My next move… seeking experience

I’m in a standalone HR role, so am involved with a lot of recruitment, HR admin and some HR officer duties. I have an LLB law degree and a masters in human resource management. I’m currently job-hunting due to suspected redundancies. The feedback I get after interviews for HR admin roles is that I am overqualified, but when I apply for HR officer roles, they say I lack experience. What should I do?

It is usual to move into an administrative role post qualification, as it allows you to develop your practical skills, building upon your studies in a safe environment. In an ideal role, you would have access to relevant training, a personal mentor and the opportunity to contribute to a range of projects. After a year or so, you would then be ready to move into an HR assistant role, or even an HR officer role.

It seems the risk of redundancy is hampering your chances of completing this stage of your development, and perhaps you feel the need to move on quickly to protect yourself. If you are certain this move is right for you, I suggest you consider the following:

  • Establish the real timescales for your current employer’s redundancy programme and if/when this is likely to affect you.
  • Consolidate your experience. If possible, identify a coach or mentor and explain your situation and your reasons for wanting to broaden your experience quickly.
  • Try to get involved in commercial projects, to strengthen your advisory skills, and increase your exposure to other duties such as resource planning or employee relations.
  • Consider what your ideal role would look like if you were not at risk of redundancy. Are you interested in a career as an HR generalist or as a specialist? Are there any industry sectors that you are particularly interested in (your law degree would be of particular interest to law firms), or would you prefer to work as part of a team, or in a standalone role?
  • Be realistic. Your have a solid educational background and have been given exposure to more aspects of HR than is usual at your level. Building in-depth experience needs to be your short-term objective.
  • Consider how you address your reasons for moving on. If the only explanation is that you are at risk of redundancy, it will not sound positive. Focus on your genuine desire to develop your career in the right environment. Show appreciation of your inexperience in certain areas, and demonstrate your willingness to learn.

Lynne Hardman is managing director, Hays Human Resources

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