Why a Varied Career Path is a Good Thing

Claire joined Progressive Travel Recruitment as an Account Support Manager. She’s had a fascinating career path, including being a Police Constable. She’s also worked in corporate finance, in two recruitment sectors, and is a dedicated volunteer currently running a Child Contact Centre. We asked for her insights into how her varied career path has been beneficial.

1.What are the main differences between the jobs you’ve done?

The main difference is between the private and public sectors. Going from corporate finance into the public sector was an unbelievable culture shock.

Coming from working with people making huge amounts of money, driving flash cars, and working in plush surroundings, I was transported into a world of limited budgets at the police. I met people that despite earning lower wages, were very well educated and qualified, cared deeply, and who worked tirelessly to help in the community.

Now, moving into travel recruitment, the atmosphere is a lot more pleasant, and I get to see my family more. The negotiating and communication skills I learnt in the police are very useful. I understand many different personality types, too, which helps in recruitment.

2.Why did you join the Police and what was it like?


Claire in her police days

After 13 years in finance I took time to think about what I really wanted in my career. I’ve always been involved with charities and working in the community, so after a lot of research and brainstorming (my walls were covered in A4 paper full of spider diagrams and ideas), I applied to be a Police Community Support Officer with the Met Police.

For me, it was ideal – varied and active, but most of all I got paid to help others. I immersed myself in multi-agency activities. From this I gained an insight into many areas of the public sector, seeing positives and negatives.

As my career progressed, I became a Police Constable. When I’m asked about my time in the police, I say that it’s a gritty, gruelling job, seeing a very unpleasant side to society, but I will always be proud to have served as a police officer and will never forget the amazing opportunities and experiences. Even the terrible experiences were an education, as they taught me to cherish the good things in my own life.

3.How have the different roles helped you in your new role?

In my previous roles, I’ve had to be organised, good at problem solving and communicating. Negotiating is a key skill, too, and in recruitment, all these skills are needed in abundance. Over the years, I have gained a good understanding of different job roles, sectors, and types of personalities, all of which help when speaking to clients and candidates to understand their needs.

4.What do you think are the benefits of changing careers?

When we leave school, the options can be overwhelming. To decide as a teenager about what job you want for the rest of your life is ludicrous. The beauty of today’s world is that any decision you make needn’t be forever.

Jobs, higher education, training and pursuing multiple careers are all more accessible now. The benefit of change is that you can experience a huge variety of things, meet different people, and learn amazing skills.

While loyalty to employers is very important, choosing a career that makes you happy and gives you a sense of achievement and fulfilment is crucial. After all we spend a great deal of time at work.

5.What made you return to the business world and recruitment?

I reached a crossroads in my police career and asked a recruitment consultant I knew from my finance days for advice. By the end of our meeting, he’d planted the idea of me joining his business as a recruiter (he was good at his job). Despite the blood, sweat and tears that had gone into becoming a Police Officer, I felt the need for something new. I thought the two would cross over well, although my interviewing techniques had to be softened and I no longer needed a solicitor present to talk to my interviewee!

Going back into the private sector was also a culture shock. I found being in an office all day challenging. Despite this, I loved having routine back in my life and being able to see family and friends, make plans and have more control over my career path.

Moving to travel recruitment suits where my life is now. It’s less of a corporate atmosphere, and the variety of roles, candidates and clients is always interesting. I’m hugely looking forward to this next stage of my career.

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