What level of HR should I aim for?

I am studying for a postgraduate diploma in HRM. Although I have not held an
HR role, I have four years’ team management experience in the public sector and
have co-ordinated busy departments, dealing with recruitment, payroll and
issuing contracts. Which entry level would be appropriate for a move into HR
and which industry would be easiest to transfer into?

Claire Coldwell, consultant, Chiumento

The appropriate level for your move into HR will depend upon the nature of
the experience you list and what exactly your responsibilities are in your
current role.

Compile your CV so that it sells your HR achievements to secure you an
interview regardless of whether you have been working in a HR role. You need to
clearly indicate what you have done in team management, how it has helped the
business and what skills you have shown that an employer would want.

Rather than focus on a job title for your prospective move, look in detail
at what each role has to offer, how your experience matches that and how you
will develop your skills.

Circulating your CV to agencies and also to organisations that appeal to you
should help prospective employers to understand where you fit in career terms.

Being able to demonstrate that you are studying for HR exams will also
support your proposed move into a front-line HR role.

Given that your experience is in the public sector, it will be easier to
find a role there initially, or perhaps jobs in similar areas such as charities
and the voluntary sector. Once you have obtained more front-line HR experience
you will find it easier to make the move into the commercial sector.

I also recommend that you seek a position working for an HR manager who
recognises your strengths and experience and is prepared to support your

Jo Selby, associate director, EJ Human Resources

At this stage, I suggest that you keep your options open and do not limit
yourself to considering any one particular industry sector or level of
position. The first step to making such a move is to compile your CV, ensuring
that you highlight any relevant HR experience, such as recruitment and payroll.

After that, register with agencies and discuss your experience and
aspirations and any opportunities they currently have available.

The market is relatively slow at the moment so you may find opportunities
are limited, but do be patient and wait for the right role.

You may also wish to search on the Internet and in the HR press for suitable
positions and apply direct to organisations. In the meantime, continue to be as
involved as you can with any HR-related issues within your current

Margaret Malpas, joint managing director, Malpas Flexible Learning

You’ll find it easiest to transfer within the public sector. I would
recommend that you look at senior personnel officer posts (although job titles
are notoriously variable as an indicator of level and responsibility). Try to
capitalise your existing knowledge and experience with recruitment and payroll.

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