How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter for A Career Change
Your cover letter is likely the first thing your potential new employer will see, and it will be where you get to say why you would be the ideal candidate. For most job hunters, the cover letter will give a brief overview of your recent career history, why you are passionate about getting that job and what you can bring to the company. However, for career-changing cover letters, it takes a bit of reworking to create a succinct, compelling cover letter explaining why you should be hired. However, following our beginners guide for writing career changing cover letters could be just what you are looking for.
Create an Engaging Opening Line
Like any cover letter, having an engaging opener will put you ahead of the game. Don’t open with the usual clichés; try to sum up who you are, what job you are applying for and why you want the position within the first few sentences. For example, if you are a teacher looking to get into the fashion industry, explain your current experience and why you want to move into a different career. According to The Guardian, employers look first and foremost for who you are and the job you want. Next, the relevant skills you have and how you’ll apply them. The second part can be tricky if you are changing careers, so find out how to incorporate your previous skills below.
Be Open & Honest About Your Choices
The question of why you want to change careers will likely already be on your employer’s mind. Therefore, when you get to the body of your cover letter, explain why you want a career change. Be positive rather than negative; stating your reasons for going into your new career path and what interests and inspires you about this new era in your life, in more detail than in your opening sentences. This might take some time to describe in a succinct and clear way, however getting a friend to read over it might be a good idea. One of the key things on your employer’s mind is whether you will stick in the role you are applying for, so many sure they’re aware of your plan to stay with that career path (even if you decide not to eventually!).
You can also include the relevance of your past experience, as well as what parts of your old role you enjoyed that apply to the one you are applying for e.g. working with customers or being able to use your organisational skills.
Highlight Your Transferable Skills
There are a number of transferable skills you have likely gained from your past work experience, even if it might seem entirely unrelated. Within your cover letter, describe the main skills you’ve picked up and achievements you’ve had, for example, your excellent communication skills, ability to manage a team, or expert IT knowledge. Try to directly relate these to duties you’ll need to take on in the role you are applying for and use evidence from your previous employment to back up your skillset.
Be Passionate and Research the Company
No matter what your previous experience is, one key element which can put you ahead of other candidates is your knowledge of the company you are applying to work for. This goes down to simply using the managers name (if applying directly to them) to make your application more personal, as well as including details showing that you have knowledge of the company and the role you are applying for. There is a good reason that company research is essential before any interview, and that’s because most companies want to be assured that you have gone to the effort to find out about them. Many businesses are passionate about their business, and never want to read a generic application which could have been sent to anyone. Make it personal, cater it to the company and show how passionate you are!
Cover Letter Writing: Must Dos and Don’ts
Write in a formal and friendly manner, without shortening words or using passive language. Be proud of your achievements and don’t play yourself down.
Be too casual, you are still writing to a company who wants a professional employee, so ending with “Kind Regards” or “Yours Sincerely” is essential.
Thank them for taking the time to read your cover letter. Politeness goes a long way, and if you show you know how to correctly format an email, you are off to a good start.
Repeat your C.V. or include irrelevant information. A cover letter should ideally be about half a page according to The Balance Careers, however this can vary depending on the role and experience you have.
Writing the perfect cover letter when changing careers is primarily down to one thing; putting yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager. What would you want from a candidate? What questions would you be asking? Why would you want to hire you? By tackling all of these tricky questions, you can create a watertight cover letter catered to the job you want. If you don’t have much previous work experience, you can always read our article on How to Use Your Life Experiences to Start a New Career.