Move to HRM career advice


Anonymous | 409 Posts

11 May, 2017 16:25

Hello fellow CIPD community members, 

I am due to leave the Royal Navy with level 5 qualifications in Leadership, Management, Coaching and Mentoring and CIPD HRM. 

My aspiration is to move into a HR management or assistant manager role in the Hampshire area. 

I have not worked in a HR job as such, but since 2005 I have worked in a comparable role with numerous transferable skills.  Including several large project management roles. 

I have a profile on Linked In, and i am building a network of HR professionals and recruitment professionals, but I am seeking any advice that would assist in my transition into a HR Management role? 

I would certainly consider commuting for the right salary as I have commuted an hour to work each day for 17 years, but preferably I would like to seek employment around Andover, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton or Salisbury. 

Thanks in advance,


  • Emma

    | 306 Posts


    11 May, 2017 17:23

    Paging who seems to be our resident ex forces expert!
  • Steve Bridger

    | 6927 Posts

    Community Manager

    12 May, 2017 07:07

    In reply to Emma:

    Thanks, . You might also be the first person other than me to do the @mention thing :)
  • Might I just say it may be slightly improbable to start out in HR at the HR Manager level. The way the market is right now, it is extremely difficult to get in even at the entry level HR admin type roles. I personally know someone who was a mid level manager in a top bank for 20+ years and then decided to move into HR. He had to start from the HR Administrator level (he also did Level 5).
  • Robey

    | 1331 Posts

    Chartered Member

    16 May, 2017 09:44

    This year was the tenth anniversary of my graceful exit from Her Majesty' service (Capt, RAMC). I left with the equivalent of a Level 7 qualification but couldn't find work at anything like the level I left (leading teams of 30+, with multiple direct reports and responsibility for critical operational and strategic projects). Since then, the Forces have done great work in managing the exit process for service-leavers but with some notable exceptions the civil sector remains woefully ignorant of the value offered by recruiting ex-Forces members. I tried to get a project off the ground with my local authority to address this, but got made redundant before I could get traction.

    Anyway, enough whinging.

    The crucial thing to note is that, due to having been in the Forces, you are unlikely to have direct experience of some essential, practical skills that you would be expected to have, entering a civil role as an HRM or equivalent.

    Recruitment, employment law, organizational development, culture change, L&D strategy, employee relations, trade unions, TUPE & redundancy...

    Now, *I* know that dealing with administrative action, courts martial, the Armed Forces Act, welfare, new recruits, training and all the various permutations of J1 operations will have given you the temperament and skills that mean that all of the above will come to you very quickly. But you are not likely to be able to talk confidently of your experience of handling a tricky off-boarding situation (except in the most literal sense, of course!) or of how you would go about designing a recruitment process for an in-demand skill-set and that's going to slam a lot of doors in your face.

    As a result, you are most likely to have to enter HR at a lower level than your skill and qualifications justify. I started (three years ago, as I took a career break after I left the Army for personal reasons) as a temp HR advisor for my local council on slightly less than half what I was paid in the Army (and a *lot* less in real terms). But the good news is that your other skills will help you excel, learn rapidly and quickly acquire the experience and knowledge you need to find your way higher up the HR career ladder - and excel at it.

    Having said that, you may be in a better position given your geographical location. Hampshire and Wiltshire, of course, have a very high density of ex-Army and ex-Navy people, which might mean that there's a former matelot CEO out there who would love to have a fellow salt in the HR chair and who's prepared to give you the time to get up to speed, given the other qualities you bring to the job. However, you might need to manage your expectations and be prepared to drop a few ranks before you can show your true mettle.
  • Good luck with the career change Gareth and maybe join your local CIPD branch there are lots of good sessions and networking opportunities to be found there. As others have said, make the most of your transferable skills, your background will add to the diversity of the profession :)

    | 2 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    6 days ago

    Hi You are lucky enough to live in an area with loads of good quality employers and HR roles. My advice at this stage is to create a CV that focuses on your transferable skills. Second employers are interested in achivements and not responsibilities so make sure your CV focuses on the former. Finally draw up a list of at least 12 target employers in your area that you wiould like to work for and set up job alerts with them. Happy to discuss further if you xcontact me at stephen@iiyc.co.uk or 01908 -613669. Good luck
  • Hi Gareth,

    I think you have received some great advice here. I am a Learning and Development Adviser based at HMS Nelson, I also provide 1:1 coaching, and resettlement support, and having retired from a thirty year career in the Police Service in 2012, I can understand your predicament.
    I find that military personnel don't always plan their tx in sufficient advance and haven't effectively aligned their military experience to civilian work roles, including the language used so as to make the transition from where they are to where they want to be.

    Good luck for the future.
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