Got the qualification, but still no job.

I
graduated last year with a CIPD qualification but despite having some HR
experience at a strategic level I have not been able to secure employment. Some
of the feedback I have received includes: "She’s
overqualified for a personnel officers role, and would suit a managers
role", but when I apply for manager positions I don’t have the years of
experience companies are looking for. I really am desperately keen to get into
HR and would appreciate any guidance.

Allison
Sheard, consultant at Chiumento Consulting Group, writes:

If your applications are failing at the CV stage, the
danger may be that you are overselling yourself on the CV by stressing the
strategic nature of your experience. Rewriting your CV to play down the
strategic side and injecting more transferable mainstream HR skills may help.
You need to show that you have the ability to do the HR nuts and bolts and
persuade the decision maker that you are neither a threat nor likely to be
bored in a lower level role.

If
interviews are a problem, it may be that you are is focussing too much on your
strategic experience, rather than on demonstrating how you can carry out the
roles for which you are being interviewed.

In
either case, the basis of your application has to be the job itself. Use every
opportunity to show how you would be the right person for the role. The three
components of this are:

1
Matching your skills and experience to the role requirements

2
Ascertaining that the position fits not just with your skills, but also your
values and interests, and

3
Demonstrating the skills and interest throughout the application process. For
example if the employer is seeking a proactive approach then using the
proactive methods (networking and direct approach) to identify opportunities
will help.

Finally,
let your enthusiasm for the job shine through. Informed enthusiasm is one of
the most powerful tools in jobsearching.

Margaret
Malpas, joint managing director of Malpas Flexible Learning, writes:

Have
you tried getting a job with your existing strategic experience which also has
a personnel element?  Otherwise what about working for a small
organisation.  Often, in small organisations you have to take on lots of
roles and, in your case, you could look for jobs that include personnel.

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