Private sector not interested in me

I have worked in HR in the public sector for a number of years and although
I worked in the private sector before, and have since developed a wider range
and depth of HR experience, I am finding that private-sector employers are not
interested in my CV. What can I do differently to help me open up opportunities
in the private sector?

Anna Cook, project co-ordinator, Chiumento

It is not uncommon for employers in the private sector to be reluctant to take
on people from the public sector. The key to opening up opportu-nities is to
prove you have what they need.

Ensure that your CV focuses on experience rather than past employers, so
rewrite it as a functional CV not the chronological version.

List key achievements and highlight hard results, such as savings on budget,
percentage increase in efficiency etc, so prospective employers can see you are
focused on the bottom line and on managing change. Include the skills which
enabled you to make these achievements.

Research the business issues which companies are applying to are facing or
likely to face in the future and show that you have delivered in these areas in
your career.

Use your contacts to the full. Talk to people in the commercial sector about
your experience and ask them for the names of anyone you can be introduced to
for an initial meeting. Make sure your skills and experience are top of mind.

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

Unlike the public sector, it is possible to gain interviews for jobs by
sending your CV directly to the personnel department. Look at local companies
and target those which are recruiting.

Ensure you send a covering letter with your CV that makes the most of your
private sector experience. Review your CV to make sure it shows your
achievements and highlights areas that would be of interest to private sector
companies, such as budget experience, managing people and meeting deadlines.

You should also consider talking to specialist HR recruitment consultancies
as they can provide help in your job search.

It is also worth remembering that in the current economic climate there are
more public sector vacancies than private sector so expect it to take time
before you find the right opportunity.

Grant Taylor, recruitment consultant, public sector specialist,
Macmillan Davies Hodes

Organisations prefer candidates who have an understanding of their business
environment, so if you are applying for a role in the NHS, prior experience in
providing HR services to healthcare professionals gives you an advantage.

You actually have more to offer a private sector business. Large parts of
the public sector are really quite dynamic, currently going through major
changes, and commercial in the sense that budgets are tight and justifying your
existence as a non-core service cost is difficult.

Match your skills and experience directly with the role by tailoring your
CV. Expand on the essential areas of experience and cut down on those that are
of secondary importance.

Imagine you are the person matching your CV to the role. Think of all the
objections you would have and then counter them.

Spell out how your time in the public sector has broadened your experience
and refined and improved your HR skills.

A highly focused application is difficult to reject, if it is relevant,
researched and exudes confidence. Make sure you tailor your CV and cover letter
for every job.

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