I want to return to work after illness

I have more than 16 years HR experience, am FCIPD qualified and my last post
was as HR director. I am under 40, but unfortunately have had to give up
working full time due to ill health. I work voluntarily for a charity one day a
week but would like to do the occasional day in HR as I miss the challenge. How
best should I go about trying to identify organisations which might be
interested as the kind of work I’m seeking isn’t strictly temporary or interim.

Clive Sussams, recruitment consultant, Malpas Flexible Learning

In view of your level of experience, I would envisage you have a reasonably
substantial network of HR contacts and suggest you use this initially, together
with contacting specialist recruitment consultancies.

While I note you would prefer a permanent part-time position, it may be
advantageous to undertake interim assignments as these can often lead to
permanent job offers. With the change in work practices there are more
opportunities for part-time or job share candidates, although less so at senior
levels. You will need to decide what type of role will be acceptable and how
flexible you can be.

In addition to checking the appointments sections of the HR journals and
quality press, it would also be sensible to approach small businesses (SMEs)
direct as these often cater for flexible working arrangements.

Allison Sheard, consultant, Chiumento

There are many options open to you and which you take is going to depend on
how much time you are able to give to working and how much you want to be
involved in the process of creating work opportunities.

There has been an increase in the number of opportunities to work part-time,
even as an interim manager. However, most interim posts are full-time. One way
to overcome this is to create your own opportunities by contacting former
colleagues, professional contacts or organisations directly, to see if they
need your skills. It is essential to keep up with trends in HR and be aware of
what is likely to be of interest to them. You might even consider linking up
with other people already working as HR consultants so you could share the
workload with others.

Your wealth of experience is a great advantage and it is important to be
able to market yourself effectively. You may find it more useful to prepare a
CV that outlines your key achievements and projects, rather than using the
traditional chronological format.

If working for yourself appeals, you could contact small, local, firms that
may not have an HR function to offer operational advice.

Jo Selby, associate director, EJ Human Resources

While this is not the kind of opportunity most recruitment agencies focus
on, it may be worth speaking to a couple of interim consultancies and making
them aware of your situation and your availability. Having said that, in my
experience most of this type of work is secured through personal contacts, so I
would suggest you network extensively with organisations and individuals you

If there is a particular sector that you are keen to work in or have
considerable experience of, then you may wish to consider sending out a letter
and CV offering your services.

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