Moving from teaching to recruitment

Mel Clark

When Mel felt she'd given all she could to her teaching career she wondered what to do next. Luckily for us, she chose Robert Walters to grow the next phase of her career.

Mel made the move from teaching to recruitment in 2007. She started out as a consultant, before working her way up to senior manager, and is now a principal consultant in the executive search division. Here, she tells us her story.

"After 9 years as a teacher I felt like I’d given everything I could. I was second in department and was offered a great head of faculty job but I knew that taking on a role at a different school wasn’t for me. I loved teaching but every minute of every day was about the job. I felt that after focusing so much on helping my pupils achieve their goals that I wanted to grow my own aspirations. My Dad and best friend worked in recruitment and were always saying I’d be suited to it so I started to give it some serious thought.

Training was important to me

I met with a number of top tier recruitment consultancies but Robert Walters was recommended to me because they had the best reputation for training. I was worried it would be ‘hard core sales’ but what impressed me was that sales targets were very important but so were building profitable long-term relationships.

Transferable skills from teaching

My teaching skills were totally transferable in this respect as I knew exactly how to work with people and build relationships to get the best from them. It might be a cliché but people do really buy from people they trust and this skill was second nature to me. Teaching’s all about recognising people’s strengths too and I’m able to focus on this to match the right professionals with the right job.

A typical day

Every morning starts with the team discussing the candidates we’ve met, their skills and which roles might be right for them. I spend a lot of time preparing candidates for interview – at the start ranging from newly qualified accountants to finance directors and CFOs. Now, though I focus on senior level hires. You need to be incredibly organised to juggle your clients’ and candidates’ expectations but after the complexities of teaching planning this came easily to me.

The rewards

It’s definitely been the right move for me, in my third quarter here I was a top fee earner. There’s a great atmosphere and because I’ve got a competitive nature it suits me down to the ground. You are rewarded when you deserve it and the focus on teamwork and the support you get from everyone makes a real difference. I started as a consultant but quickly moved up to senior consultant and senior manager - now I'm a principal in our executive search division.

Mel Clark

Principal Consultant

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I love my new work-life balance

What I love about Robert Walters is that I have a totally absorbing career but I’ve got a great work life balance. I don’t think teaching ever leaves you but recruitment allows you to utilise what you’ve gained and learn new skills. Increasing my earning potential was also really important to me, I’d say that if you are self-motivated and determined you can be very successful in recruitment.”

My teaching skills were totally transferable. Teaching’s all about recognising people’s strengths too and I’m able to focus on this to match the right professionals with the right job.

What we offer

A comprehensive recruitment consultant training programme is provided, along with the opportunity to work in a thriving industry focused on a range of strategically important resourcing issues. Many teachers have successfully transferred to a career in recruitment at Robert Walters.

Inspired by Mel's story? 

If you think you'd like to use the skills developed whilst teaching please send an up-to-date CV to or call +44 20 7509 8414.

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