Struggling to return to HR

Hi Everyone,

I'm really struggling along with many of you to return to HR.

I worked in the industry from 2007 - 2011 and then from 2013 -2014 and no matter how hard I try, I get the same responses' that 'they are worried I may struggle with the transition back in to HR' or 'I don't have enough experience' or they want someone with 'recent HR experience'.

I'm passionate about HR and would love to return but to be honest, I feel no one is willing to give me the chance, I have even applied for positions where you don't need HR experience as full training will be given but still hearing nothing back. 

I know HR is forever changing so I always keep up to date with this. I genuinely believe there are only so many knock backs a person can take!

Any advice is really appreciated.


  • Hi Patricia,
    I had a similar experience, I worked in HR from 1993 to 2012 and took a career break to raise my daughter for 4 years. I returned to work last year in an admin role but quickly realised I wanted to return to HR. Like you my responses to HR Advisor roles were 'no recent experience' or HR Admin roles 'you wont stay!'. Eventually I started 'temping' in HR admin roles on a one week rolling contract (covering LTS) which was not ideal but it started to build the 'recent experience'. Then I secure a permanent HR Admin role. Shortly after joining, the HR Manager resigned and I was asked if would like the opportunity to become an HR Advisor again with the support and guidance from the board. Clearly I jumped at the chance and this is where I am today.
    There are still some gaps in my knowledge and times when I feel a little out of my depth but I have this wonderful community to lean on and a very supportive CEO.
    I do hope you find a suitable role soon Patricia, it will happen for you!
  • I have to agree with Leanne. I took a six-year break as primary carer, having been a senior manager, and returned to HR through a temp role at Assistant level, was rapidly advanced to covering Advisor work and then springboarded into an HRBP role from there. I'm now - four years later - at about the professional level I was at when I left the first time, but much better at it for having had to climb the ladder all over again.
  • Hi Patricia, welcome to the communities. In addition to the advice already given you may want to check out the CIPD membership benefits which include help with job searches, writing CVs, etc. Link is:
    There should be something to help with getting over the 'hump'. Good luck. :-)
  • Hi Patricia, thanks for your post, I would strongly suggest that if you are a CIPD member, or even if you aren't you can attend as a guest, you try to get to some local branch meetings. They are great for networking and advice. https://www.cipd.co.uk/learn/branches

  • In reply to Johanna:

    I have a similar problem , whereas I working in HR for 15 years in retail , then went into IT Project management due to redundancy and now after 10 years in IT I am desperate to return to HR .I have recently put myself thorough CIPD level 5 and passed all units . I am now still in an IT role but not happy as I do not have the recent experience required to apply for HR Manager roles .My only alternative is to take a massive pay cut and start again as an admin assistant which I cant afford to do . I am also 52 so that does not help either as even in the times we live in ageism very much exists
  • Hi Patricia,

    As well as the great advice already given. mine would be to approach companies to enquire about doing some unpaid work experience within their HR depts. I've offered this to a friend looking to change career paths and it helped them get their foot in the door with no financial risk or headcount sign off from my organisation.
  • Hi Patricia
    I can understand how this can be challenging. My advice would be to progress on the CIPD qualifications and to try a role in operations where you need to oversee large teams; this could be a valuable stepping stone for moving laterally into an HR role.
    Hope this helps
    Kind regards
  • In reply to Reena:

    In our charity we are always looking for volunteers to help us in HR. This will help you to get current experience
  • Hi Patrica,
    I am sorry to hear that you are struggling. If you are a CIPD member, you can use that to your advantage. As the membership will give you something new to learn  about and be kept informed about important and relevant topics everyday and you can highlight that on your CV as part of your 'CPD' initiative. CIPD have wealth of knowledge at their disposal for all their members and continuing professional development programmes.  

    If you completed a CIPD course long time ago, then I advise you to do another CIPD course online and volunteer in an HR capacity for Citizen Advice. Volunteering for charities like Citizen Advice will re-equip you for the HR world and shine on your CV.  https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/ or you can volunteer for CIPD as a mentor for your local schools and colleges.   

    Also the best thing to do is click on Gov UK link mentioned below,
    This site will help you find a reliable apprenticeship to retrain or you can look for an internship.