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Advice on entering a HR career


I am looking for some advice on how to enter a career within HR please. I have never worked within a HR department before, but I do have management experience and I have carried out HR related tasks, such as recruitment and selection, disciplinaries, grievances etc. I have also recently completed my CIPD level 5 diploma in HRM, but I am really struggling to find work. Even entry level HR role advertisements are asking for candidates who have previously worked within a HR department or who have HR experience. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Many Thanks,


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  • Hi Julia,

    I agree you need to highlight your relevant skills and experience in your CV. You should re-write your CV to tailor it to the role you are applying for. Make sure the most important things are at the top so it catches recruiters eyes and they keep reading. Cover letters can be really important too. 

    Maybe sign up to some agencies too who can spec out your CV to companies. 





    • Thanks Hayleigh, much appreciated.

  • Hi Julia, 

    As you have carried out some of the HR functions, maybe you could highlight these under your experience and skills give details of what you can do? Also, pull out all of your transferable skills so a potential employer can see your negotiation, conflict resolution skills for example. I changed my CV to make it easier for organisations to identify my skills and experience. You will find ar role in HR.  I was in the same position as you, I had carried out some HR functions but had not worked in HR. I have worked in HR for 11 years now.

    To make it easier for employers to see my skills on my CV, this is what I did (this was on the recommenddation of a recruitment agency):

    Customer service - Providing high quality HR advice, support and resolution to managers, employees
    and outside parties on all aspects of the employee lifecycle and resolving payroll queries including time
    management. Resolving queries at first point of contact, and where appropriate ensuring the correct
    escalation of queries to Subject Matter Experts/ team management and follow up to ensure resolution
    within the agreed SLAs.

    Policy advice - Providing initial case management advice and support to Line Managers with all
    disciplinary, capability, grievance and performance related matters seeking advice and / or referring to
    the Employee Relations team as and when appropriate for advice to help manage cases.

    I hope this helps.

    Good luck!



    • Thank you Babs. That's really helpful, much appreciated. I will give your advice a try.

      Many Thanks,


  • Thank you Gary and Sarah for your advice. You have given me some great ideas to try. I will give these a go and hopefully they will help. Many thanks,


  • Hi Julia

    How are you displaying your experience of HR tasks on your application/CV? I'd like to make sure that you are promoting those as much as you can. Often people explain their work history by writing bullet points under two headings: Key Responsibilities and Achievements. Under these headings, you could really bring out your HR experience.

    You could do some research on contemporary CV styles with the idea of making your CV stand out. Look for the kinds of language that modern recruiters are looking for on a CV.Try to connect with the recruiter, again with the intention of standing out. Phone the company and ask to speak to the recruiter and explain the situation. Connect with them on LinkedIn and chat. Have a profile photo on your CV. They could have a 100 CVs on their desk - humanise your application and make it stand out :)

  • Hi Julia

    Sorry to hear this is a struggle for you, have you considered undertaking some volunteering work for a not for profit? This could be a good way to get experience.

    The other option is to consider agency work as a means to get some experience? This can be a useful way in.

    I also know some students who have obtained internships in various businesses as a way to get HR experience.  Sadly it is very competitive but do keep trying as your managment experiecne could give you the edge over HR candidates who have never line managed!

    Good luck



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