I am at my wits end!  I have invested time and money into gaining the cipd level 5 qualification and have a wealth of 14 years experience in recruitment, business development and sales.  Since taking a new direction into HR by gaining  15 months in Admin.  I cannot secure a perm or temp job. I've received excellent interview feedback after attending several interviews.

I am now financially in a bad place.  How are you expected to develop and be given an opportunity when it's such a competitive market?


  • Hi Julie
    I'm afraid the key is probably in the last two words - it is a competitive market. I think the question is how you can stand out from the competition. Obviously you have some very valuable skills that are transferable to an HR role - are you making the most of them on your CV and linking them to the requirements of the jobs you are applying for?

    Alternatively have you though about developing some HR experience through volunteering? I kept my generalist skills up to date during the time I was in a specialist role by becoming a school governor and advising the head on staffing issues. I got my teeth into restructures, shared parental leave, flexible working requests performance and pay appeals amongst other things. In addition I volunteered as a trainer with another organisation to grow my skills in that area. I honestly feel my volunteering has given me a much more well rounded offer as a HR professional.

    Another route to take is to do some networking - go along and meet your local CIPD branch and get to know HR professionals in the area. They may well know of jobs coming up or may be able to give you more advice. And they may be looking for volunteers to help run the branch too.... ;-)

    I hope that gives you a few ideas about how you can stand out from the crowd and make the most of your experience.

  • In reply to Jacqueline:

    Hi Julie,

    As you and Jackie have mentioned it is an incredibly competitive marketplace, more so now than ever before in my opinion. You have to tick a lot of boxes to get shortlisted these days and if someone else ticks more boxes than you, they will get preference over you. Experience counts for so much and Jacque raises some excellent pointers on how to raise your HR profile. Don't forget there are ways to raise your HR profile on-line too, by entering into discussion, networking and engaging in relevant content on social media platforms.

    I guess some of your issues may depend on the type of opportunities you have applied for and your 'perceived' suitability? Does your CV fully reflect your skills, experience and how closely does it match the peson spec or JD? If you have the skills/experience/qualities which are outlined in the JD - make sure this language is depicted in your CV - keywords are incredibly important! However, you are securing interviews so you are getting something right so don't be too disheartened.

    I'd probably prope a little deeper following your last few inteviews to understand a little more as to why you weren't being progressed? Was it down to experience, or chemistry/fit or maybe you just need to tweak your interview technique? Try and learn from your experiences so far so you can adapt going forward.

    Hope that helps, good luck.
  • In reply to Ginnie:

    Hi Ginnie,

    Thank you for your reply to message yesterday. It was a bit of a rant due to my lack of securing an HR role. I have never experienced such an competitive market. I do think that I have a lot of skills and experience to offer an organisation. With regards to interview feedback, I am not always given the full details of interview feedback (via an recruitment agency). One company thought I would be more suitable to a more structured environment. I am not sure that this means and another said someone else gave better interview answers. I know we are in the Robotic technology industry and its exactly what it feels like robotic. I am part of the CIPD NE branch and attend their workshops with employment law updates. I'm trying to network with others. The group is quite small. I have applied for volunteer work with the CIPD however there has proven some confusion with my application not been received an apparently they are not advertising at the moment until Sept, Yet they are advertising on the website. I am currently liaising with the chair to resolve. On a positive note I have been nominated to be treasury for my dog agility club. I am aware that you are a coach and provide guidance. I would be very interested to know more.

    Thank you again for your reply.
    Julie Lamb
  • In reply to Jacqueline:

    Hi Jackie,

    Thank you for your reply to my rant yesterday. It is because I have attended a few interviews now and not receiving any offers just doesn't feel very positive. With regards to networking I do attend the CIPD NE networking events. I attended the CIPD annual event in March and I attend their subject events held at various venues and the employment updates. It is a very small group and their isn't much networking going on however at any opportunity I do try to get involved. On a positive note I have been nominated to be treasury on the committee at my dog agility club that I attend so I have contributing with strategic plans and engagement at present. Its early days. I have applied for volunteer work with the CIPD NE so lets see what happens.

    I have received interview feedback and one company thought I would be better in a more structured environment. I am not sure that means?

    Thanks again.
    Julie lamb
  • In reply to Julie:

    Hi Julie,
    I figured you may be venting a little! HR is a heavily populated sector, at all levels and fairly diverse, so its gong to be a slow burner I expect till you continue to build sustained experience and qualification, but keep at it, I'm sure it will come together in time.

    I think structured envionment would mean, in your case and particularly at this early stage of your HR career, an organisational environment where HR is well supported and has a steady, well developed structure in place. From a development pespective, this allows you to understand what "good looks like" so you can then learn from this and apply in the future.

    One other thing, when you recieve feedback following interview - always ask twice. The first time will be on the record but then ask again - but second time, off the record! You're more likely to learn and therefore understand more second time around. Recruiters are very aware of litigious consequences that can come with feedback so are often quite narrow with their explanation.

    Hope that helps,
    Ginnie Riley
  • Hi Julie,

    I completely understand your situation and if you search the forum you’ll see I posted with something similar about 12 months ago!

    From personal experience, there is a very real barrier for those who have not taken a conventional HR pathway. I had the added challenge of being new to London (from Sydney). It felt like I might as well have come from Mars! Having said that, once I secured a role I was promoted quickly and gained lots of valuable experience.

    I transitioned from Psychology to HR in 2013, initially gaining specific HR experience by cold calling various businesses until I was taken on for volunteering experience. I really don’t think this is necessary in your case as you have a wealth of commercial experience, very valuable in the market place.

    Stick with it and work with trusted recruiters. Don’t listen to those who try to push you into the wrong role. Wishing you the best of luck, I’m sure the right opportunity is just around the corner.