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AIBU to ask how to get into HR Career

(22 Posts)
lifecouldbeadream Mon 21-Oct-19 07:53:32

I’m a graduate with a Business Management Degree and currently in my early 40’s. I’d love to work in HR and while I have had some involvement, not enough (I think) to walk into a HR role.

Do I need to sign up for CIPD and put myself through the quals? Do I need to accept that it’s too late to change career?

All my experience has been in SME in Office Manager/Ops type roles, I’d love to do something more strategic.

siantwinmum Mon 21-Oct-19 08:03:15

I think you would have to start with a HR admin role with the idea of progressing. You wouldn't necessarily need the CIPD or experience for that sort of role, but you may find it useful to look at a qualification as you climb the HR ladder x

thekingfisher Mon 21-Oct-19 08:14:48

I'd look for an office manager role with HR support. Lots of smaller companies I've worked with I've helped set them up with this kind of arrangement.

I'd certainly explore CIPD but perhaps look at rather than the full level 5 quals perhaps look at one of their intensive employment law practitioner type courses which tend to be more relevant to day to day hr activities

thekingfisher Mon 21-Oct-19 08:15:26

Btw in my book it's never too late !

lifecouldbeadream Mon 21-Oct-19 08:23:49

Thanks both- I want corporate HR really, I’m in a really fortunate position that I can choose to re-train and not worry too much about the cost of that. Just don’t know if the re-training would be pointless as no-one would employ me!

Traveller104 Mon 21-Oct-19 08:32:38

Yes the qualifications help because it shows commitment to your career change as well as a variety of HR knowledge. I changed careers into HR about 5 years ago and have done CIPD level 5 and level 7 and this has helped me move upwards quite quickly in the corporate HR world.

Mishfit0819 Mon 21-Oct-19 08:33:32

Imo, experience and emotional intelligence is a better head start than qualifications for HR roles. CIPD quals can also be quite hard without the experience as you have to learn the theory etc then apply it and describe situations/outcomes. The people who were on my course to get into HR struggled because of this.

ACAS website does some great free elearning so it's a good place to start, their courses are also decent so maybe look at one of their starter HR ones, as these only tend to be a couple of hundred rather than thousands for CIPD. Having this on your CV will show you are just as eager to get into the field imo.

Can you start doing a bit more of the HR role in your current workplace?

40 is not too late to change career and its often how people get into HR, as many don't know it exists as a job role until they are in work for a period of time smile

The types of role you have done will lend themselves quite nicely so your experience in those will help too! I'm sure you'll have loads of experience of conflict resolution etc as an office manager wink

thesandwich Mon 21-Oct-19 08:41:28

Join the Cipd and go to some events/ exhibitions. Network😉

lifecouldbeadream Mon 21-Oct-19 08:53:28

Thank you all, that is very helpful. I think I come across well and would be likely to get a role if I can get in front of someone, as Mishfit pointed out the CIPD courses are ££££ and I don’t want to spend it if it isn’t worth it.

GinDaddy Mon 21-Oct-19 09:16:54

Not BU at all.

The only thing you need to know is how to speak in insufferable cliches in a painstakingly slow and measured way, in order to sound deeply knowledgeable.

This is all with the goal of eventually calling yourself a "business partner" rather than a senior HR worker.

Eg, please consider a "deep dive" into "taking the pulse of the organisation at a fundamental level", to "leverage a strategy to cascade down the organisation".

Perhaps your role will be to "unpack" ideas, or ensure that everyone knows "by close of play" that management really do have "skin in the game" and have an "open door" policy to "touch base" whenever possible.

Or maybe we should "war game" the whole scenario to ensure we have the requisite amount of "granularity"


confusedandemployed Mon 21-Oct-19 09:20:05

I got into HR via being a GP practice manager. I've just got what I consider my ideal role, but I don't have any formal quals and my new employer (and current) both said that quals were less important to them than operational experience. But I'm far more interested in operational HR than strategy.

thesandwich Mon 21-Oct-19 09:20:56

Don’t forget”reaching out”.......
You can join v cheaply and get access to loads of resources. Groupon offer some dead cheap on line courses-

GinDaddy Mon 21-Oct-19 09:22:22


Indeed - as I often say, "are you the Four Tops? No? Then please don't try and reach out" grin

lifecouldbeadream Mon 21-Oct-19 09:40:26

Gindaddy sounds like you’ve nailed it.

Confused- I’ve always done operational, but enjoyed some strategic voluntary work I did. I’d be happy with either, but long term strategic is the way forward for me I think.

I think perhaps (as my long suffering DH would say) I just need to have more confidence in my own abilities and employability!

Batqueen Mon 21-Oct-19 10:32:45

Another route in is through training/l&d roles. Office managers often support with training records etc so can look at roles that incorporate more l&d which then is hr.

DorisDances Mon 21-Oct-19 11:06:20

Ouch GinDaddy - that hurts.

HR is a fascinating career with many avenues to develop expertise. CIPD qualifications certainly are invaluable but the assignments/dissertation (project) require you really to be working in a relevant role. As pp has said, an Office Manager role with an HR bias you can develop sounds a sensible option.

Good luck and you are absolutely not too old to make a career move.

Inliverpool1 Mon 21-Oct-19 11:09:21

I deal with HR all day long. 2 things to consider, you are not there to help people. You work for the company you serve their interests. Everyone will hate you.

siantwinmum Mon 21-Oct-19 11:31:35

@Inliverpool1 sounds like you're in the wrong business! The role I play in HR is the complete opposite of that.

Inliverpool1 Mon 21-Oct-19 11:41:53

@siantwinmum HR are the enemy in my role 😉

NeedAnExpert Mon 21-Oct-19 11:50:21

Just shortlisted for a mid-level HR role. 40+ applications, only around 10 of which had the qualifications and around 6 with any experience at all. The experience is crucial for anything above assistant level roles.

NeedAnExpert Mon 21-Oct-19 11:50:52

The role I play in HR is the complete opposite of that.

Me too.

PumpkinPieAlibi Mon 21-Oct-19 11:52:46

HR gets so much hate on MN. Inevitably so as they are the bridge between management and the employee but not all of us are out to shaft the employees. Some of us genuinely care about the employee but our roles are advisory and we can also go so far in helping the employee when the final say rests with management. We, however, are usually the ones to communicate the decisions and so the ire is directed at us.

OP, I've worked in HR for 8 years (since graduating with my degree) and where I am, CIPD is not required but an HR Mgmt degree or general Business Mgmt degree with HR experience usually is. A lot of times, it's just luck and getting your foot in the door for a lower-level admin-type HR role and building from there.

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