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)
Update Your Resume to Reflect Your New Goals
When you're seeking a career change, it's important to refocus your resume to reflect your new goals. Here's are six tips for writing a powerful career change resume that will help you get started.
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.
Making the decision to embark on a new career is one thing; convincing a hiring manager that you’re the right fit for a new industry and job type can be a far greater challenge – one that can demand a compelling cover letter.
A career change cover letter would need to explain why you’re looking for a change and highlight how you can be a valued employee in a different industry.
If you’re struggling to find the right words to land you that new gig, read on for handy tips on how to write a cover letter for a new career.
Opening paragraph – identify why you’re a good candidate
Your opening paragraph can be simple and straightforward, and doesn’t need to differ too much from a standard cover letter.
Use your opening paragraph to indicate the role you’re applying for, and where you saw the vacancy listed. If it was a personal contact who referred the opening to you, mentioning them by name helps personalise the letter and shows you already have industry contacts.
The introductory paragraph can also be used to mention a key skill or qualification that makes you suitable for the role. Preferably it’s a skill mentioned in the job advertisement. For example, an administrative assistant hoping to make a career change into accounting, could mention familiarity with Excel spreadsheets.
Body of your career change cover letter – be upfront
Traditionally, the body of a cover letter is used to explain your attributes, skills and experience. However when it comes to making a career change, it is worth being upfront about why you have decided to move into a new area of work to pre-empt any questions the reader may have. Aim to keep this explanation positive, and avoid any unprofessional references to past employers, colleagues or clients.
Use the body of your career change cover letter to reassure the hiring manager that you are genuinely committed to being part of a new industry. Provide a short explanation about why you are interested in the new field and how your previous job experience will allow you to make a valuable contribution to the company despite being an industry newcomer.
For example, a decade of working in a retail environment with significant customer contact may have given you the necessary communication and client service skills to explore a new career on an IT help desk.
Highlight transferrable skills
Where possible give specific examples from your career history that highlight your transferrable skills. For example, if you supervised a team of people in the past, mention specific team numbers to showcase your depth of experience. Or, if you owned your own business and built it up from scratch, state the number of customers you obtained or the year-on-year growth you were able to achieve.
The hiring manager may be wondering how you will be able to use your skills and experience to deliver results in the new industry. By clarifying this, you help them envision the contribution you can make to the company based on your past experience.
Soft skills can be just as sought after as technical skills. Mention leadership roles you have held, or projects calling for a high level of collaboration. Describe any mentoring roles you have held.
Explain career gaps
You may be exploring a new career as a result of being laid off or because you are returning to the workforce after raising children. While career gaps are common, your career change cover letter needs to address them.
Be truthful about why you’ve been out of work, but don’t drill down into too much detail. Describe how you used the time to keep up with developments that may be useful in your new career, such as mastering different types of software or undertaking a course of study. Demonstrating that you remained professionally engaged shows you have initiative.
Think over any activity you took part in during your career gaps that allowed you to develop skills relevant to the new industry. For example, you may have served as Treasurer of a community organisation or sporting club, which helped you develop bookkeeping, budgeting and reporting skills.
Conclusion – take a pro-active approach
In the conclusion of your career change cover letter, thank the recruiter for taking the time to read your application. Don’t be afraid to suggest a next step in the process. You could write, for example, that you are available to meet or speak over the phone to address any questions the hiring manager may have or provide additional information.
Sign off with an appropriate word or phrase such as “Sincerely” and then your full name.
Be sure to thoroughly read the letter (reading it out loud can help you pick up mistakes), then edit out any unnecessary or less important pieces of information. Aim to keep your career change cover letter to a single page unless the job posting states otherwise. Finally, spell check the file to be sure it is free from errors.
If you’re uncertain about whether your career change cover letter is suitably convincing, ask a friend to review it for you. A fresh set of eyes can see your letter in the way a recruiter will, with suggestions that can help you on your way to a fresh new career.
Take a look at our cover letter hub for more cover letter writing tips and examples.
Search for jobs