Need a breakthrough...

Hi, I have recently completed my CIPD level 3 Diploma. I am currently a Line Manager within a large retail company and have been with them for 20 years. Since being a Line Manager I have gained no end of HR experience and completed many courses within the company that are HR related. I love everything to do with people, L&D and policies and procedures and feel I have a good level of experience and knowledge. However now I've completed my CIPD course, I have applied for no end of vacancies, I feel so frustrated as I am not getting any response from any of my applications. Where am I going so wrong? I have so much to give and so eager to learn more, but starting to feel so down as I'm not getting anything. If anyone is able to help me with my CV or what I can do to move into a HR role I would be so so grateful.

  • Laura

    | 31 Posts


    19 Oct, 2016 12:01

    Hi Emma

    Congratulations on completing your course.

    The job market is extremely frustrating generally, I certainly found so when I was job hunting. I'd recommend speaking to a specialist HR agency. Whilst they might not be able to find the right role a good one should be able to assist you in making the best out of your experience and getting that translated onto paper.

    I'm not sure where you are in the country but I've always found Purple House (Bristol but have national vacancies) extremely helpful and honest. They don't sugarcoat things which I prefer. Hudson also have a good reputation.

    Good luck!

  • In reply to Laura:

    Thank you for you reply Laura. I have recently contacted my HR recruiters however the email that I had back, was saying they can see I have all the skills for HR, however they can't help me as they only look at people with 6 months experience in a HR role. I'm in Cambridge so there are plenty of vacancies within HR but just not getting the break through.
  • In reply to Emma Woolman:

    Hi Emma

    Would you be able to do any shadowing or work for the HR department at your current employer's?

    It might be easier to gain experience that way than trying to get your foot in the door at another organisation.

    Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 342 Posts

    19 Oct, 2016 13:00

    In reply to Ishbel:

    Hi Ishbel, thank you for your reply, I'm currently on a senior Managers HR development programme within my company, also as Line manager we do all the HR work ourselves. However as I've been with them 20 years I'm wanting to move companies and see how other companies work and gain different experiences. Kind regards Emma
  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Hi Emma

    That sounds really good, but from reading other posts on the Community on this subject it would appear that it's generally easier to get into an HR position where you are and build on that to allow you to progress elsewhere.

    I totally understand that you want to spread your wings, but your current organisation know the skills and strengths that you would bring to an HR role so definitely use that to best advantage if you can.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 342 Posts

    19 Oct, 2016 13:34

    In reply to Ishbel:

    Hi Ishbel, I am extremely lucky that my current employer has recongnised my skills and are pushing me towards bigger things within HR which I am truly grateful for, however after completing my CIPD it was my hope that this would allow me to spread my wings and gain more experience as well as, to enjoy my evening and weekends again too with my family.
  • In reply to Anonymous:

    Hi Emma

    I'm sure you'll have the opportunity to do that in time, what you're probably finding at the moment (rightly or wrongly) is that because your most recent experience isn't in a purely HR role, recruiters aren't reading any further into what you HAVE been doing, which is a shame.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous | 342 Posts

    20 Oct, 2016 11:06

    In reply to Ishbel:

    I would definitely suggest trying to move into a HR position with your current employer, especially if they are supportive of this. After 6 months or more experience with them, within a HR position, this would become much more attractive for recruiters. I'd also advise applying for HR Administration roles to help you to build on the basics of HR as it is such a vast area. You can then truly understand whether you are happy staying as a generalist or if you want to specialise in L&D, reward, ER etc.
    I hope this helps!
  • Keith

    | 11579 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    20 Oct, 2016 11:15

    Fundamentally given the state of the market and the number of HR candidates out there virtually every employer is able to choose candidates with both experience and qualifications. You have done well to get the qualification now you either need to get the experience (a six month secondment to a HR role in your Companies Head Office would do it) or to find probably a much smaller organisation willing to give you a chance.

    I am surprised your organisation has put you through a HR development program and supported your qualifications but have no role? Seems odd.

    Generally people trying to break into the profession need to work long and hard. Unfortunately its just the way it is.

    Good luck

    PS just looked at your linked in profile and your organisation (I used to work for them) certainly do have HR bods,so would look to see opportunities in Head Office (Welwyn Garden City is a bit of a trek I admit) or with one of the Region HR people,

  • Hi Emma,

    I have just started a new role as Group HR Manager in Cambridge (well, just outside the city!) having relocated from the midlands. I completely empathise with your frustration, the market is difficult here (navigating it with a 150 mile journey to do for interviews was certainly testing). I would highly, highly recommend The One Group (tell Claire Neve I sent you). There are other specialist HR agencies but personally I found them useless/rude/far too aggressive in one case! I'm actually looking for an HR Admin/Assistant at the moment to complete the team so feel free to pm me about it if you wish!

    If I can help with anything else just let me know. Cambridge is such an odd area - on one side its entirely science and research and the other (the fens) its farming, agricultural etc. The other thing to look out for is there are lots of companies who do animal testing in the area - most are very honest from the outset and ask you how you feel about it but I would recommend always googling before you commit to an interview if you're not sure you'd want to work in that sort of environment.

  • In reply to Emma Woolman:

    I moved up to Cambridgeshire 12 years ago with around 2 years HR experience (Assistant level). Initially I struggled to find full time or permanent work. I went for a part HR support role and whilst I did not get the role, they did happen to have temporary/Fixed term role come up which I accepted and within months was offered a permanent job and was there for 6 years! So you just never know where opportunities will arise. Whilst Cambridge area has a lot of jobs, due to that there is a lot of competition and therefore a good availability of experience and qualifications for employers to choose from. I had quite a few years HR experience, but struggled to gain a further promotion to Advisor so I managed to obtain a new role out of County.
  • In reply to Clare:

    Thank you to everyone for their advice, really appreciate you all taking the time to reply to me.
  • In reply to Emma Woolman:

    Hi everyone,

    I am a recent HR graduate (from LSE), am still awaiting my final result. I am an international student and a career changer (legal to HR). I am facing similar issues and I guess the job market is even more challenging if I have to seek sponsorship. Any advice? Suggestion?

    Also, if there is an opportunity to intern (even if for a month) then please do let me know. I am based out of London at the moment.

  • In reply to Smriti Sharma:

    I have 25 years in retail management i have gone down to 20 hours a week took a pay cut going college doing level 3 HR and doing voluntary work in HR at a college just to get a job in HR charity work.
  • Gemma

    | 19 Posts

    Chartered Member

    21 Nov, 2016 12:10

    Hi Emma,

    I was in retail management until I self funded my level 3 and needed to find my first HR role - my retail employer didn't have a role for me either!

    I tailored my CV to read "HR Support" which was true as I was supporting the function while I was still a manager. Instead of just applying for roles and being a faceless CV in an inbox, I would also actively call recruiters and build a relationship before sending over my application so they at least knew my name.

    It took me 18 months to get my first HR role and I think it's purely down to HR Managers and recruiters believing that they have to have someone from inside the industry, forgetting that transferable skills can benefit the profession. I have recruited several people for my team and have given people like us the opportunity to do what they have worked so hard to break into.

    I wish you the best of luck and have sent you a LI request if you wish to ask for any help.

    Thanks, Gemma
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