I have more than 20 years’ experience in HR and three years ago I moved into a general management role while retaining the senior HR position. I am FCIPD qualified and consider myself a commercially focused senior HR professional, but I cannot secure a new senior HR position after redundancy. Recruitment agencies have been disappointing. I have been told I’m too experienced, or not experienced enough and that progressing into a general management role has made me less marketable as an HR person.
Redundancy is a very unsettling time. Don’t despair. For senior professionals changing jobs this is a common predicament as there is a shortage of vacancies and a lot of competition at the top end. You do have very marketable skills and there will be an opening for you in a senior HR position.
You have a solid professional HR background, which will stand you in good stead, but it seems you’re slightly uncertain of which direction to head in – maybe this comes across at interview and could be why the feedback from some recruitment consultancies has been contradictory.
If you are at a career crossroads, there are good online career counselling services that could help you identify which path to take – for example, whether to remain in general management, with HR firmly on your agenda, or to move back into a senior HR role.
Once you’ve decided, analyse your skills and experiences, making sure these are clearly highlighted in your CV. At a senior level, your CV should demonstrate how you have made a measurable contribution to the business, evidence of budget planning and management, examples of where you’ve demonstrated innovative thinking, and display your technical HR knowledge, at the very least.
Next, you need a targeted list of the type of roles and sectors you want to work in. Consider HR roles that require broader understanding of general management and commercial drivers – this is your unique selling point. Change management and organisational development, or interim project-based roles are all suitable.
When choosing a recruitment consultancy, ask whether it has experience recruiting at a senior level in your sector and geographic region. Ask to see client and candidate case histories. The best way to find one is to ask for referrals from your own network and to explore websites of specialist HR agencies to see what their track record is.