Own Your Career by Doing the Work

September 22, 2021

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I'm Ricklyn — Career Coach for HR Professionals. I'm here to help you elevate your career.

Meet Ricklyn

Today I am joined by Carla Patton co-owner of The Career Salon, LLC.

Carla is a certified professional in human resources offering an 18 year career distinguished by commended performance improvement results. She has demonstrated success in a broad range of HR related activities. Carla prides herself on inspiring trust and engagement with business partners through building relationships at all levels of an organization.

Carla also has a podcast with her twin sister covering issues related to career mobility, diversity and inclusion, human capital, and leadership. She recently was recognized as a top HR influencer of 2021 by the Black in HR Organization and Community.

Brown Square with Gold Frame with So You Want to Work in HR? the Podcast with Ricklyn Woods Logo featuring Carla Patton with her headshot in a circle.

Do The Work, Get The Job

In order to get a job these days, it takes a lot more than just applying and interviewing well. An applicant's connection to the people within the company support their case to be hired.

"Our work hinges on connecting with people; networking is pivotal when you're talking about transferring into HR."


What work can we do to not only build our body of work that cannot be denied, but also build strong relationships with those who can open doors? Carla encourages us to consider the following:

  • Build your personal brand
  • Volunteer or pursue a part-time internship
  • Find a stage to put yourself out there
  • Start a podcast or a blog
  • Be consistent


You do need someone to see you doing the work and give you an opportunity - that foot in the door, and while you wait patiently for that person, immerse yourself and get involved! You can show up by connecting with an association, stand for something, and be present at networking events.

See The Work Environment Before Experiencing It

As you prepare for an interview, you polish your resume, present yourself well, and consider your answers to professional and behavioral questions. You want them to know you're bringing much to the table! But what about the company? What can you do to ensure that you are able to see a clear picture of what their work environment entails?

During the interview you can gain a glimpse into the work environment by asking the right questions - even uncomfortable questions!

"You had a situation at a prior job that you saw and you really didn't agree with how management address did or the policies. You can say, 'If I had this happen at your company, how would you handle it? What would you do?' If they can handle being uncomfortable in an interview, that's a telltale sign. They will be willing to be open to ideas and uncomfortable conversation."


How can you develop these questions for your own interests? Think about all the experiences that have bothered you during your career. Build your questions around what you saw and how you felt.

Leverage Your Network Before Discounting Your Skills

An opportunity presented itself to Carla Patton that included HR analytic work. Patton, aware of her own strengths and opportunities for improvement, reached out to her mentor for insight who said, "Carla, you can do it." Equipped with books, Google, and support, Patton confidently displayed her skills and transparently spoke about her learning. Unafraid and unashamed, Patton leveraged her network and pursued the opportunity!

"Some people see that as a sign of weakness, but when you grow in your career, you really see that that's a sign of strength and professional maturity."


"There is no lesson like a bought lesson."


Patton's mom always encouraged her to go and figure solutions out for herself. The time it takes to ask questions and research will only solidify the answer in your brain longer. This old school advice stands tried and true.


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