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Focus on getting experience, not titles
Focus on getting experience, not titles
Name: David Vavrasek, 32
Home town: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Occupation: Senior VP of human resources at a financial sevices company
Net worth: $650,000

David Vavrasek has had 10 jobs of increasing responsibility and boosted his compensation fivefold in the nine years that he's been in the corporate world.

The human resources veep says that one of the keys to moving up has been to focus on gaining skills and experiences, not simply titles. "In today's title-heavy world, your last promotion might not translate easily when you are competing for a new role," he says. "But your experiences will."

Case in point: When Vavrasek was getting started, he served as an HR manager for a sales group at a consumer-products company, but he didn't have any direct sales experience himself. So he asked to work in a sales position to understand better how these employees worked and then went on to manage a small team there.

This proved to be a deft move: He landed his next job when a recruiter contacted him for a higher-level HR position at another company that wanted someone with sales experience, not just an HR background. The move netted him a $40,000 bump up in pay. "Success requires managing your career like a business," says Vavrasek. "But you have to be good at what you do to earn those opportunities."

By Carolyn Bigda, Lisa Gibbs, Elaine Pofeldt and Donna Rosato @Money - Last updated July 20 2012: 9:02 AM ET
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