Although a CIPD qualification isn’t always requested by employers, there are always some hiring managers who include it as a prerequisite on their job specs and adverts.
If you already have an HR-related degree or extensive industry experience, the CIPD may be less of a necessity – but it’s a well-respected qualification that could open doors when looking for a new HR role. Particularly if you’re looking to get into HR from another business function, CIPD training could be a worthwhile step to take.
A CIPD qualification can ensure specialist knowledge of the latest theory and a good level of insight into best practice in HR and development. With this in mind, many employers will typically hold a fully CIPD-qualified candidate in high regard when looking to fill a role.
Certification vs. experience
As impressive as it is, official certification from a chartered body can’t replace the role of hands-on experience. In HR recruitment, employers are always keen to see a robust, demonstrable track record alongside any formal training.
An understanding of current legislation and best practice is great, but to really prove the value you can add to a new organisation or in a new role, examples of practical application of any theory is essential.
For those a little further on in their careers, at management/decision-making level, professional membership could assist with career development, particularly when there are any skills or knowledge gaps.
How can you demonstrate soft skills?
A CIPD certificate will give you the chance to hone and sharpen your HR knowledge, with advanced-level study helping you to push your skills into a more strategic realm. However, it shouldn’t be forgotten that HR roles involve interaction with internal (and external) stakeholders at all levels of a business – so exceptional soft skills are also required.
A CIPD qualification won’t demonstrate softer skills such as communication, verbal reasoning and leadership. So in an interview situation, ensure that your theoretical know-how is balanced by evidence of your interpersonal development.
Fitting everything in
The CIPD offers a variety of flexible study options to those considering the qualification – including part-time and supported distance learning programmes. There are also a number of approved centre up and down the UK – so you should be able to find somewhere relatively local where you can complete the qualification.
If you’re happy in your current role, investigate if your employer offers the opportunity for you to qualify alongside your day job. When looking for a new job, find out more about the CIPD training opportunities available.
Is it for you?
It’s tricky to definitively say whether chartered qualification will make you stand out as a candidate as all employers have different priorities. But a good mix of formal training and a proven track record will always be the most desirable skills combination.
Thom Staight is regional director at recruitment consultancy, Michael Page HR.