selection process & database management in the field of HR. It is also perhaps not as developed yet as an independent field though it exists as part of HR role in most organizations.

If you make that choice you need to be conscious that it may again not provide a major growth path. You also mentioned that you are fascinated by seeing the HR team's working in your current organization and role. Has that opened up new possibilities within HR that you feel you would enjoy.

If yes, then given the fact that you are part of HR, it may be worthwhile to explore how you could move to a role in HR in your current organization beyond what you are doing. That could perhaps be the easiest way to move into a career shift since the current organization knows you. Any other organization may give you a role based on your past experience. Also the lack of a dual degree may not come in the way of an internal movement as much as it will if you were to seek an opportunity outside.

The course that you are talking about will help you build your perspective. There are distance learning courses available from institutes like IIM Calcutts, XLRI (Jamshedpur), Symbiosis (SIBM, Pune), Narseemonjee (NMIMS, Mumbai) too. Enrolling in one of those will be far more helpful than any local institute.

Hope this helps your further thinking. Do revert with your thoughts or clarifications and I will be happy to respond further. All the best.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Pankaj sir,

Thank you very much for your advice. I am glad to say I am blessed by meeting you through this site.

Your answer has cleared some major inhibitions I had. I have few follow-up questions to ask. Please don't mind clarifying them...

1) You noted that "record management & reference check" is still an upcoming field. However, 90% of the companies have HR Operations and I have come by designations like VP-HR ops and VP-Employee Relations and other relevant titles. You noted that growth path is not so well defined or rosy now.  But I am keen only on HR-Operations and if possible legal aspects of HR. Please advise on how do I go about now.

2) How will other employers view midlife career switchers? I request you to advise me considering my case. To reiterate my profile: MBA-Marketing with 10 years of experience in content management - of these 10 years, 4.5 years go into administration and recruitment in my first company. Later on everything was into content. Currently, I am working as Associate Manager - T & D Content [HR]. Please let me know how do I sell myself...This has been one of the biggest worries bothering me in my way to achieve my dream.

3) Many of the institutes you mentioned do not offer 1 year PG Diploma - HRM..SIBM does but it's expensive. My company, as per policy, will pay up to 1.5 lakhs in terms of education fees for its employees. But this is based on business requirement. Currently there are no requirements in HR. It's all packed. So, in order to avoid any delay and to equip myself and be ready to grab an opportunity I am planning on pursuing distance mode PG Diploma - HRM course from Acharya Nagarjuna University [UGC/DDE recognized]. Please advise if this is a wrong move?

I thank you for your patience and expertise for having gone through and responding a tiring list of questions...

Best Regards,

Kamal Raj

Dear Kamal Raj
When I said that record management & reference check is an upcoming field, I was referring to organizations that specialize in this service. Organizations outsource to them. That is an upcoming field. When you talk about VP-HR Operations, then the role is different. Record management & reference check is just one part of their role. So, if that is what you are looking for, then you need to be prepared for a larger role than just these too.

As regards career switches are concerned, those are done by many people. As long as you are sure that this is your passion and you will enjoy doing it well, over a period you will be seen as someone who is part of this function and will have many opportunities.

Doing a course from a good institute will definitely be helpful. However, if there are financial constraints, you can do the course from another institute. It will help in building some perspective. However, as you move forward and get experience, add on to your perspectives by participating in various seminars and conferences. Even that will help.

Hope this helps you move forward. Do revert if there are other questions. I'll be happy to respond. All the best.

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Pankaj Bhargava


Questions related to choice of career, inter-personal issues at the workplace, performance management issues, structure issues, compensation structuring issues, culture building issues, linking HR with org. strategy


22 years in HR and Org. Development, designing & facilitating interventions, leading an HR team of an Indian multinational & facilitating multiple organizations across industries to build the desired culture to serve business need

HR magazine of TISS (an HR institute of repute - Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

B. Tech (Chemical Engineering) from IIT Mumbai (one of the most reputed engineering school in India) and PGDM (MBA) from IIM Kolkata (one of the most reputed management institutes in India).

Awards and Honors
Was awarded the Gold Medal for excellence in HR by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce at IIM

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