Changing Careers Resume Cover Letter

by Michael Cheary

Time for a change?

There are many reasons you may wish to change your choice of career. However, no matter what the reason is, a key part of your success will be convincing employers you’re the right fit for your new role – even if your previous experience in the industry is limited.

We’ve already focussed on how to write the perfect CV after a career change, but your cover letter can be just as important at translating those all-important transferable skills.

To help you go beyond the basics of how to write a cover letter, here’s our cover letter template specifically designed for people looking for a career change.

 

Just here for the template? Click the link below:

 

Download Career Change Cover Letter Template

 

Opening the letter

Keep your opening simple and straightforward. State what job it is you’re applying for, and where you found the vacancy.

Feel free to mention your source by name (e.g. as advertised on reed.co.uk) or, if someone referred you to the contact, you may also wish to mention them by name in the opening.
Example:
I wish to apply for the role of Events Manager, currently being advertised on reed.co.uk. Please find enclosed my CV for your consideration.

Second paragraph – Why are you suitable for the job?

Briefly describe your most relevant professional and academic achievements to help sell your suitability.

Generally this will be related your previous work experience, although you could also include any professional or academic achievements which could be a testament to your character. They may also demonstrate skills that are relevant to the industry you’re looking to move into. For a career change, you can also use this paragraph to suggest why you see this opportunity as the right role to switch disciplines.
Example:

As you can see from my attached CV, I have over eight years’ experience in the sales industry. Having worked my way up to Regional Sales Manager, I’m ready for a new challenge in the Marketing industry, and see this position as the perfect role to help me achieve this.

Third paragraph – Why you’re looking to make a change

Once you reach this stage, it’s time to expand upon why you’re looking for a change of career.

Above all else, the main thing you want to put across to an employer is why you see this industry, and to be more precise, this position, as the perfect role and change for you.

Feel free to keep your reasons relatively concise, but make sure you can justify the change of direction before you decide to move on. If the recruiter can see that the decision has been well thought out, they will have much more trust when it comes to reviewing the rest of your application.
Example:
I’m particularly interested in working in Marketing because of my passion for organising and managing events, something I’ve had extensive experience of during my time in Sales. Further, I feel that I have achieved all that I can in my current industry.

Fourth/Fifth paragraph – What can you do for the company?

Once you’ve briefly explained the reasons for your potential move, use practical examples to emphasise what you can do for the business – and place prominence back on the positives.

The key to success in this section is to major on your transferable skills. Think of any attributes you’ve built in your current role, and try and apply them to your new role.

Although not everything will translate, you’ll be surprised how many of the same skills are applicable for a number of different roles. Problem solving, customer service, analytics and adaptability are all good examples. If you’re struggling for inspiration, the job description should be able to give you a little direction as to what they’re looking for.

You could also choose some quantifiable examples to demonstrate your success. ‘Increased revenue by x%’, for instance, will be impressive to most hiring managers. Again, try and choose transferrable skills, wherever possible.
Example:
Throughout my previous positions I organised events ranging from small product launches for a select group of clients, through to end-of-year awards events for over 200 professionals within the sector. I believe that this experience, coupled with my excellent interpersonal and organisational skills, make me the perfect candidate for building a long-term career in this role.

In my previous role as a Regional Sales Manager at Sales Company Ltd, I was responsible for managing relationships with big brands, such as X, Y and Z, and my account management resulted in an 18% increase in business renewals achieved. Despite being in a different industry, I am confident that I can bring this level of success with me to your organisation and help Marketing Company PLC build upon their reputation as one of the biggest names in the UK events industry.  

Closing the letter

Thank the employer for their time, and sign off politely.

In terms of terminology, use ‘Yours sincerely’ (if you know the name of the hiring manager)/’Yours faithfully’ (if you do not), and your name.
Example:
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my application further.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

Final thoughts

Remember: Just as with our standard free cover letter template, this is a template, not a ready-made cover letter. As with any other part of your application, it requires a good level of research and your ability to tailor what you write to the role will dramatically improve your chances of success.

The most important thing to remember here is to explain your reasons for wanting a change, and to convince employers you’re unlikely to change your mind if things don’t work out.

Major on your transferable skills, and you’ll alleviate many of these fears. Follow your cover letter up with a well-written CV, and you’ll leave no doubt in a recruiter’s mind.

 

Still searching for your perfect position? Have a look at all of our current vacancies now

 

Finally. You found it. The dreamiest dream job that ever waltzed into existence. And you're ready to apply.

You sit down to craft your cover letter, and the primary thought in your mind is: I hope they choose me. I really want this job.

Anxiety floods your body, triggering a rush of paralyzing thoughts and questions: Am I good enough? Do I have the right qualifications ? What if they've already found someone to hire? Am I just wasting my time? What if I sound too casual? Or too formal? Am I just kidding myself? Gah!

What pours out of your fingertips goes something like this:

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to inform you of my interest in applying for the position of social media director at Save the Dolphins. I believe I am highly qualified and possess the necessary skills to meet the criteria you have outlined. Over the past several years, I have refined my ability to…

You stop mid-sentence, realizing that your cover letter sounds totally depressing and awkward. And no wonder! Trying to convince someone that you're "worthy" of respect and attention is—well, totally depressing and awkward!

The good news? There’s a very simple mind trick that changes your entire cover letter-writing approach in an instant.

Pretend.

Pretend that the person you're writing to already loves and respects you. Pretend that the person you're writing to already believes that you're worthy and valuable. Pretend that the person you're writing to doesn't need a big sales pitch.

This person already gets what makes you great. In fact, you're basically already hired! The hiring manager is just curious to learn a teensy bit more about you.

You could even pretend that you just received an email from your soon-to-be boss, saying:

Hey, since you're practically already part of the family, we'd all love to learn a little more about you!

So, tell us: What inspired you to apply for this position? (We're sure glad you did!) What are your big passions, dreams, and goals? Got any ideas on how we could do things even better around here?

We're so curious! We love your smart brain, we value your ideas, and we want to get to know you!

Return to your cover letter draft, start fresh, and see what pours out of your fingertips this time. Now that you’re “pretending,” I’m guessing it’ll be something like this:

To my friends at Save the Dolphins:

When I learned that you were seeking a new social media director, I was over the moon.

Because when I'm not geeking out about the latest Instagram filter or Twitter meme, you can usually find me at the beach—hunting for starfish and sea anemones or catching a wave on my longboard.

Social media and the sea: my two greatest passions. Using one to heal and protect the other? A total dream.

My current role as a marketing manager at Bubbly Cola Co. has been a blessing—for the past three years, I've learned from the best in the business. And while my current position is pretty close to perfect, my supervisor fully supports my desire to find a new role that brings together all of my passions—especially my passion for planet-saving activism. In fact, when I told her about the position at Save the Dolphins, she smiled and said, "You've got to go for this. I'll be furious if you don't."

This is the part where I'm supposed to request an interview and assure you that "references are available upon request." Which is true.

But what I really want to do is offer you a gift : a six-point plan to help your marketing team use social media even more powerfully, starting right now. You can download the plan here . I hope it's helpful and fun. (I certainly had fun creating it!)

Oh, and if you'd like to walk through the plan over coffee, chat more about the open position, or swap stories about swimming with dolphins—I'd be thrilled. Hope to hear from you soon.

Here's to a cleaner sea and greener world,

[Your name here]

The lesson here is this: The next time you need to sell yourself, just tell yourself: They already love and respect me. There’s nothing I need to prove.

It doesn't actually matter if it's true. If pretending helps to pull the words out of your head and onto the page, then it's precisely what you need to do.

Plus, sometimes, fantasizing can lead to real-world results. Try it and see if it works for you!

Want more tips on how to express what makes you great? Hop on Alexandra’s mailing list for positivity-charged scripts and writing prompts. And don’t miss her new book: 50 Ways To Say You’re Awesome .

Photo of woman writing cover letter courtesy of Shutterstock .

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *