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Career change. Is this enough to get foot in the door in HR

(17 Posts)
Crumbleface Sat 15-Apr-17 11:54:20

Hi Everyone,

I just typed a lengthy post explaining my situation, but as usual, once I've tried to post it, Mumsnet has timed out and the message is lost! So I'll just keep it brief now.

I have worked in a unskilled role in health and social care. This was to fund me through my degree in Psychology, which I did really well in, but couldn't afford to do a masters. Prior to that I had a an analytical clerical role in banking. After leaving Uni I took another role in the NHS to get some clinical experience. Like most Psychology graduates, I wanted to go in to Clinical Psychology, but I got pregnant and had DC soon after. I have stayed in role as it fits around OH's hours and is flexible. Once I get free EY funding next year I can move on, which I am desperate to do as I can't progress any further where I am, and am incredibly bored!

I have heard HR is a great role for Psychology graduates. Occupational Psychology was my best subject within my degree. I have looked at getting a CIPD qualification, but I heard you need to have a job in HR to do this.

My question is, how do I get my foot in the door? Is a good degree in Psychology enough, or is it just going to be that catch 22 situation where I need experience to get my foot in the door, but need to get my foot in the door to get it?

Thanks for reading smile

bluebelltippytoes Sat 15-Apr-17 13:25:38

You just need to try and find an entry level position as an HR Administrator or HR Assistant. If you want to progress you need CIPD. Your employer may or may not fund this.

I don't think having a degree in psychology will make much difference to be honest. The main role of HR is to ensure that the organisation stays on the right side of the law in relation to their staff. I would say that you need to be a fairly robust personality as you are quite often the go between for management and staff (i.e. bad managers who want to fire people for no reason and helping them to make it happen within the confines of the law even if you don't agree with their decision).

What are you good at? How would you like to use your skills? Perhaps we can make some suggestions?

Crumbleface Sat 15-Apr-17 15:03:06

Thanks bluebell,

I would say I'm at a crossroads generally in this area, so I'm considering options. I have thought about teaching, but ridiculously long hours and not being able to afford to train has put me off. Also HR or data analyst/IT. I feel as I'm not super techy minded, I have quite a long road with lots of short courses to get in to IT, but I do feel it's a good move as those skills are highly sought after, and will be for some time. HR appealed, as I enjoyed the occupational psychology part of my degree. My (highly strung) friend warned me against it though as she hated it!

I've been working in mental health, so deal with people who might be being unreasonable quite often, as I work with them when they are usually quite unwell. In terms of skills, it's really hard to define what I have. I have never been in a position where I have held a great deal of responsibility, so it's hard to say how I would deal with it. I went to University to help with career prospects, but having fell pregnant and had DC soon after, I haven't had any opportunity to progress.

I would say I'm good at seeing two sides of an argument, am quite analytical (stats and research weren't a problem for me at Uni) and I'm pretty good with people, even when they are presenting with challenging behaviour.

I am terrible at public speaking though, mainly because sometimes I can't find the right words to express what I'm thinking. I am also pretty cautious by nature (I guess because I'm analytical in thinking and like to consider all options) so making fast decisions isn't great for me, but I still have to think quite quickly if a dangerous situation is arising at work.

I am struggling to see how what I actually have on my CV will get me in to any decent career in future. I am great at making suggestions for friends, but haven't a clue for myself!

ProfYaffle Sat 15-Apr-17 15:05:28

You don't necessarily have to have a job in HR to do the CIPD, some colleges offer it as a full time programme with work experience built into the course.

MaybeDoctor Sat 15-Apr-17 15:07:27

FE colleges often do some CIPD courses.

But I agree that HR admin is the way to go.

bluebelltippytoes Sat 15-Apr-17 18:05:42

What about staying in a healthcare setting but moving into a therapy area; occupational therapy or speech and language therapy?

I too consider myself to be good at dealing with people but not great at thinking on my feet. This has been a bit of a hinderance to me working in a business setting as people (management especially) are very impatient. With difficult mental health patients I should imagine you need a great deal of empathy and understanding. That's not really the skillset you need for dealing with difficult management which would be more geared to speaking very directly, remaining detached and taking it on the chin when they disagree with you (as they generally have to be right/have the last word).

The jobs you are considering all have very different skillsets; teaching, HR, IT, data analysis, etc. I think you really need to decide what your strengths are and play to those otherwise you will end doing a job you may not love and are mediocre at.

HNY2017 Sat 15-Apr-17 18:10:20

You could consider an HR specialism - change management, OD, reward, learning and development, global mobility, resourcing/recruitment, diversity/inclusion.

TBH I think it's easier to progress in the specialisms....

Lallypopstick Sun 16-Apr-17 16:54:13

What about the NHS graduate management scheme? I think they have an HR stream.

Crisscrosscranky Sun 16-Apr-17 17:01:20

You could enrol on CIPD Level 3 at most FE colleges without working in HR. As others have said I'd look at HR admin positions to start with.

As an HR Manager though just one piece of advice (and don't take this the wrong way) don't talk too much about the psychology angle- when I'm looking for an administrator I want to know that they are organised, discrete and able to communicate well with all levels.

RedMetamorphosis Sun 16-Apr-17 17:19:53

You can do CIPD without having a job in HR.

I am just completing my MSc in HR - it will have taken me nearly 3 years to do part time and 6.5k by the time I've finished. It's not CIPD accredited but I expect that we will move abroad again fairly soon, so not the be all and end all.

I've ended up moving more in project management and resource scheduling, mainly because it combines all the bits I enjoy about HR but for more money. I couldn't justify moving from a recruitment role to HR entry level with a starting salary of £17000.

I find a big misconception is that you should go into HR if you are a people person. In fact my sister (an HR Director) mentally rejects anyone in an interview for an HR role if they say that. You have to get the best out of people for the sake of the business which involves quick thinking, great communication and persuasion skills as well as problem solving ability and always able to look at the bigger picture.

With your interest in analytics and IT, I'd look into HRIS, data analytics or even payroll as a starting point. If I was more analytically-minded, I'd consider accounting too.

OutToGetYou Sun 16-Apr-17 17:30:09

I agree HR isn't about being a "people person", I work in HR at various levels up to director, on short term assignments and what people need is business focus and good knowledge of law.
Like the pp's sister, I'm sceptical about anyone going into it to 'help people' or anything like that.
My HR Assistant in my current role has a politics degree. She's been in the job a year and is doing very well, she's had one pay rise and I'll be talking to her soon about starting the qualification. She might not want to do it, she's not committed to HR, but she's very organised so makes a fab assistant.
Don't go into by accident, it's actually a very boring job! I was so bored I did a law degree while working full time!

maggiethemagpie Mon 24-Apr-17 13:01:39

I work in HR and have a psychology degree. Agree with PP that you need to be a 'business person' as opposed to a 'people person'.

unlike the poster above, I don't find it a boring job. I find it really interesting, but I work in employee relations where you're dealing with the legal side of things, generally dealing with employee issues where there is something 'wrong' eg performance, behaviours, grievances. Also change management - redundancy /restructuring which can be quite interesting to do, particularly changing the structure in a part of the organisation and all that entails.

I'd start off by trying to get admin roles on contract - that's the best way to build up your experience fast and you can trade on your experience each time you go for a new contract. Do you live in/near a big city? As otherwise doing interim can be a bit daunting.

Feel free to PM me if you want any more info!

2014newme Mon 24-Apr-17 13:05:05

I'm a hr director. You would need to start entry level in an administration role. You could do cipd or certificate in personnel practice without a job in hr but it is better if toucan get company to sponsor you. Recruitment is also a good way in.

I don't see tour psychology degree being an advantage at this entry stage (sorry) but could be if you weren't ultimately become an occupational psychologist.

Good luck!

2014newme Mon 24-Apr-17 13:05:40

Were not weren't to become occupational psychologist

2014newme Mon 24-Apr-17 13:08:59

Nb tge main role of hr is absolutely not to "ensure the organisation stays other right side of the law" 😂😂🙄🙄🙄

2014newme Mon 24-Apr-17 13:14:42

Just to add I agree with @Crisscrosscranky in an administrator I'm looking for accuracy, attention to detail, ability to learn systems quickly and ability to plough through mountains of fairly dull work efficiently. An interest in psychology wouldn't be relevant, but as I say it could be later in your career.

UndersecretaryofWhimsy Mon 24-Apr-17 13:30:55

If you really liked the psychology angle then you could go the route of becoming an occupational psychologist. However this route is a tad oversubscribed and do NOT pay for your own masters in this - you need to get a role where the company will pay, otherwise you will pay a fortune for the degree and be no more employable on the far side of it. Occ psych roles are in consultancy, in HR specialisms such as reward or organisation design, and in the public section (DWP is the single biggest employer). However, roles are limited. Again you'd be better off getting an HR admin or entry level psych type role and moving over.

Look at www.psychapp.co.uk for entry level roles in all psych disciplines.

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