Transitioning to a new career can seem daunting. If your background is in an unrelated field, you might wonder — “how can I win over a hiring manager?”
If this is you, a career change cover letter can be invaluable for highlighting your passion and transferable skills.
Let’s explore how to write a cover letter for a career change.
4 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for a Career Change
You might be wondering: is a cover letter necessary if I’m changing careers? The answer is yes, very important.
Hiring managers view applicants with little to no industry experience as risky, so you need a persuasive career change cover letter in addition to your career change resume to win them over. Ease their concerns through your writing, and prove that you’ll be a valuable asset to their team.
You can earn their favor by displaying your transferable skills, explaining the reason behind your career change, and demonstrating why you’re the best fit for their company.
1. Highlight Your Transferable Skills
Even if you’ve never held a position in your desired field, you still have many skills to offer. No matter where your experience lies, you’ve likely honed soft skills that are vital for any job.
Here are some versatile soft skills to include in your cover letter for switching careers:
- Communication skills (verbal, written, and listening)
- Leadership skills
- Critical thinking
- Interpersonal skills
- Ability to work independently
You may also have technical skills that you can transfer to a new field. For instance, if you have experience with certain computer programs, note them on your resume and elaborate on them in your career change cover letter.
Other technical skills you may have include:
- Data analysis
- Agile project management
- Budget management
- Technical writing
While your resume is a snapshot of your employment history, your cover letter provides a platform to detail your experience and sell yourself as a candidate.
It’s your responsibility to prove your value, so don’t expect employers to understand the experience you gained in your last career. Be clear and concise about your skills and how they translate to the open position.
2. Explain Why You’re Seeking a Career Transition
In a world of ladder-climbers, your choice to change careers will raise questions. You must be prepared to answer them.
Be honest in your career change cover letter about why you are changing direction.
Avoid using negative terms to describe your previous jobs. Instead, identify the aspects you enjoyed in your last field and how they connect to your future career.
What drew you in this particular direction? Was it current events or the discovery of a newfound passion? Whatever your reasoning, be honest with the hiring manager and you’ll earn points with them — as long as your answer isn’t exceptionally negative.
3. Show Passion for Your New Direction
Employers want to see more than just skills — they want to know that you’ll be committed to the job. You are leaving behind one career, so you need to prove that the next one is the right one.
Hiring managers will lose interest if you seem tentative. You don’t want to come across as a serial career changer, so use your cover letter to convey your passion and back it up with anecdotal support.
Tell the story behind the change of direction and how you discovered your passion. When you explain the reason for your career transition, focus on your excitement for your new path.
If you’ve been reading industry-related books, taking classes, or volunteering for a relevant cause, share your efforts and show them what you’ve learned from that.
You must be invested in your new career direction, so don’t shy away from discussing the steps you’ve taken to succeed.
4. Prove You Understand The Company
Your passion for a new industry is great, but employers also want to know why their company is the best fit for your transition.
Tailor your career change cover letter template to each job you apply for, since being genuine about why a company attracted you to work there is essential. Hiring managers have read countless resumes and cover letters — they can see right through a generic one-size-fits-all letter.
The best cover letters are tailored to showcase your knowledge about the company. You should always research an organization before applying to a job, but it’s critical when making a career transition.
Learn about its values, past projects or clients, and leadership. These are great points to mention in your cover letter to prove that you understand the company. Plus, you’ll find yourself prepared if you’re invited to an interview.
Career Change Cover Letter Sample
This career change cover letter example was written by our experts to give you an idea of what yours should look like.
Career Change Cover Letter Example Text Version
Open this text version, and then copy and paste it into your word processor.
November 31, 2019
[Hiring Manager’s Name]
[Company’s Street Address]
[City, State, Zip Code]
[Hiring Manager’s Telephone No.]
[Hiring Manager’s Email Address]
Dear [Mr./Ms./Mrs.] [Hiring Manager’s Surname],
Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved transforming people through the art of make-up. My proudest accomplishment was preparing my younger sister for her prom night — she was voted prom queen that evening. Because of my passion for this artform, I’m applying for the makeup artist position at Studio 96.
I’ve served in several customer service positions since I graduated high school, in which I’ve honed my people skills, increased upsales by 17%, and improved my ability to work effectively in high-pressure situations.
However, I’ve found that customer service doesn’t satisfy my creative side. Thus, I’m eager to join Studio 96, a company I’ve been a fan of since I learned the avant-garde approach to makeup application developed under your founder Bianca Del Vanjie.
To meet Studio 96’s needs, I’ve completed the 150-hour course in Makeup Artistry offered by the Los Angeles-based Sonique Academy in my spare time. I’ve also volunteered for the Look Good, Feel Better organization, where I boosted the self-esteem of patients with cancer by giving them makeovers.
I am looking forward to hearing back from you. I can be reached at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email]. Thank you for considering my application.
Starting a new career path can be extremely rewarding despite its obstacles, so putting in the effort to get noticed is worthwhile. Your career change cover letter is your most valuable tool when transitioning to a new industry, so use it effectively to maximize your chances of landing an interview.
A good mix of passion and transferable skills can put you in the top tier of applicants. Use your cover letter to present yourself as the best candidate for the job, no matter where your experience lies.
Ready to begin your next chapter? Start with the career change cover letter sample above or head over to our cover letter builder to create your custom letter in minutes.