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Thom Staight

Michael Page HR

Regional Director

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Is it worth bothering with a CIPD qualification?


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.
This article was first published by our partner, online jobs board, Changeboard.

3 Responses

  1. To quote: “A CIPD
    To quote: “A CIPD qualification can ensure specialist knowledge of the latest theory and a good level of insight into best practice in HR and development”.
    Surely we are not saying all CIPD certificates are the same. It depends on the level – Foundation, intermediate or advanced (Level 3, 5, 7,)
    As a tutor delivered HR Certificate at level three my students are getting a general grounding in HR so as to help them to decide where they want to go in their career. They are cerainly not ready to deliver specialist advice based on superior knowledge. They will however know where to go to get such information.

  2. Point of view from the CIPD

    CIPD qualifications are a good way to acquire the essential knowledge and skills to become an effective HR practitioner. Our qualifications (and professional membership) are underpinned by our HR Profession Map, which defines the global standards for HR practitioners and sets HR firmly as a business discipline.

    Our qualifications also provide a popular route to becoming recognised for HR professionalism through CIPD professional membership. After all, how you apply what you’ve learnt back in the workplace – and what you learn from the experience – is critical to becoming a “fully-rounded” HR professional. That’s why for many practitioners studying a CIPD qualification is just the starting point, as recognition through CIPD professional membership is their goal.

    Gaining CIPD professional membership (Associate member, Chartered Member or Chartered Fellow) demonstrates meeting our rigorous criteria and global standards for best practice in HR. It’s respected by employers and the industry alike, whilst on a personal level, it emphasises a commitment to continuing professional development.

  3. CIPD qualification – ticking the box?

    Hi Thom

    Your premise "A CIPD qualification can ensure specialist knowledge of the latest theory and a good level of insight into best practice in HR and development", I would argue is open to question and for some time. I would ask as to what evidence is there for this to be true – apart from it being a self-certifying statement.

    In fact could it be that the only reason this statement is true is because it goes unquestioned. I would welcome some more objective discussion from others on this. From our perspective at the International School of HCM, there are holes, and big ones at that. Maybe the membership needs to ask some searching questions?

    I get the impression too often that a CIPD qualification is all about ticking boxes for recruiters. By the way I’m not saying that a CIPD qualification isn’t of value and I acknowledge all those who have worked hard for them – just the question as to how high is the professional standard it represents……..

    Nicholas J Higgins
    Dean, International School of Human Capital Management

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Thom Staight

Regional Director

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