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Judith C


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Getting into L&D Help


Good afternoon

I am seeking advice from anyone who can share how I can progress my career in L&D. I have been working in employability for over eight years. I have gained some great experience designing and delivering training based on employers need and providing advice and guidance to job seekers (working within the whole training cycle).  I have worked closely with employers to develop specific workshops to get job seekers job ready to enable them to apply for jobs with them.  For many years I have tried to change focus and apply for jobs within a company in the L&D departments and using my experiences to date to develop staff but can not seem to get a break.  

I hold the CIPD Certificate in Training Practice which gave me the theory behind training and really solidified what I was designing and delivering.   I just don't know what else I can do to get the job.   I feel employers can't grasp the work I have done and my transferable skills despite me spelling this out in my CV and applications (this is what I do for my job). For instance when signing up with agencies I have often had to describe what I do to agencies that I am a 'headhunter' this is when they understand what I do.I have also had to do this when having a telephone interview.  Can anyone provide me with any advice and tips on how to get a break? Perhaps I am missing something that I can not see. 

 Thank you for reading. 


4 Responses

  1. Feedback

    Hi Judith,

    It can be incredibly frustrating when you are first trying to get into a new or more specialised field – I found the same when I was trying to 'break in' to the HR/L&D world after being a Operational Manager for a few years.

    As I was reading your post, a couple of things crossed my mind:

    1.  Have you had any feedback from the companies you have applied to as to their reasons for not appointing you to a post.

    2.  What type of post are you applying for?  From my own experience, I found that although I had been training in my management role, I still had to take a step down (so-to-speak) in order to get into the field and prove my abilities.  Of course, this was reflected in the amount I was paid but I was fortunate that it was at a time where I could take a short term pay cut for the long term benefit.

    It does sound like you are doing the right things, with having the CTP etc to support your practical knowledge, so it would be interesting to hear the feedback from potential employers.

    I'm sure other people on this forum will have some ideas and suggestions too.



  2. is your field perceived as too limited?

    Hi Judith.

    Firstly, as soon as you say that you are a 'headhunter' you may actually be confusing the issue; headhunters select and assess people on behalf of their employer clients….if I understand your post correctly, you train people to approach the employers and to present themselves well…..the two are very different and I, for one, would not necessarily see a headhunter as a prospective L&D person (which is weird, 'cos I was a headhunter, before I came into L&D).

    Secondly, it may be that the type of training you have done with people is seen as rather narrow; it is 'jobsearch training'; perhaps it may help if you present this in its modular form; "I provide training to help people self assess, reearch, write marketing material, carry out one to one presentations and sales meetings.  Negotiation skills and assertiveness are also topics that I teach."

    I myself spent several years working part time as a group outplacement consultant and I ran workshops in Written Communications, Telephone Techniques, Self Awareness, Presentation Skills, Campaign Planning, Negotiating, Assertiveness and Interview Skills.  I suspect that you do similar types of sessions.  You are probably also something of a coach and mentor.

    I hope that helps a bit!

    Rus Slater


  3. Hello 


    Thank you Fiona and Rus for your replies which are greatly appreciated. 

    Fiona, the feedback that I have obtained is very positive but the thing that has stopped me is sector specific experience. I am largely looking for training posts and currently have taken a side step and gone back to a previous role I had at the start of my career in employability. In my current role I work as a co-ordinator in employability although my role encompasses much more than the job title suggests (doesn't most jobs) as I get to do delivery which is great.

    Rus, thinking back I think you are right using the term headhunter was confusing. I was just so desperate to ensure the agency could understand what I did.  I didn't think it was that difficult to explain.  I did assess and select applicants for their suitability for the post prior to them participating in the employability training.  It did cross my mind that perhaps my training experience is rather limited to a specific area and liked the way I could express it to make it more attractive to prospective employers. I guess I do provide coaching/mentoring function too, but don't have a qualification to back up my claims does this matter? Why didn't I think of all this?  

    I feel my next step in my development will be to broaden my training experience/topics for delivery but how can get experience in delivering a broader range of topics?  I have tried experimenting in my current role but working with an extremely difficult client base who do not want to engage in group sessions.  Is it worth considering other career option if so any ideas? I have tried using the CIPD for which I am am member for a resource base but feel this is largely geared to HR.   

    Any further thoughts out there as this has really give me some food for thought and really useful. 

    Thanks for reading

    Kind regards




    Hi Judith,

    Reading your reply I wonder if agencies are put off by the type of clients you are working with? It could be that they don't see how what you do with – I'm assuming here so feel free to correct me! – people who find it difficult to find a job / stay in a job / have lower levels of education is relevant to the people their clients employ.

    If you do work with 'hard to reach' groups I would say that what you currently do is likely to be very different  from what you would do if you worked with a more corporate / professional group.

    Agencies also tend to like candidates who they can neatly fit directly into jobs, with matching experience. You might have more luck trying to get some experience through a project, or different organisation. Can you train your colleagues or get involved with your professional body and run CPD? You could also consider applying for roles where what you do now makes you an expert, ie train people for your job.

    Good luck! 

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Judith C

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