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. In fact, college grads are often told they’ll pursue multiple careers during their working lives.
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:
- In me, you will find a highly motivated career changer seeking to leverage 15 years of top-ranked sales performance into human resources. I bring to the table a skill set that is transferable and relevant to your needs, including a high degree of organization, well-honed presentation abilities, superb communication skills 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 an initial part-time assistant teaching position, which will allow you to appraise my performance and observe my relevant skills 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, and early career success in, 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 get across to the employer 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.
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!
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