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How to attract candidates that are looking for a career change?

For the first time since records began, the number of job vacancies is greater than the number of unemployed people in the UK – this doesn’t even factor in the 18% of employees the BBC reported on who are looking to change careers within the next 12 months. 

In 2020, Indeed surveyed 10,000 job seekers, revealing that one-third of those asked reported that they were looking not only change their job but also the field in which they worked in. This number is likely to have risen further, with many citing Covid-19 as the main reason for the change as lockdown allowed individuals to rethink their career paths.

A career change can be tricky at the best of times but combined with a challenging job market and fighting for attention with more qualified candidates they can be often overlooked – however, as a recruiter, you shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss their application. 

Candidates looking to change sectors can bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and ideas to the table that can offer different perspectives. So, what should you be looking for in candidates who are making a career transition?


Has the candidate submitted a CV that is still focused on their current industry, or have they taken the time to adapt it to the industry that they wish to work in? This can range from highlighting transferable skills to focusing on any expertise they may have related to the industry – perhaps they are currently a teacher looking to move into a retail management position. They could highlight the many skills that are transferable between the two roles, such as leadership, adaptability, and communication, all skills that can be effective in a new career. 

If a candidate has taken the time to rework their CV and tailored it to the role advertised, it shows that they are serious about a career change and have put the effort in to demonstrate this.


If a candidate hasn’t studied the relevant degree, they shouldn’t be discounted automatically from the recruitment process they can show their enthusiasm or knowledge in other ways. Perhaps someone looking to move into a marketing role has spent their own time doing an online course or building a social media following or a potential carpenter likes creating furniture during their free time, but they lack the relevant qualification. 

By showcasing their enthusiasm for the role through their independent learning or hobbies, it will allow you as a recruiter to see their passion for the industry and a commitment to the role!


Candidates who have a positive outlook are more likely to be remembered, whether that’s through sending a follow-up email thanking you for your time or showing their appreciation that you gave them the opportunity to interview for a role – these interactions are likely to stick in your mind. They may not be successful on this occasion, but you are likely to remember them if they apply again in the future – we all love a bit of positivity when interacting with others.

As a recruiter, there are a few ways that you can adjust your candidate attraction, candidate engagement, and hiring process strategies to appeal to talented candidates who are looking to change their careers. 


Take a look over your advert text, paying close attention to your requirements – are your ‘must haves’ necessary, or can they be moved to ‘would like to have’? For example, does the role require someone who has five years’ experience, or would the employee still be able to fulfil the role if they had less experience?


As a company, do you support further training for your employees? Perhaps there is a course that will benefit both someone new to the role but also your existing team – make sure you speak up about any development and support system in place for employees. Candidates are more likely to apply if they know their development in the role is nurtured.


Company culture is a hot topic in recruitment, and it is one of the first things candidates look at when researching a company. It is common practice to keep your job advert clear and concise, therefore, it can be beneficial to create an area on your careers page dedicated to the culture within the company – make sure you showcase your benefits, employees, and anything that will show potential candidates that you are an inclusive and welcoming company. 

By showcasing a positive environment, you are signalling to candidates who may be unsure of changing careers that you will welcome them into the company with open arms.

Hiring a candidate that’s coming from a different sector can feel like a gamble at times, but by paying close attention to the candidate and what they can bring to the role, you could hit the jackpot! 

At Reach, we can work with you to maximise your candidate attraction to capture those looking to change careers. Contact us to learn more or explore our dedicated candidate attraction page here