How I went from serving in the army to working in recruitment

Hi! I’m Daniel. I joined the military in 2011, as an Infantry Soldier and served the country across Poland, Kenya, Estonia and Cyprus. After six years’ service, having reached the position of Reconnaissance Patrolman, I felt content. I’d achieved what I wanted to - been challenged, tested and seen things I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Now it was time to hand over the baton and go back to civilian life and my family. So, in went my 12 months’ notice and so began the 365-day countdown.

Two years later, and I’m a senior recruitment consultant at Evolution. After one year here, I’m hopefully now on my way to being promoted to senior account manager and with my eyes firmly on a team leader position. So how did I find myself recruiting IT consultants, knowing what skills a DevOps engineer needs and networking with financial cybercrime professionals?

I first heard about Evolution through a friend, and after conducting some of my own research, I knew I’d be a great fit for a tech recruitment agency. Not the normal fit, but a great fit nonetheless. So, I applied and prepared myself for a journey that nothing could have prepared me for: stepping back into a “normal” job. If you’re in a similar position – either considering leaving the army, or have already left – here’s what I’ve learnt since moving into a recruitment role.

Twelve months isn’t long

A year’s notice. 12 months. 365 days. 8,760 hours. As a recruitment consultant, a year’s notice is a very long time, and I felt no different back when I handed in my military notice. In reality, 12 months isn’t long at all - it flies by. If you are in the same position I was in, use this time wisely to ask for as much advice as possible, from as many different people as possible and as early on as you can. Speak to friends, family, ex-military, recruitment agencies - everyone. You’ll be packing your bags sooner than you realise.

You have a lot of options

In the military bubble, it’s easy to believe that you don’t have many options when leaving, but that’s not true at all. The skills and experiences you’ve gained in your career so far can be applied to anything - you just need to work out what career path you want to follow and take steps to get you there. The army has a bias for action - don’t lose that focus.

Marketing yourself can be challenging

You’ve faced people’s worst nightmares, survived against the odds and worked in the toughest conditions - of course you can market yourself. Or can you? Explaining how your military career is relevant to a civilian job can be hard, which is why it’s important to focus on your transferable skills. The armed forces excel in producing veterans who outperform other candidates in teamwork and communication skills - both crucial for army life and vital for all jobs. Use recruitment consultants or people who have been there to help you create a CV, LinkedIn profile and interview techniques that make you the ideal candidate for any job.

You don’t need a degree

Managers, colleagues, even friends aren’t entirely sure what you’ve experienced, nor what you’re capable of, and sometimes you’ll be battling incorrect perceptions about a lack of education, a lack of work experience and an inability to transition. This is where confidence comes in. The army gave me confidence in my own abilities - the courage to carry out any job with conviction. Use this confidence to challenge perceptions and outperform your competition.

Your skills are highly transferable

Some of the most important skills in the army are highly transferable into recruitment jobs; particularly problem-solving, teamwork, initiative and communication skills. Whichever skill you developed most in the army will definitely be transferable to your next job. For me, it was resilience. Nothing in the army is easy. No amount of planning can prepare you for every eventuality. You learn how to keep going when things aren’t going your way, how to try new things, adapt to the situation and make things happen regardless.

It’s not a step back

You joined the armed forces because you wanted to make a difference, and you did. Re-joining civilian life can feel like a step back, but it’s not. Leaving the military is probably the most important and challenging military operation you’ll ever complete - but the challenges are the most rewarding part. I love my job! I get to talk to people from a variety of backgrounds, help them achieve their career goals, and I’m rewarded for hard work.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in a change in career, contact our internal recruitment team today. Whether you’re experienced or not, if you are interested in a career in recruitment at Evolution, they’ll be happy to talk to you.


Careers @ Evolution

Daniel Shannon

Account Delivery Consultant

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