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How To Write A Great Cover Letter For Career Changes

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Do you want to change careers but don’t know if you can get a job?

We’ve all been there, even if the change is from a college job to a post-graduation career.

Fortunately, if you know how to write a cover letter for a career change, you can make the switch much less stressful. Read on to learn more.

What Is a Cover Letter for a Career Change?

A cover letter for a career change is a specific type of cover letter you write for a job application. It focuses on how your prior work experience has prepared you for the job, even if it’s not that relevant to the position.

Your resume is a very simple way to showcase your expertise. When staying in the same industry, a solid resume is often enough to convince a prospective employer to interview you.

However, when none of your positions are directly relevant to the job, you’ll need to write a convincing cover letter to make your career change a reality.

How Is a Cover Letter for a Career Change Different From a Regular Cover Letter?

Writing a cover letter for a career change requires more of a strategy than any other cover letter. You have to assure the recruiter that you can be successful in the given role. The letter should include more specific details to persuade the hiring manager to meet with you.

Why Is a Cover Letter for a Career Change Important?

Cover letters are usually necessary for advanced jobs and in certain industries. However, even if a job doesn’t require a cover letter, you may still want to write one when making a change.

Consider the following reasons why.

Explains Your Shift

Use your cover letter to clarify why you want to change careers. Tell a story of your past experiences and how they’ve helped you get to where you are. If you’ve recently obtained education in your new field, share that as well.

Help the Hiring Manager Understand Your Interest in a New Role

You should also write about what interests you about the job in question. Share what you want to accomplish and why you’re the perfect person to hire. Include any details about your experience that may come in handy.

Explains How Your Skills Transfer

List your soft skills, such as communication, leadership, and teamwork. Employers across industries want employees who can work with others and take the lead at times. If you want to stand out, share how those skills have helped you in multiple prior roles.

Contextualize Your Greater Career Goals

Describe where you see yourself in five or ten years and how getting this job will help you reach that goal. Ideally, you’d share how this goal will also help the company.

Should You Explain a Career Change in a Cover Letter?

You should explain a career change in your cover letter. Use the explanation to justify applying without all of the required or preferred qualifications.

How Do You Explain the Reason for a Career Change?

Many factors may have made you decide to make a career change. For example, maybe you recently had children and want a more flexible job. Or perhaps you want to turn one of your hobbies into a professional endeavor.

Whatever the reason, be honest in your cover letter. If your old career was too stressful or low-paying, focus on how you think your new career will offer a better experience.

How Do You Write a Cover Letter for a Change of Career?

When you’re applying for multiple jobs, it helps to customize your cover letter each time. However, you can still write a generic cover letter that you only need to edit slightly.

Include the following things in your basic cover letter.

  • Start Off Strong: When possible, use the name of the hiring manager. You should also mention the company and position you’re applying for to personalize the letter.
  • Explain Your Interest in Changing Careers: Next, write about what interests you in the new field or job. Share if you’ve had experience as a hobbyist or if something else spurred your desire for a new career.
  • Talk About Career Highlights: Mention a previous role or two that stands out to you. You can also share a story about an accomplishment at one of your former workplaces.
  • Say How Your Skills Will Transfer: Along with specific jobs or duties, share some soft skills. Write about how those skills will help you in your new role, such as how your communication abilities will help you help others.
  • Mention Any New Skills You’re Learning for the New Career: You can also list skills you’ve been working on either at work or on your own. Specify how these skills you’ve acquired will help you do your best in the job.
  • Bring Up Anything You Learned About the Company: Research the company and share any details that stick out to you. Not all applicants will do this, so sharing what you like about the company can help you stand out.
  • Close on a Positive Note: Thank the hiring manager for reading your cover letter. Then, end with a positive or neutral salutation and include your name.

Examples of Great Cover Letters for a Career Change

Keep the following examples in mind when writing a cover letter for a career change.

Example 1

Dear John Doe,

I’m applying for the role of private piano teacher at New York School of Music. While I have no prior teaching experience, I’ve played the piano since childhood and have achieved mastery on the instrument.

My work experience in the customer service industry has taught me how to communicate. It’s also taught me patience and understanding.

Outside of work, I’ve been studying piano method books and the Suzuki Method. I love how the New York School of Music offers Suzuki training to its students, and I want to be a part of that.

Thank you for considering me for the role, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Jane Doe

Why This Cover Letter Works

The cover letter addresses the hiring manager directly and mentions the company and job position, so it’s clear the applicant has done their research. Jane Doe shares her experience with the piano as a hobbyist.

Example 2

Dear Hiring Manager,

I’m applying for the veterinary assistant position at Southern Veterinary Hospital. After completing a brief internship at a reptile zoo, I learned I love taking care of various types of animals.

During my internship, I was able to help take care of the lizards and snakes. I also learned how to handle animals with care and how to work as part of a team to provide the best possible care.

In preparation for this career change, I’ve been pet-sitting for cats and dogs to learn their care needs. However, I’m also excited to work with exotics as I know Southern Veterinary Hospital has a large patient base.

I look forward to meeting with you and discussing this position further.


John Doe

Why This Cover Letter Works

While the applicant doesn’t address the manager by name, they include other details. They mention the company and role and how their prior experience has helped them.

Example 3

Dear Jane Doe,

I’m applying for the role of Event Planner at Stargazing Events, LLC. My experience as an elementary teacher has taught me many skills.

For example, I know how to make concepts easy to understand. I can also communicate with adults and children as necessary.

Along with my work as a teacher, I’ve done some of my own wedding planning. I planned my wedding shower and honeymoon. That experience will help me plan events for clients.

Thank you for reviewing my application, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Julie Doe

Why This Cover Letter Works

The letter gets right to the point and explains how the applicant’s teaching experience will come in handy in their new role. They also mention how they’ve planned events for their personal life.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have questions about changing careers, here’s what you may want to know.

What is the best reason for a change of job?

The best reason to change jobs depends on your situation. One of the best reasons to change careers is to leave an industry or company that negatively affects your physical or mental health.

What are three common reasons to change careers?

Some people want a better work-life balance, while others may want to make more money. Others may change jobs to explore more of their interests. Your lifestyle, income needs, and interests are all excellent reasons to change careers.

Wrapping Up

Writing a cover letter for a career change is an excellent option. Even if a job application doesn’t require one, you can use your cover letter to your advantage.

Share your prior experience and how it’s shaped you into the person you are. You can also connect that experience to the new role and describe how you’ll use your skills to succeed.

Do you have any questions about writing a cover letter? Drop them in the comments below!

Don’t let a lack of experience keep you from changing careers. Learn how to write a fantastic cover letter to land the job of your dreams.

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