Surely I’m fit for more than an administrator role?

Having
worked in training management for several years (and possessing considerable
general business experience), I got a lucky break in 1999 and secured a
position as HR Manager for a small software company. Whilst I had no formal
training in HR I had always been very aware of developments in this area and
has taken a keen interest in all Personnel type issues. I obtained the CIPD
Cert in Personnel Practice as a quick fix and during my time with this software
company set up the company induction programme, set the recruitment &
selection standards, designed and implemented the performance management
system, wrote the staff handbook and designed and implemented every HR policy
and procedure, including all those necessary to ensure the company would obtain
IIP. The company went into liquidation a short while ago and I am concerned
that my CV really only shows 2.5 years actual HR experience. I have been told
by agencies that this qualifies me to be an administrator only and that the
achievements are not enough!! Am I stupid to continue to search for a senior HR
job or should I think again?( I am 46 so I know it will not be easy!)

Jo
Selby, associate director, EJ Human Resources, writes:

The
focus here needs to be on the depth of your HR experience and your achievements
during this time rather than on the length of time itself, and ensuring that
any relevant experience is drawn from your earlier career in training
management. You may want to review your CV to ensure that it reflects this
before approaching any more agencies.

Whilst
I certainly feel you can achieve more than an administrator position, I would
suggest that you keep an open mind with regards to opportunities. Each
organisation and role requires specific experience and whilst you may not have
the right background for some, you will have for others. Unfortunately it is a
matter of being patient and waiting for the right role.

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

I
think you should go after jobs which will use your experience and offer you a
challenge.

Look
again at your CV, does it really show your achievements. It might be that this
is why agencies are giving you this apparently strnge advice.

The
other thing to think about is getting those professional achievements
recognised. There is a process called "Professional Assessment of
Competence" from CIPD which enables your achievements to be matched
against the standards and then you can come out with Graduateship. You will
need 3 years professional experience so six months into the next job you might
be ready for this.

Linda
Aitken, consultant, Chiumento, writes:

First
of all it is important to ensure that you are dealing with the right agencies –
be aware of their own specialisms and ensure that you choose one with some
credibility in your field, as some agencies can have a tendency to pigeon-hole you
to suit their own area of business. You do need to consider, however, whether
you really want to continue a career in mainstream HR or move into a
specialism. Setting your sights on an HR/training role with a smaller Company
may be a useful avenue to explore – if this is with a growing company it may
enable you to specialise relatively soon. Networking, of course, is the key
here too – contact organisations directly, make use of all your contacts and
don’t just rely on using agencies – explore all the avenues and ensure your CV
is demonstrating the drive, determination, professionalism and energy you could
bring to the role.

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