Best Career Change Cover Letter Examples

a picture of business person and career change cover letter

Writing a career change cover letter? A career change is when a professional decides they’d like to apply to a job title that they don’t have any prior experience in. Job seekers should lean heavily into their cover letters when changing career paths. The cover letter is going to be stronger than the resume. Considering the resume may have job titles that aren’t exactly relevant to the job application.

The cover letter should contain a healthy amount of transferable skills and career accomplishments relevant to the job title being applied to. For example, a job seeker who has previous sales experience. This professional can learn software engineering hard skills and apply their previous sales experience to the job function. This allows the job seeker to take transferable skills. And add a new skill (technical skills in this case). And have a much easier time entering a new industry.

career change cover letter

Writing a Career Change Cover Letter

When writing a career change cover letter, it’s important to consider these variables.

Is the job title a good fit?

If switching careers from being a pharmaceutical technician to being a software engineer, the employer might have difficulty comprehending the career transition. In that circumstance, it may be more beneficial to create freelance projects or have an internship as part of the prospective employer's experience.

List impressive accomplishments from a current role or current job

The ability to drive results is a transferable skill. And it can be a great way to bridge the gap between a previous job and a new job. Especially if they aren’t of the same job title. An employer is going to value an “executor.”

Speak to the process of "getting work done"

Rather than mentioning communication skills as a value proposition for the employer, mention the process of getting work accomplished. Processes across multiple industries are often similar. Coordinating with team members, performing quality assurance checks, driving customer satisfaction, and more. Having a comprehensive knowledge of the work process can be a great way to transfer to a new career or industry.

Pay close attention to the job advertisement (job ad)

The job description has insights that can help to position non-relevant work experience to another job opportunity. The job description normally lists duties and responsibilities that speak to requested skills. Try to align those requests to previous work experience for the potential employer and hiring manager.

Accompany the cover letter with a functional resume

A functional resume format uses prior work accomplishments and higher priority skills than work experience. This can be helpful for the hiring manager since previous work experience is going to be irrelevant. There is no “career change resume,” rather a resume that helps the hiring manager make an informed decision. A functional resume can assist with that process.

Speak to the company’s values or objectives

Writing a professional cover letter that reassures the employer of the comprehension of business goals or objectives can help receive a first job interview. A hiring manager is looking for qualified applicants and applicants who possess a strong passion and knowledge for the business.

Positioning the cover letter

These communication methods that the hiring manager will appreciate when reading a career change cover letter. It’s best to avoid mold and fit previous job titles' duties and responsibilities into other job titles. But rather, speaking to career accomplishments that elevate the value of the job seeker (or “career changer”).

Tip: As a job seeker, performing an informational interview can be beneficial before writing a cover letter. An informational interview is an interview session where a prospective employee can interview an employed person. And ask for career advice (like a career coach). It can be a great opportunity for job seekers. And they can learn how to position their prior less relevant work history to their new career path.

Career Change Cover Letter Example

Below is a cover letter example of a professional going through a career transition.

Ian Smith
[email protected]
639-555-9984
Sales Associate

May 1st, 2013

Dear Mr. Johnson —

The first thing you should note about my job application is that I have no prior work experience in this job title. I recognize that it may put me at a slight disadvantage to the other job applicants. But I want to show you why my resume deserves a job interview opportunity.

My work experience as a sales associate and sales manager has taught me how to spot sales inefficiencies. And while reading through the job opportunity, I noticed that the software engineering position would be working heavily with the sales team. On sales automation objectives. I have learned new software engineering skills. And I am seeking my first full-time position in the industry. I believe this prior work experience will become valuable.

Here are some recent accomplishments that can help to assess my qualifications and abilities:

  • Led a sales team at a retail sales store to reach 85% of our annual sales objectives.
  • Passed the Ruby on Rails software engineering course at Dev Bootcamp, providing me with a software engineering certification.
  • Advanced quickly in the sales department, moving from sales associate to sales manager. Taking direction and adapting to results quickly gave me this advantage.
I’m a quick learner who can be adaptive and flexible with work assignments. Especially as I develop the skills required to work within a software engineering position and department.

I would love to speak with you about this position and provide you with more information about my qualifications to decide about my application. My cell phone number is 555-837-9376. I’m ready and available for an interview or telephone interview at your convenience.

Sincerely,
Ian Smith

Persuasive Career Change Cover Letter Example

Below is a cover letter example of a professional going through a career transition and wanting to be persuasive about the job opportunity.

Ian Smith
[email protected]
639-555-9984
Sales Engineer

May 1st, 2013

Dear Mr. Johnson —

I want to let you know that I don't have any prior work experience in the field. And I'd like to share why I feel like an ideal candidate for this position. My prior experience is in software development. While working on a product at my last company, I worked closely with many sales leaders. And through that experience, I was mentored on the sales side.

The role of a sales engineer fits me perfectly. I will be able to utilize the traditional training that I have in computer science. And while utilizing the skills and expertise that I was able to obtain while working closely with my sales mentors. And I have several recommendations from them to assist in this process. I want to be able to utilize automated lead generation opportunities in this role. And I noticed a major part of this job function is to increase the generated leads of customers. I'd love to share several ideas on how I'd like to do that, and I look forward to sharing them with you.

I would love to speak with you about this position and provide you with more information about my qualifications to decide about my application. My cell phone number is 555-837-9376. I’m ready and available for an interview or telephone interview at your convenience.

Sincerely,
Ian Smith

Entry-level Career Change Cover Letter Example

Below is a cover letter example of a professional going through a career transition and applying to an entry-level position.

Ian Smith
[email protected]
639-555-9984
Administrative Assistant

May 1st, 2013

Dear Mr. Johnson —

This role stuck out to me during my job search. I noticed that the role is looking for a professional who has a passion for filling systems and can organize large quantities of data. In contrast, I don't have any prior administrative assistant working experience. I want to highlight a few key skills that I believe would be a strong addition to this role.

I have extensive typing skills, note-taking skills, and I have worked closely with project managers who needed administrative-like assistance in the past. I can type at roughly 90WPM, with a high degree of accuracy. And I find myself passionate about projects where I'm able to use data, insights, and clerical tasks to get the job done. I don't want to say "I'm a quick learner" like every other candidate. What I would rather say is that I'm very passionate about learning. And I will apply myself.

While I don't have any prior examples of administrative experience in my resume, you can find a few jobs where I've successfully delivered success in the role. And deliver for my supervisor and manager. I’ve included the attached resume for your review. And if any other information is required to fill out the job application, please let me know.

Please let me know when we can interview. And I will be prepared to display why I'm an ideal candidate for this position. Let me know if there are any thoughts, questions, concerns, or requests regarding my job application.

Sincerely,
Ian Smith
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Career Change Cover Letter Format Template

Contact Information
Name
Phone Number
Email Address
LinkedIn Profile
(Optional) Professional Website

Salutation
Dear Mr./Mrs. First Last Name

Opening Paragraph
The first paragraph should greet the reader and suggest an understanding of the job requirements. This paragraph should be no more than 150 words. Write a strong statement on the career transition needs and why the cover letter should be considered.

Second Paragraph
The body paragraph should contain relative work examples that display key skills and competencies that are "transferable" to the new job opportunity.

Closing Paragraph
Thank the reader for their time. And ask for an opportunity to interview with the company.

Letter Closing
Sincerely/Yours truly

Signature
Typed Name or handwritten signature

Career Change Cover Letter Tips

Tips when writing a career change cover letter.

Read the job description

A lot of insight can be gleaned from reading the job description. And attempting to understand what the hiring manager is looking for in an ideal candidate. Look for key points like desired outcomes of the position. Or key responsibilities. Or other aspects of the job that can be spoken about in the cover letter.

Refer to on-the-job experience rather than skills

Many transitioning careers professionals decide to list key skills and other criteria that make them an "ideal fit" for the hiring manager. Unfortunately, the hiring manager is going to read that information and lose some trust over it. The best way to position key skills and core competencies is to share work experiences that display skills.

For example, if we were a job applicant applying to a position as a software engineer. And coming from a sales position. Then we might want to share work experiences that talk about collaboration and working together as a team. Since software engineers and sales professionals produce higher quality work in a collaborative setting.

This is a far better method of positioning a job application during a career transition. Rather than simply stating a list of key skills on the cover letter and the resume.

Ask a mentor what to say

When the job description isn't enough to write a cover letter, ask a mentor or friend. Someone who has experience working in that industry, job title, or has someone close to them who has had those. Asking a friend for advice can be a great way to get more minds in the cover letter. And ensure the letter speaks to the correct skills, requirements, core competencies, and more.

That friend may be able to provide an introduction to a professional who holds the same job title. Allowing them to give the job seeker advice, input, and tips on positioning the cover letter for the desired role. When all else fails, use a professional network to gather insights and assistance.

Don't give up

And while this is easier said than done. A job seeker who has a strong passion for moving into a new career or new job title should uphold perseverance. It's important to apply to as many job opportunities as possible. And writing a unique cover letter for each job application (based on the job advertisement).

Many hiring managers will be looking for job applicants with years of experience in one type of job title and job function. It's going to take the type of hiring manager who is willing to "invest in people" to see the candidate's value. And potential in the job application.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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