Career Change Letters ‐ Tips and Guidelines
Career change letters are an invaluable tool if you’re thinking about making the leap from one career field to another. Whether you’re unhappy in your current job or simply between jobs and ready for a change, career change letters are a handy way to point out your relevant qualifications, transferable skills, and even your enthusiasm your new career choice.
For most job-seekers, the resume cover letter is there to get the employer’s attention and convince him or her to take a closer look at the accompanying resume. However, for those folks considering a career change, the cover letter has to do so much more. Your resume may not seem particularly impressive in a career field where you have little or no experience, so it will most likely fall on your cover letter to do the heavy lifting. Well-written career change letters give you the opportunity to market yourself to your potential employer and explain just how you would contribute to the company if hired.
Here are some guidelines to use when creating your career change letters.
Career Change Letters Shouldn’t Be All About You
It can be tempting when writing career change letters to focus on your aspirations and what you hope to gain from the company while pursuing your new career. However, employers would much rather hear what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you. For example, compare these statements from two different career change letters:
Wrong: I was excited to learn about your job posting for a web content editor. Your position will help me make the transition into the Information Technology field while allowing me to continue developing my related writing and editing skills.
Right: Your web content editor opening is an excellent match for my experience. I feel your department will benefit from my strong background in writing and editing, as well as my ability to quickly learn and master new technologies.
Career Change Letters Should Tout Your Related Skills
Even though you may be lacking in specific job experience, you probably have a number of skills that can be transferred from one career to another. Use your cover letter to convince the employer that these skills would make you an asset to the company if you were hired. For example:
I am a highly-motivated career changer looking to leverage 15 years of human resources service into a position in sales. The skill set that I bring to the table is transferable and relevant to the needs of your department, including extensive presentation experience, superb communication skills, and a high degree of organization.
Career Change Letters Should Show Your Level of Commitment
Use your resume cover letter as an opportunity to demonstrate that you will do whatever it takes to break into your new career field. Are you willing to work a day without pay to show how serious you are? Would you be willing to take a part-time position if it meant getting your foot in the door? Let your employer know! For example:
My goal is to obtain an initial part-time position as a technical support specialist, which will give you a chance to observe my relevant skills and appraise my performance before investing in me as a full-time employee.
Career Change Letters Should Show Your Passion
Employers tend to look favorably upon applicants who are motivated and enthusiastic, and your cover letter is a good opportunity to demonstrate your passion. For example:
I am seeking to combine my background as a publisher with my passion for—and early career success in—customer support. Your department will benefit from my proven ability to address the needs of the customers while managing their expectations within a competitive, deadline-driven environment.
When you write your cover letter, you should be honest and upfront about your plans for changing careers. You also need to convince the employer that, despite your practical experience in the new field, you are still a viable candidate with a lot to offer the company. Believe in yourself when writing your career change letters, and you should have no problem convincing employers to believe in you.