“Due to the nature of the role, I was very much ‘living to work’.”

Image of Evie Houlden
From Education to Recruitment

Evie Houlden couldn't see herself in her role long term, but had no idea what else she wanted to do. Thanks to a fortuitous conversation, she discovered a new professional path – one that also supports her life outside of work. Here's her story.  

What work were you doing previously?

I worked in a High School supporting a year group as a safeguarding and progress leader. 

This involved supporting young people through academic and pastoral concerns whilst also liaising with outside agencies and parents.

What are you doing now?

I now work as a Talent Associate, at IG Recruit, a recruitment firm working for worldwide companies recruiting for sales, marketing, and tech roles.

My main day-to-day is now supporting individuals with making their own career change whilst giving advice around CV’s/interviews. 

I also teach dance classes to adults and children in the evening as I used to be a professional dancer.

Why did you change?

I wanted to move into a career with more opportunity for progression. 

My role within education had nowhere to go and I could sense this was not the role for me long term.

I also wanted to have a role that could still allow me to run my dance classes and provide me with the stability to grow these.

When was the moment you decided to make the change?

During the summer holidays I spent a lot of time working on myself after struggling with personal development. 

I'm a strong believer of ‘working to live’, and unfortunately due to the nature of the role, I was very much ‘living to work’.

It made sense that my career needed to change in order for me to grow as an individual and lead a life I wanted/needed.

How did you choose your new career?

A friend who also worked in recruitment suggested I research into this career due to my skills in people management and organisation.

I didn’t have any prior knowledge of recruitment, and had no idea what I wanted to move into, so was happy to explore this new avenue.

Are you happy with the change?

Yes, it came at the perfect time. 

I enjoy coming into work everyday (which is something I never thought could happen), and connecting with a range of people around the world!

What do you miss and what don't you miss?

I miss the school holidays and the satisfaction of supporting young people. 

I loved being able to create a safe space for those who needed it most, and being up to date on all the latest slang!

I don’t miss the responsibility of dealing with sensitive topics that were mentally and physically draining.

How did you go about making the shift?

I spoke to friends and family about what they’re doing career-wise and how they got there. 

I had no idea what I wanted to do or how to get there, so spent some time looking around to see what was available.

It was luck that during dinner with a friend we spoke about my situation. She connected me with a recruitment company she was familiar with. After a phone call with the director to talk through the company and the role, we scheduled a formal interview.

How did you develop (or transfer) the skills you needed for your new role?

A lot of my skills were transferable such as organisation, time management, people management. 

I took my time learning technical skills such as LinkedIn Recruiter and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms needed. I had support from my Team Lead and colleagues to build the skills necessary to be successful.

What didn’t go well? What wrong turns did you take?

I was lucky that everything went smoothly.

However this is probably because I did my research and spoke to a number of people before making my move. 

As mentioned, always try and be as informed as possible.

How did you handle your finances to make your shift possible?

I ensured when accepting my new offer there was a pay increment, even if it was slight. 

I was very lucky that IG Recruit were happy to wait eight weeks whilst I worked my notice so I had no gap from ending one role and beginning another.

What was the most difficult thing about changing?

Getting used to a new culture, familiarising yourself with colleagues and building a new routine.

What help did you get?  

I had assistance from a colleague with updating my CV, and making sure it was suitable for the roles I was applying for.

I also had help from friends who could connect me with companies who were looking to hire.

What resources would you recommend to others?

LinkedIn, especially for networking, seeing where people are now and how they got there. 

It’s really interesting to see other’s careers paths as inspiration. You can also connect with recruitment agencies who are always posting updates on roles.

What have you learnt in the process?

Just to go for it! The worst that can happen is you get a no.

What do you wish you'd done differently?

I wish I'd looked into more companies to compare benefits, culture and responsibilities. 

This would have given me more of an idea on what I believe is important to me.

What would you advise others to do in the same situation?

Research everything. 

Be as informed about what you’re going into, so you’re in a great position when you’re in interviews. 

Definitely rely on support from friends and family. I wouldn’t be where I am without their advice and aid when needed.

Thanks to our friends at IG Recruit for this story. 

What lessons could you take from Evie's story to use in your own career change? Let us know in the comments below.

Plus, if you know someone who's made a successful shift into work they love, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [email protected]. and you could win a £25 / $35 voucher in our monthly draw.