Can I change from manager to HR?

I
am the senior manager in charge of company support in a 25-person company. Most
of my work is HR-related including taking the company though Investors in
People and acting as the recruitment manager. I have hit a ceiling in the
company and am eager to move on and obtain a position specifically in HR with a
recognised career path. I am a graduate and have recently obtained a
short-course NEBS Certificate in HR. I earn £27,000 a year and cannot afford to
decrease my salary. What are my options?

Peter
Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

Your
NEBS certificate is a start in gaining some formal recognition of your HR
skills. It may now be worthwhile investigating the CIPD qualifications to build
on that foundation.

Larger
organisations are more likely to offer a career path in HR, although you may
need to consider a combined role taking into account your previous experience.

It
may be a good idea to target local companies and specialist agencies with your
CV to gain an idea of demand. Ensure that your CV emphasises your HR experience
with specific examples of significant achievement.

Tony
Clarke, senior consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes

Moving
into a professional HR role demands a technical understanding of the function
and its processes and most employers will be looking for more just than a NEBS
certificate. As you are a graduate, consider doing an MSc. This would add
weight to your academic qualifications, give you a professional network  and speak volumes about your HR intentions.  

Small
companies are often fairly unsophisticated with limited demand for
HR processes and systems – so your HR background will be of limited value to a
large company. There is a difference in HR terms between being a user of HR
processes as a manager and designing them as an HR professional. It is
excellent that you have managed your business through IIP and you have added to
this recruitment experience.

Draw
on your HR strengths and apply for positions in training and/or recruitment.
Also consider applying to Tecs etc, whose consultants would have helped you get
IIP accreditation. In the longer term you will need to improve your
professional qualification level with CIPD membership.

Peter
Lewis, consultant, Chiumento

You
should be able to put together a good CV highlighting your HR achievements as
most of your work is HR related, including recruitment and IIP. These need to
reflect the breadth of your work and benefits it has brought to your
organisation. Has your HR work helped increase productivity, reduce absenteeism
or improve morale, for example?

Go
into the marketplace to see what is on offer and how realistic your salary
expectations are. There is no indication of where you are based, but it goes
without saying, that salaries in the South East are generally higher, as are
some business sectors such as financial services. Getting in front of the
specialist HR consultancies will be useful; their knowledge of today’s market
will provide useful feedback on your CV, your marketability and current trends.

You
may be looking at building on your NEBS certificate by obtaining a CIPD
qualification. This will not only enhance your employability but get you into
the loop of HR networking by attending CIPD meetings.

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