How to change career from Recruitment (7 Practical Steps)

A career change can be daunting, but with the right information, it can be a success. As a recruiter, there are many great career options available to you. However, you may be wondering what you need to do to transition your career. This article discusses the practical steps you can take to transition career from a recruiter.

Let’s begin!

Step 1. Research Alternate Careers for A Recruiters

If you’ve decided that you want to change careers from being a recruiter, the first thing you need to do is look for other career opportunities that you may be interested in.

When looking at other career options available to you it’s important to perform an assessment on yourself. Ask yourself what it is you would really like to do? When making this decision it’s important to not base your choice on salaries or prestige alone, because if you truly do not like what you do for a living, money, and titles can only go such a long way.

If you’re changing from one career path to another it’s important to evaluate why it is you no longer want to be a recruiter first and foremost. Answering this question is a great place to start, and your answer will help you figure out what it is you’re looking for in a new career.

Personal assessment is a personal exercise but here are some tips that are sure to help you settle on a choice that will be perfect for you.

Some things to ask yourself are;

  • What do I dislike about being a recruiter?
  • What am I good at?
  • What motivates you?
  • When are you at your happiest with work? And when are you most frustrated with work?

Now that you’ve asked yourself these personal questions, it’s time to ask some more career-based questions.

  • What type of work-life balance are you looking for?
  • What level of income is enough to sustain you?
  • What type of industry would you like to work in?

Highlighting your career wants and your needs is a great first step and will help you narrow down your list when you’re researching other career paths. 

If you already have a specific career in mind then the best thing to do is see how your wants and needs will align with this career. Will you be able to have the work-life balance you want? Will you feel satisfied in that career?

On the other hand, if you don’t have a specific new career in mind and are searching for any options available to you, then you need even more research. The best place to start out is with your basic search engine, you can scour the internet for exciting new jobs for former recruiters and decide on one that addresses your wants and needs.

Below is a list of common jobs that former recruiters have successfully pivoted to:

  • Public Relations Officer
  • Event Planner
  • Career Coach
  • Marketing coordinators
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Account Managers
  • Human Resource Managers.

Step 2. Speak to Other Professionals With Similar Backgrounds.

After deciding on a new career that best fits you, one very helpful thing for you to do is reach out to and speak with other professionals who have a similar background with yours.

This means finding other previous recruiters who have successfully made a change to entirely new careers.

This is important because a career change is not an easy decision to make and having someone who has already been through it and is willing to share their experiences and knowledge with you can ease a lot of burden off you.

For example, a former recruiter will have a more personal and probably more relatable experience about the hurdles you might face as someone coming from a previous career.

Additionally, someone who has successfully attempted what it is you’re trying to do will have much more knowledge on the best options to choose, the best places to start from, and the best way to go about things.

However, finding these professionals may not be easy for everybody. The best place to start is with any previous colleagues you may have had at one point that ended up changing careers.

In case this doesn’t apply to you, you can try talking to friends and family members who may have had similar experiences. Remember, there’s no reason to limit yourself to only people who changed to new careers from recruitment.

Professionals from any field who previously changed careers will also have a lot of relatable or common knowledge to share with you, plus it never hurts to network; someone you know may know someone who is in a better position to help you. 

But, If you’d prefer talking to previous recruiters or even current recruiters who are in the same boat as you, then finding online communities to join and ask questions will yield the best results. Try searching for Facebook groups, discord chat rooms, or even subreddits filled with people willing to share their experiences, advice, and probably do’s and don’ts with you.

Step 3. Build Foundational Knowledge and Get Qualified

Building foundational knowledge on the skills and traits you’ll need to be successful in your new career should be the next step in your action plan. For example, event planning deals with a lot of face-to-face interactions with clients and suppliers.

A person that’s interested in pursuing an event planning career should ask themselves if they are any good at either of those things, and if they’re not they need to learn these skills fast.

How does this apply to you and a career change?

Unless you’re not actually changing careers, the odds that you’ll find  new career with requirements and experience that exactly match those that you’re bringing from recruitment is very low. This is where building your foundational knowledge and getting qualified comes in.

Let’s picture it. Imagine a recruiter trying to transition into an Account Management role. The role will require soft skills sure, but it will also require some technical certifications or qualifications.

The recruiter can build on their foundational knowledge by researching what the requirements to be a successful account manager are (this can be done by looking through the candidate requirements for account manager job listings) and then set out to achieve them. 

This may be through acquiring more work experience in that particular field or by taking professional courses that will award them accounting qualifications once completed.

Getting additional degrees or qualifications requires time, energy and most likely some monetary investment. But, it may really be required to bridge your knowledge and experience gap depending on the career you want. Degrees, qualifications, certifications will show that you’re serious about what you want and are willing to put in the work to get it. 

Building your foundational knowledge on the field you hope to get into and aligning your skills, experience and qualification with what is required will bring you up to date for your new career.

Step 4. Identify and Package your Transferrable Skills

Another helpful tip is taking a moment to identify the transferrable skills you can bring with you to a new career.

It is easy to get caught up in getting qualifications and building your technical skills, but the not so technical skills you’ve also acquired and developed through your time working as a recruiter are also very important.

These transferrable skills will show you as a fully rounded individual who will add value to an organization apart from just carrying out your job description to the tee.

Ask yourself what your strengths and weaknesses at work are. For example, working as a recruiter probably means you’re detail-oriented, great at relationship building, and know how to communicate information across effectively. 

You may also have performed other responsibilities like email marketing for the hiring organization, following up with clients and candidates, running background checks, writing and posting job listings, scheduling and conducting interviews.

These talents and skills of yours can easily act as selling points for other careers and can easily increase your value to potential employers as well.

Let’s look at easily transferrable skills that recruiters of all kind can use in other professions.

  • Communication skills: being able to listen and communicate effectively are skills that every recruiter needs, the great thing is that communication is an easily transferrable skill that’s needed in every industry.
  • Marketing Skills: recruiters are normally great marketers who use their skills to sell candidates to organizations and vice-versa. Marketing is a skill that can be helpful in so many other professions; real estate is one of such professions. 
  • Relationship Building Skills: recruiters act as liaisons between a candidate and an organization; this requires good relationship building skills. An example of another profession that will value this skill is sales.
  • Multitasking: Part of being a recruiter is juggling more than one task at once. A lot of employers look for applicants that are able to multitask without cracking under the pressure or making errors.
  • Team work, patience, reliability, and interpersonal skills are also transferrable skills that can be utilized in a lot of other professions.

Highlighting any of your transferrable skills alongside your technical ones in your CV when applying for a job will help to show you as a well-rounded person.

Step 5. Evaluate and Reframe Your Work Experience

Evaluating and reframing your work experience is the next step in transitioning out of a recruitment career. 

Evaluating your work experience helps to put in perspective what you learned on the job as a recruiter and how these may fit into your new career. But more importantly it makes it easier to reframe your experience to present yourself as the perfect candidate for a job.

Try asking yourself what particular technical and interpersonal skills have you developed through your job? Will these skills benefit you in the new position you’re looking for?

A good way to carry out your evaluation is by first identifying all your work-related strengths and weaknesses. Your strengths could be that you are result-oriented and always achieve your target goals, while your weakness may be anything from oversharing information to punctuality.

Now that you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, what areas of your job did they affect? For example, your attention to detail or result-oriented nature may mean that you always had satisfied clients and candidates and as a result were made team lead on a nationwide project.

Putting the fact that you were team lead on a huge and successful project on your resume will stand out and do wonders for you.

But even if you feel your work experience doesn’t really relate to the new role you’re looking towards, you can easily reframe you work experience to help justify and amplify your skills to make you look like a good fit for the position.

For example, if an employer is looking for a public relations officer, you may never have worked as one but as a recruiter you will have had experience networking and marketing in order to get what you want. You can point out how your experience is similar to that of a public relations officer and show how valuable this experience will be for the role.

Step 6. Acquire New Work Experience.

Employers usually want to see that you have relevant experience in the in the role you’re applying for.

Some ways to acquire new work experience include;

  • Volunteering with an organization: One way to get more work experience is by volunteering for professionals in the new field you hope to work in. You can ask for permission to shadow them and help in any minor tasks they may have. Not only will this help you build your resume but it will help you develop your skills while building new networks.
  • Working on other company projects: Another way to gain more work experience is by volunteering to work and help out on related projects going on at your current company.

For example, if you’re working as a recruiter for a tech company and are inspired to pivot into a career in the tech world, you can volunteer to assist in minor tasks they may need help with. This will be a great way to develop and even show off your skills.

  • Work on side projects: In the evenings after work, you can spend your time working on side projects that can help you pad up your work portfolio. For example, If you’re hoping to pivot to a more digital marketing focused role you can start running and promoting campaigns. You can even offer your services to non-profits or small businesses that may need help in gaining an online presence.

Acquiring new work experience will not only look good on your resume but it will also give you an inner look into the industry you may be working in in the future.

Step 7. Update Your Professional Assets.

Changing your line of work will most likely require you to change and fine tune the way you present yourself professionally. Reviewing your CV, personal websites and Linkedln profile can go a long way in making your career change experience smoother.

Personal branding is all about marketing yourself and attracting recruiters and more job opportunities for you. Some good paces to start are;

  • Your CV: Highlighting your skills and experience on your resume in a way that fits the new career options you’re looking into Is important. Using a functional CV that lists your relevant skills will shift the focus to what you can offer the company and what they stand to benefit from having you fill that position.

Your CV is an effective way to show employers how you will be a great asset for the position you’re applying for.

  • Your Linkedln Profile: 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn to check candidates.  Your Linkedln profile is one of the first places that a hiring manger will check; this means it’s important to match the information on your CV to that on your Linkedln profile. As someone moving into a new career it’s also important to let recruiters know that you’re open for hiring and looking for new opportunities.

Optimize the headline section of your profile by listing major skills that will be required in your new profession. Also optimize the summary section of your profile by highlighting your work experience, certifications, technical skills and expertise.

  • Your Personal Websites: Your personal websites include all your social media accounts. A good tip is making sure all your social media accounts show you in a professional light; if possible let your social media activity reflect your interests and activities you may have carried out in relation to your new field of work. Make posts on topics that you’re passionate about and connect with professionals working in your field of interest.

Bonus Tip: Take Action.

Now that you’ve drafted out an amazing action plan and gotten the planning part out of the way, the only thing left for you to do is to actually start putting in the action in action plan. Prioritize yourself and your future by investing your time and energy into making this career transition work for you.

Even though it may be a big and scary decision to make for most people, if you’re intentional about what it is you want and you’ve drafted out your action plan on how to achieve what you want, the only thing left to do is believe in yourself and finally put your plan into motion.

Need to build your foundational knowledge? Acquire more work experience? Great get started right now. Look for online courses or certifications and start your journey.

Need to connect with other professionals in your field? Great start using your social media to network and reach out to people.

Identified and packaged your transferrable skills? That’s great; now incorporate those things into your CV and Linkedln profiles stat.

Do not hesitate, do not procrastinate, the best time you have to make this career change is now. No other time will be as good as now. Commit to putting into the work, and your efforts will definitely yield results for you.

But also, be patient. It’s important to know that no shortcuts exist, take small steps even if they are imperfect ones. And although talking to other professionals with similar backgrounds may yield a lot of help and advice, remember that your journey is unique to you and does not need to go exactly like it went for other people.

Just think about it. The pros will definitely outweigh the cons. You’ve planned everything out; now just trust your instincts and go!

Final thoughts

Changing careers can be a difficult thing to do, but with the right tools and attitude, you can make it happen! The eight tips in this article are tested and proven when making the action plan that’ll you’ll need to make this career change a successful one for you.

Do some research into what careers best fit your experience, skills, personal needs and wants. Network with professionals who have a similar background with you, build on your foundational knowledge by acquiring more work experience, skills and qualifications you’ll need for your new role.

Update your professional brand assets to align with the new career you’ve decided to pursue and market yourself as a perfect candidate for roles in your new career path.

 Finally, take action and treat your career change as a job in itself. Make sure to invest your time, energy and any other resources you require into turning this dream of yours into a whole reality.

There are many opportunities out there open to people with backgrounds in recruitment, the key is finding these opportunities and equipping yourself with all the experience, skills and qualifications that are sure to make you a perfect match for the role.

Patrick is passionate about supporting other professionals to find success in their chosen career paths. So far, he has successfully navigated four career transitions and is currently a Product Manager Consultant helping businesses build products their customers love.