I have had a satisfying time working in HR as a generalist for 15 years, but
I feel it is time for a change. I’m not interested in moving into consultancy –
I want a complete change. Any ideas for careers where my skills would be valued
and could be satisfyingly applied?
Jo Redgwell, consultant, interim division, Macmillan Davies Hodes
They say ‘a change is as good as a rest’. You don’t say if your experience
has been gained in any one sector, but rather than turning away from 15 years’
experience have you considered changing your environment? More and more
commercial HR professionals are moving into the public sector, for example.
They find themselves invigorated by the new challenges of working for an
organisation with a limited finance pool and having to think as laterally as
If this isn’t suitable, have you considered a move within your current
organisation? You have a firm understanding of your current employer’s vision
and business goals and this could be used in a different capacity.
As a generalist, you have an excellent understanding of employment law and
interpreting policy. Have you thought about counselling of some sort – perhaps
at a Citizens’ Advice Bureau – as you are used to problem solving, research and
coaching, and representing clients at tribunals.
Or what about taking on an office management role with your experience of
managing budgets, assisting business growth and client-facing roles.
If you are certain you want a complete change I recommend speaking to a
specialist careers counsellor who can measure your competencies against a
variety of careers.
Cliff Dixon, consultant, Chiumento
Responding to a request for a complete change is difficult without more
specific knowledge about you. Are you prepared to study for such a change, or
invest in a new sector through a drop in salary?
In your career you will have gained many transferable skills such as
communication, interpersonal, coaching and so on, which will have relevance in
other areas. You can test your suitability for other sectors and roles through
an interest inventory – available from the British Psychological Society, or,
less formally, network with business and personal contacts you know who have
experience in areas other than your own.
Consider getting professional help from careers advisers – they will be
valuable in challenging your ideas before you commit.
Whichever route you follow for your research, network hard to spread the
word of your search, requirements and availability. Make good use of
recruitment agencies who can help you identify likely matches.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
You should look at your career to date and analyse which parts of the role
have given you the greatest satisfaction. Is it the people aspects of HR or
have you more of an interest in administration? If you have worked as part of
the management team, then a role managing a business may have some appeal. Draw
up a list ranking the aspects of your career in terms of satisfaction. This
will help you focus on the type of work you could consider.
Next, think about what interests you. Are you someone who is motivated by
helping people and may therefore want to work in the voluntary sector? If you
like holidays, a career in the travel industry may be of interest.
The skills of an HR generalist are often undervalued by organisations, but
they can be transferred to many roles.