Depressing- Unable to secure a job role in HR

I am writing with a heavy heart to share my current situation. I hold a BSc in Accounting from my home country and a Master's Degree in HRM from the UK. I am also an Associate Member of the CIPD. With three years of experience as an HR Generalist and an additional three years as a Compensation and Benefits Officer back home, I arrived in the UK in 2020 on a visa to establish a company branch, a task I've successfully accomplished.

 However, despite my qualifications, dedication, and relevant experience, I have been struggling to secure a position in HR for over a year now. This has been disheartening for someone who prides themselves on being a hard worker committed to excellence. I have tailored my applications to roles that align perfectly with my expertise and even ventured into volunteering for six months, all to no avail.

 I have sought professional assistance to enhance my CV, yet I have seen no improvement in my job search outcomes. I am reaching out to seek advice and guidance, as I am at a loss for what steps to take next.


Any advice or pointers you could provide would be immensely appreciated.

  • I hope you find what you are looking for

    Its hard to give tailored advice as your circumstances will be unique to you. I have seen some pretty shocking CVs "tailored" by professionals and I have seen some good ones. The good ones tend to be high on achievements and data and the poor ones on soundbites and "key words".

    Its likely (as fair or unfair as it is) that you may have to take a step backwards to go forwards. For what ever reason (prejudice, lots of candidates, buyers market) HR people tend to put a lower weight on overseas experience than some industries. (Just my opinion). So you may have to move down a step to secure your role.

    Hows your LinkedIn profile? What strategy are you using on social media?

    How is your networking? Do you spend 20+ hours a week job searching? Its a cliche but its a full time job getting a full time job in the current HR market

  • Sorry to hear you're struggling. The market is very difficult at the moment.
    As Keith mentioned, you may have to take a step down and accept a lower role to build up your UK experience.
    At which stage of the process do you typically get stuck? Is it your CV you need to work on, do you struggle with the pre-screening phone call...? Zoom in on the issue and focus your energy on that. Best of luck to you.
  • In reply to Keith:

    I had some help with my LinkedIn profile from one of those companies that specialise in CVs and LinkedIn optimisation
    Based on your advice I will focus more on networking because, truth be told, I haven't really explored that area to land a job.

    Thanks a bunch for your advice. Really appreciate it.
  • In reply to Sarah:

    Honestly, I am not even aiming for managerial roles right now. I have been applying to lower-level (Entry level sometimes) positions, but the recent changes to immigration rules by the Home Office have made things tougher. I am stuck because I can't accept anything below the salary threshold they have set.

    I had few calls last year to understand what I could offer but they were looking for an immediate start (void of immigration control), so I would say that I haven't been able to get to any level.
  • I think your LinkedIn profile needs a little work. Not easy to work out what level you are working at. Current job sounds like admin work but your previous role is unclear what you did. Need much more engagement with HR posts.
  • In reply to Steven :

    Oh wow! Thank you so much for your feedback. I will work on it
  • Good advice from others, but I would also add that an uncertain visa status is a big turn-off for a lot of employers. If you had ILTR I suspect your prospects would be transformed.

    However, this overlooks the potential *value* in someone with first-hand experience of navigating the visa system. I would point you towards the NHS, which is historically under-subscribed for applications to HR roles and for whom knowledge of the UK's visa system - especially for those outside the EU - would be a positive boon.

    Even if you can't find a permanent role, you can apply to join the Bank registers for Trusts in your area and be available for short-term administrative roles as needed, which will then strengthen your position should a permanent role in the People team come available.
  • In reply to Robey:

    Thank you Robey.
  • Johanna

    | 0 Posts

    CIPD Staff

    9 May, 2024 14:47

    Hi Oyinloye there is a webinar coming up that our CIPD Trust team is running and I think it might be very relevant for your current situation, if you are free to join on 14 May: events.teams.microsoft.com/.../eb76b767-aa69-4d6a-8b28-d6f228a3d8a2@9cb4d2a1-e596-4737-8d20-a5a251a500a1 also re the networking, please do reach out to your local CIPD branch, they run events and it's a good way to get to know other CIPD members in your local area. You may also want to read more about this new mentoring programme, details are here: cipd.sharepoint.com/.../Expect-More-in-’24--new-mentoring-platform-for-members!.aspx

  • In reply to Johanna:

    Thank you Johanna, I have registered to attend the webinar, I will also check out the mentoring programme.
  • Oyinloye, firstly it's depressing and completely understandable to feel downhearted when you feel you are doing all you can to secure a role and can't quite work out what you need to do more of.

    I'd echo the advice below.

    Your Linked In profile is important to be found and also to showcase your skills when people are researching you. If you have a visa and a length of time on it you might need to be upfront about that. The UK does have a hostile environment vibe to it, sadly, and this could be something you can address overtly on your CV and any covering message to reassure potential employers and take that off the table.

    Posting on Linked In is also important but can be tricky to do. It can help you get found or fill out your profile.

    If you want to do more networking perhaps join some Linked In groups like My HR Careers, which also run events and there will be some more.

    The important thing is to keep plugging away. It's demoralising but necessary in a tough markert. We have to keep finding the staying power to keep going. Good luck.
  • In reply to Sharon:

    Thank you Sharon. I will not relent.
  • Hello Ouinloye. I’m sorry that you haven’t been unable to secure your desired role yet . Keep trying, applying for roles advertised by ERs who offer visa sponsorships or alternative routes ( e.g.) overseas working options for which you won’t need UK RtW. It’s a difficult market at the moment for HR professionals who want to progress ( from my own experience perspective) . Good Luck
  • In reply to Katarina Buehling:

    Thank you so much Katarina. Will do