PM wishing to transition into HR!

Hi everyone, 

I am currently working as a project manager working in the construction industry at present, but I am wanting to transition into HR. I recently applied for a position on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee for my company and have been informed that I have managed to get a place on that, so I will be attending monthly meetings at our Head Office to work with other colleagues to shape our EDI strategy. 

In addition to my construction-related qualifications and experience, I also have a BSc Hons Psychology and I have previous experience working in roles as Office Manager, Teaching Assistant, People Services Advisor for the Open University, as well as considerable project management experience. 

I would ideally like to find a Senior HR Advisor or HR Manager role, and I plan to undertake a CIPD qualification to help me break into the field. I have signed up to do a one day employment law course, but I just wondered which CIPD qualification would be most suitable because I would ideally like to transition across to a managerial position instead of starting in an entry role. Would this be possible by doing a CIPD Level 3 qualification or do you think that a CIPD Level 5 would be the best option? Also, would you suggest specialising in EDI (given my role on the EDI committee) or going for a more generalist position once I have finished the qualification?

Any help would be much appreciated - thank you!

  • Hi Lauren

    Welcome to the communities.
    There should be a few people on here who can better give you advise than me

  • Hello

    I would recommend a level 5 for the level of role you are looking for - in my experience, level 3 takes you up to HR Assistant/Coordinator, at a push it might reach Advisor.
    I would also say it is usually quite challenging to transfer across at the level you are looking for! So you're doing the right thing by finding connections with your current HR department, I would make them aware of your aspirations and get involved in anything you can - e.g. can you lead on grievance/disciplinaries where appropriate? Do they have any projects you can champion? That will help tailor your CV to HR and help at interviews.
    Keep in mind doing a level 5 that you will need some real world experience, so likely need support of your business to give insights into these elements.
    Smaller businesses may be more open to your transition at that level also.
  • Hi Lauren

    In addition to Sophie's very good advice, I would recommend going for a generalist position once you've got your qualification. Specialising in EDI at this stage of your career could be rather limiting. If you go down the generalist route you will still get plenty of opportunity to get involved in EDI topics as your career develops (as you are doing now in your current PM role)

    Good luck

  • Hi Lauren
    I agree with your other respondents and would highly recommend Level 5, which will give you an excellent grounding in a wide range of HR management subjects. This is the route I took and I felt prepared, confident and well-informed after the course. Good luck in your new HR career!
  • What were the things you liked about your time as a People Advisor at the OU and what did you not like? Do you want to spend your days doing the same kind of thing but dealing with more complex issues?

    At the risk of pointing out the obvious, there is always a demand for HR project managers.
  • In reply to Sue Eakin:

    I have to disagree about level 5
    Most of my students came in at level 7. Either with a degree e of experience or both
    lauren has both and would be ideal for level 7
  • In reply to Peter Stanway:

    From considerable past experience in international process plant engineering contracting, I'd consider possession / level of CIPD qualification very secondary to overall managerial skills and personally (and suspect many MDs / CEOs too) would have little hesitation in allowing a good project manager to transition at similar status level to an HR Manager role. BUT, all with the caveat that *management* were the key part of the HR role - as opposed to eg a specialist advisory role.

    That said, though, I'd very much agree with Peter about the appropriateness of CIPD Level 7