I want to use my language skills

I have recently completed a French language course and would like to gain
some international HR experience. I have five years generalist experience in an
ITrole and am CIPD qualified. Any suggestions?

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

You don’t say whether you want to work for an international company in the
UK or you are looking for work overseas. As a CIPD member it might be worth you
approaching its international department for information and advice. It could
also point you in the direction of relevant networks.

Another strategy is to target large international companies. As you have
experience in the IT sector this could be the most profitable area to start
with. It might be an interesting exercise to identify some French companies and
send them your CV with a covering letter in French.

Suzanne Taylor, HR consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes

Your depth of experience in a generalist HR role will give you a solid
background from which to embark on a UK-focused role with international remit.
You should ensure your language skills remain well-practiced. If your French
language skills are now at business level, this will be a skill in demand.

Undoubtedly, the easiest way for you to make this transition would be within
your current organisation if possible. Otherwise, your best option would be in
applying to French companies or multi-national blue chips that are likely to
have bigger HR departments and more opportunity for employees to take
secondments. In applying for such roles, ensure you concentrate as much on your
talents and experience as your aspirations for the future.

Peter Wilford, consultant, Chiumento

You could move to a UK-based company which has scope for international work.
However, most international assignments tend to go to people with a proven
track record in their field and in cross-cultural working. An ideal
intermediary position to gain these skills would be a roving role gaining
exposure to a range of subsidiary companies.

If you have few commitments then you could move to France. You will find
that routes into local employment are structured in a similar way to the UK,
though there are differences (for example CVs with photograph). Temporary work
(maybe using your IT skills), while waiting for the right opportunity, would
enable you to build up a network of contacts, enhance your language skills and
gain experience in cross-cultural working.

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