From software developer to HR

Hi everyone, I hope 2024 has been treating you well so far. I'm wondering if you can offer any advice...

I've been working as a software developer for a while, but I've found that it's really not a good fit for me and I've struggled with it a lot more than I thought I would. After thinking things through, I decided to change my path and enrol onto the CIPD Level 3 course.

I won't complete the course until around November, but I've started applying to entry level roles anyway. I'm concerned that my previous experience will be deemed irrelevant to most employers. I've tried my best to word my CV and cover letter in a way that highlights my transferable skills, but in the end software development isn't similar at all. It's just that there's a reason why I'm looking for something so different to my previous role!

I've not had any administrative experience, customer service experience, etc. So do I just need to stick it out until someone is generous enough to give me a chance? Or is there something else I could be doing now to get experience? (Transferring to a different role within my current organisation isn't an option unfortunately.)

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

  • Hey Freya, I hope your level 3 is going well! I don't see any reason why you wouldn't be able to get an entry level HR role, however the job market in HR seems to be a bit tough at the moment so that's possibly a reason why you are struggling. Have you attended any HR networking events at all? Your local CIPD branch should have some upcoming events. I also like the HR Ninjas local meet ups, these are just informal social meets. Attending local events like this is a great way to get to know local HR professionals who may be hiring for their team or know someone who is!
  • Have you had a look at HR Systems roles? This would combine HR with your IT background and get you a foot in the door.
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    2 Feb, 2024 10:43

    In reply to Elizabeth:

    That's a very good shout, Elizabeth. I think maybe would also have a view on this :)

  • In reply to Steve Bridger:

    I'd agree with what Elizabeth says, unless you're desperate to run a mile from IT roles. ;-) You could also look for IT roles supporting HR Systems (I went from supporting HR systems within HR to supporting HR systems within IT for a while to broaden my experience). Or you could look at project roles in HR where you might have transferable skills from where software releases are run as projects. Or Pay and Reward where your analytical approach may transfer across.
  • For what it's worth, I'd be very keen to look at someone with that kind of background - HR relies on good data to inform decisions, and harnessing information from HR systems and interpreting that data is absolutely key. Don't hide your first career when you're applying for new roles, celebrate it!
  • I echo the advice you have below. It's a tough market so adapting your CV, celebrating your past and transferable skills and honing your answers to why HR, why now...what will you bring and focusing on roles that could build on your data, tech skills will all help. You are showing a commitment by studying too and it will take persistence to find the right role, keep trying.

    There are lots of threads on this forum about people wanting to transition into a new HR role and wondering how to navigate that so know you are not alone and read those for additional information too.

    Good luck.
  • It might be worth changing your CV to "skills-based" rather than "experience-based". You still put your experience on there, but this is often used for people with low experience or those who are looking to change their career path:
    Find a few job ads that you'd apply to, note the key skills and add your evidence underneath giving real world examples (similar to a competency based interview). You'll need to be selective about which skills you highlight otherwise it will become too long, but after a bit of time preparing, you can easily swap the skills in and out depending on what a job ad really highlights which also helps you tailor your CV quickly.