Keen to pursue a new career in HR

From a non-HR PA background, I fell into a rewards analyst position, which I
have been doing for two-and-a-half years. I have started studying for a CIPD
qualification, and am very keen to pursue a career in HR. I want to move into
recruitment and selection as I think I am better suited to that area, but am
finding it impossible because I don’t have any recruitment experience.

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy

The skills required for recruitment and selection are quite different to
that of a rewards analyst. You need to analyse why you feel you are better
suited to a recruitment and selection role. Once you have listed these key
points, you need to incorporate them into your covering letter to potential
employers. What are the development opportunities with your current employer?
There may be an opportunity to move into a more generalist HR role that
includes recruitment. This will give you a chance to test whether this is
really what you want to specialise in. With a lot of organisations either
freezing recruitment or keeping it to a minimum, there are less opportunities
at present. The opportunities which are around are more likely to be filled by
someone with experience.

Johanna Simons, HR consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes

Have you tried to move internally within your current organisation? Not only
would it give you some practical experience but would give you the opportunity
to see if you are suited to recruitment.

If your current organisation will not oblige, you should consider doing a
competency-based CV which highlights your skills rather than your experience.
For example, influencing, organisational and project management skills will all
be key.

You should then look for work within the large corporations, which are more
likely to have a reasonable-sized recruitment function. It may be that you
should be considering going in as an administrator. If you are convinced
recruitment is the right thing to do, be prepared to drop your salary in order
to make that first vital move. If you are doing something you are really
focused on, development and financial reward will come.

Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento

It would be interesting to explore your reasons for wanting to move into
recruitment and selection. Given your experience and CIPD studies, you may wish
to consider moving into a generalist role. Such roles usually have a strong
recruitment component, which would enable you to obtain the exper-ience needed
to specialise in this area later.

Assuming you decide to pursue your current goal, examine what development
actions you could take to improve your employability. Consider short courses in
interviewing skills or psychometrics to demonstrate your commitment to move
into this area. Another option would be to work for a recruitment agency which
will employ people with no previous recruitment experience. Such roles do tend
to be a mixture of recruitment/selection and sales but will help you gain the
right experience.

Your current role gives you useful insights into the employment market. In
your job applications, make sure you bring out the value of this knowledge.

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