Many people choose to change careers every five-seven years; however, it is often difficult to explain why you want to transition to a new career in a resume. A Cover Letter offers the best opportunity to provide context behind your decision and will help the recruiter understand your interest in the change. While a resume may provide some insight, a properly written Cover Letter will clearly demonstrate how your prior experience and skills will easily transition to the new job.
For a candidate who has decided to make a Career Change, it is best to introduce your specific situation in the beginning in the Cover Letter. After the Salutation (preferably addressed to a specific individual) and Introduction, including language that lets the recruiter know up front that you are seeking a career change will assist them in their overall evaluation of your resume. Otherwise the Recruiter will wonder why you have chosen this role and whether your resume is worthy of further consideration.
The Subject Line in the email should include the Job Title you are seeking. Repeat the same job title as a Heading and in the body of your Cover Letter, so that the Recruiter is clear about the position of interest.
Presenting powerful language that describes your current position, experience and skills, along with your motivation for a change, will demonstrate the connection between your background and the job you are seeking. This will help the recruiter understand why you should be considered. Explaining why you might be passionate about the industry, and why this company is the perfect next step in your career objectives, will answer further questions. Do not simply repeat your resume in the Cover Letter but provide a brief explanation at the beginning and then support your inquiry with solid experience and details. Language such as:
I am thrilled to submit my application for this (x) position at (Company Name). As you will see in my resume, I have not previously worked directly in this industry or role. However, I am eager to showcase my transferable skills that make me uniquely qualified for this position.
Between my transferable skills and my commitment to quickly learning new systems and processes, I am confident that I could quickly get up to speed and bring value to your team in no time.
I am very excited to apply for the Regional Sales position at (Company). It has been my goal to transition to a career in sales, and an opportunity with (Company) matches my objectives. I believe my prior organizational skills and leadership experience as an administrator will add value to your organization. I have also developed networking strategies and communication skills with clients that have benefited my current organization - and which are easily transferable to a sales position.
Add bullets which highlight the five best skills you have that match the job description, and put examples of when you have used those skills, such as: Leadership, Project Management, Team Player, Customer Service, Creative Thinker, Employee Relations, etc.
Again, adding a few Bullets to showcase skills that will transfer to a new position will draw attention to your viable qualifications. As with all Cover Letters, do your research and write a compelling letter that is specific to a particular job. Explain your reasons for the career change and emphasize the skills that may appeal to the hiring manager. The recruiter needs to make the connection between your prior experience and the job to which you are applying. Focus your letter on helping in that regard.
Another example for an introduction in a Cover Letter for a career change:
I am very interested in transitioning to a position in the Human Resources field where my strong communication skills, attention to detail, and ethical standards will add value to a company such as (Company).
While my prior experience is basically in the software business, I believe my ability to identify problems, find solutions and analyze issues will easily transfer to the (desired position.)
Although I have not previously worked in your industry, I am eager to showcase my transferrable skills that make me uniquely qualified for your position.
For the Career-Change Candidate, a Cover Letter explains to the recruiter how your relevant skills and achievements outlined on your resume will transfer to the position of interest. The Cover Letter should include three or four paragraphs, one of which will be the bullets listing your transferable skills, always making sure that they match the requirements of the job description. The closing paragraph should restate your enthusiasm for both the job and the company, and explain why you believe you are an ideal candidate for the position. Close your letter with a request to follow up, and sign your full name, and contact information.