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How to get into a career in HR?

(29 Posts)
NotTodayMargie Fri 08-Jun-18 07:16:39

I've NC for this post.

I'd like to change career and get into a job in HR.

I already have a Masters in an unrelated subject so I could go straight into the OU level 7 course but I'd like my HR subject knowledge to be thorough so I wonder whether the CIPD level 3 course would be the best plan.

I'm looking for HR administration jobs to get some experience I'll take a massive pay cut but it's what I want to do. At the same time I'd like to do my CIPD level 3 as distance learning.

Is this the right way to go about it?
If not, should I be doing it differently? Just go straight for level 7, maybe?

Assuming CIPD 3 is the way to go can anyone recommend a course which is legitimately recognised by CIPD?

Thank you for any advice you can give me.

APermanentlyExhaustedPigeon Fri 08-Jun-18 08:41:49

The CIPD website should be able to tell you which courses are recognised. A Level 3 qual is definitely do-able online, and pitched at quite a basic level. Most of which would probably be covered again on a Level 5 anyway; however if you’re not in HR yet, or don’t have access to a friendly HR department, you might struggle with any work-based assignments. It’s probably changed since I did my level 3, but there were a few different ones depending on what area of HR you were interested in so worth spending some time exploring the different options. I jumped from Level 3 to Level 7 which was hard for me as I had never done any uni level qualifications before so struggled with the report writing,etc. But if you’ve already done a Masters then you should be fine with that side of things. The best thing you can do is read, widely!! HR is constantly changing, so keeping up to date with what’s going on in your area of expertise, and the wider world is important. There’s lots of online journals/etc that you can sign up for regular updates. In addition the CIPD, I like Human Times for a daily email digest of the news, CEB/Garter is good for HR resources albeit quite talent focused there’s some generalist stuff there too. I think the CEB one has a fee?

flowery Fri 08-Jun-18 13:23:50

Have you seen the CIPD's qualification finder?

Given your level of previous qualification I'd probably look at 5 or 7 rather than three, depending on whether you've got lots of people management experience, and what other experience you've got.

LivingMyBestLife Fri 08-Jun-18 13:34:41

Agree that it is much easier to do the assignments when you have a relevant job tbh.

For distance/online learning, try MOL (Manchester Open Learning) as they have centres around the UK if you need to do any workshop days.

NotTodayMargie Fri 08-Jun-18 18:15:17

I've been in touch with local agencies to explain my situation as they will probably be able to persuade a client to see me more readily than just sending off my CV and hoping an employer gives me a chance.

It's a shame my CV screams teacher because I am committed to a career in HR, I've thought about it thoroughly. For example; an entry level HR job in my area pays about £20k, which is less than half my current earnings but it's what I really want to do.

I'm a teacher, a senior one and I've managed teams of 20-30 people so I do have plenty of management experience, including line management, appraisals, interviewing and having the difficult conversations too.

Interesting that you say I should try level 5 or 7 @flowery. I'll look into it.

Thank you thanks

flowery Fri 08-Jun-18 18:28:05

How would you feel about staying in education? Your CV screaming teacher would then be an asset! You could work in an HR role in a big Trust, or maybe work for EPM or similar if there is a similar provider in your area?

APermanentlyExhaustedPigeon Fri 08-Jun-18 18:42:28

Ooh that’s a good idea. Our local councils have HR teams that provide ER advice to schools, your background would be advantageous there. If you’ve got the essential people management skills, you could easily skip level 3.

LivingMyBestLife Fri 08-Jun-18 19:36:02

Might be worth speaking to the CIPD about experience assessment - it's a kind of accreditation of experience.

www.cipd.co.uk/membership/become-member/professional/experience-assessment

sunsunsunsunsun Fri 08-Jun-18 21:53:18

I'd recommend level 5. Perfect blend of theory and application. I would have perhaps found it harder if I hadn't already been in the sector. I'm considering level 7.

NotTodayMargie Sat 09-Jun-18 09:04:45

@flowery a career in education HR would seem to be a good fit and it's a really good suggestion.

But...I've been a teacher for many years and I've wanted to leave for a long while, I couldn't because I'd have to take a pay cut but I'm in a position now where I can.
If I'm honest, I've had a gut full of teaching.
Education HR advisors are only generally called in when there's a problem ie someone has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student or they have been put into capability and both of those are horrible processes.

The rest of the time schools deal with their HR in house.

I may feel differently in the future but right now I just want to get as far away from teaching as possible.

flowery Sat 09-Jun-18 10:12:25

”Education HR advisors are only generally called in when there's a problem ie someone has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student or they have been put into capability and both of those are horrible processes.”

That’s not exclusive to education. Any sector which calls in outside advisors generally does the same. Doing those (and many other) unpleasant things is part and parcel of the job and (trust me I know) is far far easier and less unpleasant coming in as an external adviser rather than internally when you know the people involved.

”The rest of the time schools deal with their HR in house.”

Hence the suggestion to work in a bigger Trust with substantial internal HR.

However I absolutely get you completely and understand entirely why you want out of the sector completely! (I am a director of a MAT)

Do you have any general admin experience from before teaching at all?

NotTodayMargie Sat 09-Jun-18 12:06:16

I have loads of admin experience both before and during teaching @flowery.
I'm a SENCO so I advertise, recruit and manage a large team.
In addition, I write all EHCPs and other SEND related admin tasks and there are plenty!

I do understand that HR is outsourced in other industries too but I think I'm done with education.
I would have too much sympathy with the teachers, even though I'd be there to represent the MAT or school, I couldn't be objective enough in education I don't think.
My feelings are exclusive to education and based entirely on the fact that I know too much about how awful the job is and how subjective the capability process can be.

applesandoranges221 Sun 10-Jun-18 14:31:01

I'm an ex-teacher, now in HR. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to chat, but essentially, I went into a HR admin role and studied my level 7 alongside working (if you already have a masters, level 7 will be absolutely fine), then once I'd finished that moved up to Officer level and now a BP.

I would just note, given the above - capability proceedings are always, to an extent, subjective, and sometimes you will have to do them although you don't agree. That isn't unique to teaching by any means!!

Temporaryanonymity Sun 10-Jun-18 14:39:12

What do you think a career in HR is like, day to day? I think you would be incredibly bored in a HR admin role with little chance of getting real HR experience. If you've managed a team you've probably got what you need to become an advisor and I would echo what flowery said about joining a Trust.

NotTodayMargie Sun 10-Jun-18 18:12:13

@Temporaryanonymity I think it will be checking and completing payroll, screening and interviewing candidates, training employees, keeping relevant paperwork. That sort of thing.

You may be right, I might be bored but I'd kill for some boredom at the moment smile

PotOfMemories Sun 10-Jun-18 18:16:23

Sorry to jump on your thread op but I also have questions. If you have no experience in HR do you not have to start out at the foundation level for CIPD?

HermioneWeasley Sun 10-Jun-18 20:19:31

Why do you want to work in HR?

NotTodayMargie Sun 10-Jun-18 21:34:54

@PotOfMemories that's what I was suggesting/asking about in my PPs, level 3 CIPD is the first level, followed by 5 and 7.
You don't have to start at level 3, you can jump straight to level 7.
I was wondering whether I should start at level 3 but given that I already have a degree and a masters other posters have questioned whether I should start at level 7, given my previous qualifications and experience.

Is this a job interview @HermioneWeasley?
To answer your question, I enjoy the HR aspect of my current post obviously this is not the entirety of the answer I would give at interview

Figgygal Sun 10-Jun-18 21:43:49

A lot of hr in large companies have very separate recruitment and hr activities I've been in HR 15 years and haven't interviewed regularly for 10. Entry level jobs are very transactional admin task orientated are you sure you want to take such a step back?

HR should be about supporting managers to do their jobs better not doing it for them so I do do a lot of manager support and coaching through our processes policies etc that's the good stuff but there's also relentless sickness absence, grievance disciplinary and just general noise to deal with too.

NotTodayMargie Sun 10-Jun-18 21:56:02

@Figgygal I'd rather not take such a big step back, no, but if that's what I have to do to eventually get the job I want then that's what I'll do.
The reason it's taken me so long to do it is that I couldn't afford to take the hit financially until now.

It's interesting that you say you manage sickness absence and grievance procedures because I already do this.

BubblesBuddy Sun 10-Jun-18 22:20:52

From the school Grievance procedures I know, I don’t think a teacher would be allowed to manage them. A teacher could be asked for evidence but definitely not manage the grievance from start to finish. I am fairly certain the school governors hear grievances based on evidence submitted by the employee and the school. They would probably be supported by a HR professional.

I think if you are not objective in your work, then HR may not be for you. It really is about applying policies at a junior level. You are being the professional adviser when you become more experienced. Therefore what you think isn’t important. It’s how the policy is conducted that matters.

When I did the professional course many years ago, we studied all aspects of HR, whether you were working in that field or not. I would get a text book and have a look at the syllabus. I went straight into the highest level without a degree at all. I was working full time in a non HR role. Go for the highest level. See if you can get a trainee role. You’ll be up against grads but you can possibly persuade them that you are a great candidate if you can keep a lid on your views about employees always being the downtrodden ones. You will find that HR professionals are keen to be seen as business partners not welfare officers. Try reading around the profession because I think your views of the job are a bit dated and narrow.

NotTodayMargie Mon 11-Jun-18 07:24:44

@BubblesBuddy in my job I have the initial grievance meeting, if the problem is escalated then I collect evidence and attend the formal meetings. The HR officer is not called in until it gets to formal proceedings. Then I chair the meeting, the teacher is there usually supported by a union rep.

I haven't said I can't be objective, I said that I'd had a gut full of education and that I couldn't be objective about teaching.

As a SENCO my job already requires me to follow processes impartially and chair the ensuing meetings without prejudice. I currently produce reports within tight legal guidelines, focusing on the facts and without opinion so again, that wouldn't be a problem for me.

NotTodayMargie Mon 11-Jun-18 07:28:11

@BubblesBuddy you say a teacher wouldn't be allowed to manage grievance proceedings but at a large school like mine I do along with other senior members of staff in lieu of the Head. HR is usually contracted out to the LA or the MAT. They don't become involved other than, occasionally, they are on the end of the phone to offer advice in difficult cases.

HermioneWeasley Mon 11-Jun-18 19:45:59

I asked because I see lots of people who think they want a career in Hr because they “like people”. HR is an incredibly broad church, from very systems driven/technology roles, very numerate ones like analytics, reward and pensions, through to legal and procedural roles such as employee relations, HR generalists and through to more conceptual roles such as leadership and organisational development. Some require you to be “good with” people, but few are about “liking people”. Often you are making difficult decisions and communicating them. Rarely are you liked. Maybe sometimes respected.

It’s interesting, rewarding and varied, but anyone considering it needs to realistic about what it is.

wegweiser Mon 11-Jun-18 19:57:57

Agree Hermione Weasley I cringe when I hear people saying they want to go into HR because they like people. It can drag you down too, when I worked in ER it was depressing seeing the worst side of people constantly. I’m happier in my more analytical reward role which is more divorced from people “issues”. With your level of experience you should be able to progress quickly, so if you join an organisation with lots of progression and movement you should only be in an entry level for a brief period. My old manager said HR is “shit and admin”. It’s moved away from that a bit in recent years but it’s still a fairly accurate reflection in my view.

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