Get clear on your career path. Elastic’s Alexis Young gives advice on how.
After six years in the accounting department of a staffing company, Alexis Young realized she was good at her job, but it didn’t fulfill her.
She pivoted her career path into HR in 2012 and joined Elastic as Senior HR Business Partner in 2022. Her role requires her to partner closely with her respective leadership team and the business to work through HR-related issues as they come up.
“I’m the front-line person,” Alexis says. “It could be as simple as directing employees to our HR shared service team and partnering on business objectives and coaching and supporting employees through various HR matters. My main focus is to help align Elastic’s people strategy with the business strategy.”
But, to get where she is today, she had to do some soul searching. While in accounting, she asked herself: What about my job do I really love?
“I loved coaching and developing my team,” Alexis says. “Through a series of conversations, I realized it aligned better with HR.”
She moved within her former company to an HR generalist role that really helped her hone in on the parts of human resources she wanted to participate in.
“The key for me was to get clear on what parts of HR I liked and did not like,” she says. “Because I was in a general HR role, I was able to gain experience in various areas of HR.”
Alexis continued to take on new opportunities and check in with herself to see what she enjoyed doing in her job.
“Early on in my career I was exploring HR and overtime, I recognized what areas I really liked,” she says.
That’s what ultimately led her to an HR business partner role. She knew she loved working with managers and the business and seeing the impact that it had.
“I help them navigate challenges that come up and support them through developing their teams,” Alexis says. “It’s all about building a strong partnership with the leadership team.”
Alexis hasn’t had the most linear career path, but she stresses the importance of being able to pivot when it makes sense for you.
Here, she shares more tips for navigating your career path:
Get a mentor
A mentor doesn’t have to be someone within your current organization, and I highly recommend having one early in your career, it can help hold you accountable to your goals and navigate challenges that come up,” Alexis says.
There are many different organizations that have mentorship programs, or you can do your own research and outreach within your network.
Connect with others
Similarly, it’s important to connect with others in your field. “It doesn’t have to always be about a job,” Alexis says. “It can be an informational conversation or a networking opportunity.”
For example, while in her accounting role, the Chief Human Resources Officer sat down with Alexis to have a conversation about HR and what she might be looking for. From there, they connected her with someone in HR who happened to have an opening, so Alexis applied and got the job.
“That conversation with the CHRO was invaluable,” Alexis says. “It really changed things for me.”
Work with your manager
Your current manager is also a valuable resource. Managers should get to know employees and ask questions about what excites them in their job and have conversations about career goals,” Alexis says.
Managers can use quarterly or biannual check-ins for these conversations and help employees create individual development plans.
“The [individual development plan] was a game changer for me,” Alexis says. “I took the time to find out where I was going and what my next steps were and narrowed in on the areas to focus on in the next one to two years.”
If your manager hasn’t had these conversations with you yet, be proactive. “Sometimes managers are apprehensive to initiate these discussions when there are limited career opportunities,” Alexis says. Ask for their help or opinion or start creating an outline of an individual development plan and seek their advice.
Alexis’ final words of advice:
“Be clear on where you're going and be careful of limiting yourself,” she says. “Let the opportunity drive you.”
Looking for a company you can grow with? Check out open roles at Elastic.