Tips for Writing a Career Change Cover Letter
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert
Are you miserable in your job and dreaming about a career change? Were you downsized from your last position and wondering if a new direction is right for you? Whatever the reason you want to change careers, you’re certainly not alone. Major career shifts have become common in today’s job market.
As you go through the steps to ensure a smooth transition, including researching your new career goal, networking with people in the field and brushing up on related skills, you might get stuck when you start to write your cover letter. After all, how do you market yourself for a career field where you have limited or no experience?
Here’s the good news: The cover letter is your friend. You can use this valuable tool to point out your relevant credentials, transferable skills and even passion for your new career choice. More than any other job seeker, you need a dynamic cover letter to prove how you would contribute to an employer. Follow these guidelines when creating your letter.
It’s Not About You
Many career changers make the mistake of writing about how the employer can help them achieve their new career objectives. Employers may not care about what they can do for you, but they definitely want to know what you can do for them. Look at the difference between these two cover letter statements:
- Before: I was excited to learn about your search for a technical support specialist. Your position will help me transition to the IT field and continue to develop my related skills.
- After: Your technical support specialist opening is an excellent match for my qualifications. Your customers will benefit from my strong customer-service orientation, expert problem-solving skills, and ability to quickly learn and master new technologies.
Tout Related Skills
You might lack the direct experience employers find desirable, but your skills may be transferable from another career. Show employers how these skills would enable you to be a top performer if you were hired. Here’s how one career changer presented such skills in her cover letter:
- I am seeking to leverage 15 years of top-ranked sales performance to transition to an HR role. I bring to the table a relevant skill set, including a high degree of organization, well-honed presentation abilities and familiarity with a range of IT systems.
Demonstrate Your Commitment
Maybe you’re willing to work for a day without pay to show how serious you are about your new goal. Or perhaps you’ll work part-time to get your foot in the door. Use your letter to prove that you will do what it takes to break into your new field. You can even make a win-win proposition in your cover letter, as this job seeker did:
- My goal is to secure a part-time assistant teaching position, which will allow you to appraise my performance before investing in me as a full-time employee.
Show Your Passion
Employers like applicants who are enthusiastic and motivated to succeed. Here’s an example of how to convey your passion in your cover letter:
- I am seeking to combine my scientific background as a chemist with my passion for sales. Your team will benefit from my proven ability to outperform customer expectations, sales quotas and project timelines within competitive, deadline-driven environments.
As you write your cover letter, be honest about your plans to change careers. You also need to communicate the reasons why you should be considered for a position in a new field. Believe in yourself, and you’ll have a better chance of convincing employers to believe in you.
This article was written by Kim Isaacs, director of ResumePower.com and author of The Career Change Resume book. Visit ResumePower.com to learn more about resume services to jump-start your career.
Copyright 2014 – Monster Worldwide, Inc. All Rights Reserved. You may not copy, reproduce or distribute this article without the prior written permission of Monster Worldwide. This article first appeared on Monster, the leading online global network for careers. To see other career-related articles visit http://content.monster.com.
If you are changing careers, your cover letter needs to be carefully developed to showcase your transferable skills. Would you like us to write your career change cover letter for you? Contact us now — we would love to hear from you!
Sample Career Change Cover Letter
If you are looking for a position in a different industry or career field, your cover letter is a huge factor in your likelihood of getting the job. Since your resume may not contain the relevant experience that hiring managers are looking for, you need to capitalize on your cover letter as an opportunity to demonstrate why you are a good fit despite lacking the specific employment history that may be an important factor in getting the job.
Read below for tips on how to write a strong cover letter that convinces the reader that your work experience is a strength rather than a weakness. Also, read a sample cover letter for someone switching careers.
Tips for Writing a Career Change Cover Letter
Any good cover letter explains why you are qualified for the specific job. However, a cover letter written during a career change needs to go beyond that. You must touch on three important points, which will help you rise above candidates who have more direct experience in the industry. These three points are listed below:
Emphasize Your Transferable Skills
Most importantly, focus on the transferable skills you have that you can use in the new position, rather than the specific skills you have that are related to your current position. Analyze the job description for the position you’re applying to, and look at the skills that the role calls for.
Choose the ones that best match your own skills or experience. Then, if possible, use specific anecdotes, from your work or academic history, to illustrate some of these strengths in action.
Highlight Your Superior Performance in Previous Positions
Other candidates may have the relevant experience, but if it is a mediocre experience that cannot be backed up by strong references or tangible achievements, you may actually be better off.
In your letter, do your best to explain how you succeeded in previous roles, and connect that to a summary of how you would also add value in this new position. Make sure your references will corroborate your statements.
Express Your Passion for the Company
Include your passion for the company. This is another way to stand out from qualified candidates. Employers may be more interested in someone who is especially excited about their organization and the job opportunity, than someone who just wants a job and doesn’t care about much beyond that. In your cover letter, make it clear that you’re familiar with the organization and enthused for the opportunity to be a part of it.
Be sure to thoroughly research the company before writing your cover letter, so you can convince the employer that you understand the company and why you want to be a part of it. You don’t necessarily have to cover all of these topics in order or in distinct paragraphs. The aim is to make sure you communicate these points throughout your letter.
Read a sample cover letter below, which you can use as a framework for writing your own career change cover letter. However, be sure to edit the sample to fit your personal experiences and the job for which you are applying.
Sample Career Change Cover Letter
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Phone Number
Hiring Manager Name
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Hiring Manager:
This letter is to express my special interest in discussing the Senior Customer Service Manager position posted on the XYZ Company web site. The opportunity presented in this listing is very appealing, and I believe that my experience and education will make me a competitive candidate for this position.
Although I have been working primarily as an Operations Manager, in this capacity I have interfaced frequently with customers, in addition to vendors and staff. This has instilled multi-dimensional communication skills and an ability to recognize, act upon, and fulfill customer wishes and needs in order to ensure their continued, and positive, relationship with the business.
In fact, in my most recent job as Operations Manager for ABC Company, I received an ‘Excellence in Customer Service’ recognition due to my ability to coordinate complex logistics in order to keep customers happy even when issues arose that were beyond the control of the organization. Again, this involved not only managing operations but communicating directly with customers. As a result, I believe my combined ability to successfully manage operations while also effectively interface with customers makes me a prime candidate for this role.
The key strengths that I possess for success in this position include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Provide exceptional contributions to customer service for all customers.
- Strive for continued excellence.
- Strong communication skills.
- Eager to learn new things.
You will find me to be well-spoken, energetic, confident, and personable, the type of person on whom your customers will rely. I also have a wide breadth of experience of the type that gives you the versatility to place me in a number of contexts with confidence that the level of excellence you expect will be met. Please see my resume for additional information on my experience.
I hope that you'll find my experience and interests intriguing enough to warrant a face-to-face meeting, as I am confident that I could provide value to you and your customers as a member of your team. I am very excited about this opportunity to work for XYZ Company. I connect with your mission to “deliver the ‘five star’ factor” to both your staff and your customers. This tenet is reflected in my own professional, and personal values, and I believe this alignment strongly supports my candidacy for this role.
I can be reached anytime via my cell phone, 555-555-5555. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this employment opportunity.
Signature (hard copy letter)
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How to Send an Email Cover Letter
If you're sending your cover letter via email, list your name and the job title in the subject line of the email message. Include your contact information in your email signature, and don't list the employer contact information. Simply start your email message with the salutation.