HR Leader Dustin Jones Shares Best Practices for Navigating Your Career Journey

Dustin Jones is an entrepreneur and HR leader who has expertise in developing talent, HR compliance, and change management.  

Here is what Dustin had to say when we asked her about best practices for navigating your career journey: 

GenHERation®: What prompted you to make the career transition from working for a state congressman to HR? 

Dustin Jones: My career transition was not a personal choice. I got married and moved from San Diego to Washington, D.C. where I worked for a nonprofit organization. When my husband at the time got out of the Marines, we moved to Texas. I ended up losing the marketing job I had and fell into human resources. I loved my HR job, had a great manager, and the rest is history. 

GenHERation®: How can you best market yourself for a role when you do not have all of the necessary experience? 

Jones: If you have an opportunity to interview for a company, the marketing is YOU. We typically look for a college degree to show that you are educated and completed something from start to finish. It does not matter what you studied as long as you are prepared, passionate, and show a willingness to learn, you’re in a good position. Show the company what you’re willing to do for them. Ask questions. Most roles are teachable, so as long as somebody has the personality and the passion, they will be able to get a job and succeed in it. 

GenHERation®: What is the best way to learn about a company’s culture to see if it is a good fit for you? 

Jones: Do your homework. It’s important to look at the company’s digital footprint. Whether you go to Facebook, LinkedIn, or the company’s website, look out for who their customers are as well as the general history of the company. It can be difficult to figure out a company’s culture from the outside, but it will be helpful to look at what they post on social media and what they choose to speak out on. Also, if you walk into a company for an interview, it is easy to get a feel for the company’s environment as soon as you walk in. 

GenHERation®: In managing a group of people within a company, what makes for the most effective kinds of policies and programs? 

Jones: The most important thing in managing a group of people is transparency. You can have all the policies in the world, but if you can’t be transparent with your team then you won’t develop trust. Trust is something that comes with respect and leading by example. If you ask people to be somewhere at a certain time, be punctual. If you are working with your team on a big project you need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and work side by side with your team members. Constant communication is also crucial. Communicating with your team will allow them to be better informed, so they can be prepared and perform their jobs more effectively. Lastly, as a leader, it is important to be the figure that always knows exactly what is going on in the department, so you can lead your team to success. 

GenHERation®: What are the most important skills needed to be a successful negotiator? 

Jones: TikTok and LinkedIn have people on their platforms who are expert negotiators. Find and listen to these resources. Real-world negotiation experience is far more valuable than taking a class on it. If you know someone in human resources or compensation, try to do a mock negotiation with them. Come prepared with something you want and the reasoning behind it, and you will be able to receive real-time feedback. 

GenHERation®: What steps should you take to prepare for a salary negotiation or a promotion?

Jones: When negotiating for a salary increase or a promotion, it is important to do your homework from a market equity perspective. Consider where your value lies. When making these requests, it should not be an emotional request. For example, don’t ask for a salary raise because you feel underappreciated at the company. It should be a factual request. Look at the market and how you have positively impacted the company. You need to be able to show what you’ve brought to the table with the company and what you will do in the future for the company. The more fact-based your request is, the better chance there is for a positive outcome. 

Dustin Jones began her career in politics, working for a California state congressman, but moved into human resources more than 20 years ago. She joined WorldLink in 2010 and was instrumental in developing expertise and best practices in HR compliance and change management. Dustin recently founded her own company, and is sharing her expertise with others. Dustin holds a BA in Communications from California State University–San Marcos. She is an active volunteer for Collin CountyHR and local veterans groups. An avid runner and outdoor athlete, she regularly competes in 5K races to support local charities, including the USMC MudRun to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Dustin has also completed the Management program at SMU. An adventurer at heart, Dustin loves to travel, snowboard, and wakeboard.

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