I have experience but can’t get a job

I have been an HR generalist for three years. Prior to that I spent 10 years
in manufacturing up to production manager level and six years in outplacement
and training. My company’s plan was for me to fill the HR manager’s role in two
years’ time after achieving Grad CIPD, but it is now to close in October.
Prospective employers don’t seem interested in me. On paper I appear to have
little specific experience in jobs with an HR heading although I have years of
experience in ER/IR/training and development/managing people/career
guidance/performance management/ finance and so on. What can I do?

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

It is not unusual for people to move from a line manager to an HR role so I would
advise you to stick to the search for an HR role as you have time on your side.
It is essential you emphasise your people management experience on your CV and
covering letter. The experience you have is HR and prospective employers should
be able to see that.

Is it possible as part of the closure programme to buy in some external
outplacement support? This would be of benefit to the organisation and they
could give you assistance in your job search.

Caroline Battson, head of interim, Macmillan Davies Hodes

If possible you should continue your CIPD studies independently as it will
greatly improve your chances of securing a good position within HR. The time
you have spent within the manufacturing sector should have equipped you with
valuable skills which can be used to help further your career in HR.

Never underestimate the importance of your CV as it can close as many doors
as it opens. In your case it is important you emphasise the experience that
relates to HR. This will allow a prospective employer to gain a better
understanding of your HR knowledge within a your management remit.

You may also want to consider interim management as an option to enable you
to increase your HR knowledge.

Peter Wilford, consultant, Chiumento

You seem to have a useful breadth of experience in production management,
training and outplacement as well as HR, so the issue seems to be with getting
that message across.

Ensure you are doing yourself justice in your CV. Clearly state the issues
you have dealt with, how you approached them and what results were obtained,
ideally stated in terms of quantifiable benefits to the company. Don’t play
down your line management experience, it will have provided invaluable
experience in people management, an insight into what it is like to be a
consumer of HR advice and a hard-nosed appreciation of how to align HR to the
needs of the business without compromising standards.

Are you targeting the right kind of jobs? Your background suggests you have
plenty of experience in managing change, for example, while applying to HR
roles in manufacturing companies would play to all your strengths.


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