If you are targeting a role within HR you are in a fortunate position in many ways, as you can focus on creating a CV just for the person who will be receiving it. CVs for the majority of roles are read by two groups of people – HR first and then the line manager. These usually look for quite different things from a CV and it is a tough ask to please both sets. However for HR jobs, this dichotomy is removed and the hiring manager and HR person are usually one and the same.
HR professionals value a well-structured approach and will appreciate your application all the more if your CV is concise and well laid out. Using headings, bullet points and concise descriptions will all help this. Also avoid long passages that will make the reader struggle to find the information they are seeking or worse, give up looking.
HR departments love acronyms, jargon and technical language. If there’s a way of introducing ‘blue sky thinking’, ‘SMART objectives’ or ‘service delivery’, you can be certain it will be shoe horned into job descriptions and other documents. While some terms are common across the industry you have to remember that others will be particular to your organisation, so be wary about including terms or phrases that will confuse or frustrate a potential employer. If you are in doubt, simply google the word to check.
A section of your CV highlighting your areas of expertise can be effective when targeting roles with those requirements. Where organisations are looking for experience in particular areas, such as disciplinaries and grievances, job evaluation or TUPE it will greatly strengthen your application by underlining your matching experience. Your background may cover several areas and in this case it may be advisable to create several versions of your CV, tailoring them for different areas, including as a generalist.
Professional qualifications and training
Continuous professional development or CPD is expected within the HR profession so employers will be interested to know what qualifications and accreditation you have obtained. Place your professional qualifications within the education section and lead with the professional ones, starting with your most recent. Make sure you also include any professional training, such as job evaluation or psychometric testing. In addition certain qualifications are sometimes prerequisites for positions and therefore it is imperative that you make it clear where you match the profile. If you are qualified to do SHL testing or BPS Level A & B, then here is the place to shout about it!
The profession can be a difficult one to get a foothold in, so if you are moving from a different field you will need to focus on your transferrable skills. This can include your knowledge and application of HR processes and employment law, interaction with employees and managers in other parts of your organisations, and experience of record keeping and document management. If you can point to relevant examples from your own background, it will certainly help your case, even if these skills were not employed within a HR role.