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Career Change Cover Letter Example

Deciding to change careers is a big step. While your CV might not be much help, a forward-looking career change cover letter could well secure you that vital interview.
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Career Change Cover Letter Example
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Most job seekers build up a career change to be a bigger deal than it is. People change careers more often than you might think and hiring managers are often open to being creative with their recruitment and considering someone with the right transferable skills. Having said that, a career change cover letter does have to do more heavy lifting than a normal cover letter.

First you need to work out your career change story.

It will be obvious from your CV that your previous role was different from the role that you are applying for, but as your CV is a backward-looking document the hiring manager can only get a hint from your CV objective as to your future ambitions. Most will move swiftly on to the cover letter before they read it in too much more detail.

A career change cover letter is your sales pitch. Why are you looking to make this move? Why do you think it will be successful? It is clear that you wouldn’t do it if you didn’t think that you have what it takes, but a hiring manager needs more convincing. They do not know your levels of drive and determination. Your cover letter needs to convince them.

When you sit in front of a blank piece of paper, you may be a little lost for words to start with. Our cover letter examples from many different professions may offer some inspiration. Don’t rush to write those first few words. Get a few things clear in your head first. In this blog we look at how to write a career change cover letter. We cover the following:

  • Making the most of the cover letter format to tell your story.
  • How to create a compelling sales pitch that builds on your experience.
  • Writing a career change cover letter with no experience.
  • Avoiding mistakes in the cover letter that may place doubt on your application.
     

Best format for a career change cover letter

While your career change story might be a little different, there is no reason to depart from the normal cover letter protocols. The structure of a cover letter has been tried and tested and hiring managers expect a certain style of correspondence. Do not be tempted to be innovative in how you write the letter – that will merely serve to raise suspicion. Hey, you are a career changer, no big deal. Stick with convention. Here is the normal structure of the cover letter:

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting / salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)

For a career change cover letter, the beginning and end of the letter might focus on your motivations, while the middle paragraphs could outline your reasoning. You should still consider including relevant achievements with context where possible – you won’t be hired due to goodwill alone.

Every aspect of your career change cover letter should be carefully thought out. The text is the main consideration, but there are other decisions such as the design of the cover letter and other visual aspects (fonts, margins, etc) that can influence a hiring manager. Our comprehensive cover letter guide shares the more niche aspects of cover letter writing.

Read our career change cover letter sample for an idea of what we mean:

Adaptable cover letter sample

Dear Ms Garcia, 

 

I hope you are well. I am writing to apply for your advertised role as social media manager and communications specialist. Having spent the last three years in event management, I was drawn to the Luxury London Experiences brand. I believe that my professional history and skills fill the gaps required for this role. 

 

I know you have built your brand based on providing your customers with an exceptional experience that feels exclusive. You also mention that a background in communications for a luxury brand is essential for this role. As a freelance events manager, I have organised a variety of luxury events for international corporations. This involved liaising with high-net worth clients one-on-one, which gave me a unique insight into the thoughts and needs of this tier of clients. I was additionally required to strategise and write communications for their prestigious guests. 

 

My writing skills have been important throughout the process of organising events. From translating my clients’ concepts into easily communicable briefs and summaries for my team to providing copy for social media platforms, I have accumulated expertise in translating ideas into the best communicative vehicle for my client’s goals. 

 

I am also experienced in project management. Sourcing and liaising with a range of vendors has taught me important skills in managing a team and deadlines. However, it is my strategic skills which kept many of my clients coming back to work with me. For instance, my last two events saw the highest ticket sales increase by over 100%. This was largely owing to my work with their communications team where I directed them towards the platforms and content formats that saw a higher conversion among their ideal audience of target guests.

 

I am ready for a new challenge where I can exercise my strategic communications skills in an industry that I already know I love. I would be delighted to continue my professional journey in your team. I hope to hear from you soon and tell you more about myself in an interview. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Sandra Dunn

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Cover letter header

The cover letter header may not be the most exciting part of the cover letter, but you should certainly pause to check that it is correct. It is essential to include your contact details here in addition to your CV. Share your full name, email address and phone number. Hiring managers need to be able to call you whenever they decide that an interview is in order.

You should include your town/city of residence but there is no need to include your full address at this stage. There may be data protection issues. You can share your full address and any other details at the offer stage. There is equally no requirement to include the inside address of the employer these days – you are not sending the cover letter by snail mail.

Cover letter greeting 

The greeting of a cover letter is the same as any standard business letter. “Dear Mr/Mrs Surname” will not cause any controversy and you should err on the side of formal if you sense that the culture may be a little more informal. You never know who will be reading the cover letter, so use this greeting even if you know the hiring manager personally.

If you do now know the recipient (with no name included on the job description), opt for a warm “Dear Company team” over the more formal “To whom it may concern.” Best of all, maybe give the company a call to find out who is running the recruitment campaign. Such initiative can win you brownie points with hiring managers. 

Cover letter introduction

There should be only one thing in your career change cover letter. Why do you want to change careers? While you might be itching to justify your thoughts, stick with a powerful explanation of what the change in direction will mean to your future. It is likely that the hiring manager will have scanned your CV before reading the cover letter, so assume that they have prior knowledge of what you have done. So, the intro should paint a compelling picture of where you want to go.

When hiring managers see that an applicant is a career changer, it is this motivation that will persuade them to read on. If you do not have a compelling reason to change careers, why should they choose to invest their time and effort in the process? These first couple of lines need to get the hiring manager on board. Having stressed the importance of a persuasive message, you should remain honest about your situation. If you are hired on false pretences, your career change efforts may be aborted prematurely.

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Ms Garcia, 

 

I hope you are well. I am writing to apply for your advertised role as social media manager and communications specialist. Having spent the last three years in event management, I was drawn to the Luxury London Experiences brand. I believe that my professional history and skills fill the gaps required for this role. 

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Cover letter middle part (body)

The middle paragraphs of cover letters are where career changes need to justify their dreams. Is what you hope you do realistic? Do you have the transferable skills to make it happen? Having a plan is one thing, but hiring managers need to understand that you have what it takes to hit the ground running. Taking on a career changer is a big risk for them — everything that you share in the middle part of the cover letter should serve to mitigate the risk.

Take care not to talk about the future too much in the middle of the letter. Grandiose dreams will impress no one. Be pragmatic about how you see yourself transferring your skills to a new role. If you can share logical arguments as to why you deserve a chance, hiring managers will see that your career change has been well thought through.

It is also important to anticipate any concerns that a hiring manager may have about your change. Show that you have a track record of sticking with long-term projects. Share any examples of how you have managed change. Prove that you can be resilient, creative, and determined. All of these qualities are required in a career change.

Expert tip

Career change letters are at risk of falling foul of the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) software. When you send your CV and cover letter to an employer, they are first analysed by the ATS for suitability. If sufficient keywords do not match with the job description this (sometimes) means that your cover letter may not be read by the hiring manager at all.

While this is not always the case, career changers should nonetheless be mindful of the fact that their cover letters may not contain the volume of keywords that a normal industry cover letter would contain. Don’t stuff the letter with keywords artificially — just be aware.

Adaptable cover letter middle part example

I know you have built your brand based on providing your customers with an exceptional experience that feels exclusive. You also mention that a background in communications for a luxury brand is essential for this role. As a freelance events manager, I have organised a variety of luxury events for international corporations. This involved liaising with high-net worth clients one-on-one, which gave me a unique insight into the thoughts and needs of this tier of clients. I was additionally required to strategise and write communications for their prestigious guests. 

My writing skills have been important throughout the process of organising events. From translating my clients’ concepts into easily communicable briefs and summaries for my team to providing copy for social media platforms, I have accumulated expertise in translating ideas into the best communicative vehicle for my client’s goals. 

I am also experienced in project management. Sourcing and liaising with a range of vendors has taught me important skills in managing a team and deadlines. However, it is my strategic skills which kept many of my clients coming back to work with me. For instance, my last two events saw the highest ticket sales increase by over 100%. This was largely owing to my work with their communications team where I directed them towards the platforms and content formats that saw a higher conversion among their ideal audience of target guests.

Copied!

How to close a career change cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

The end of a career change cover letter should revert to the main concern of any hiring manager — will this person be successful in their ambitions? Finish with one last piece of motivation and a reason for the hiring manager to take you on board. What can you do for them? How will hiring you be better than hiring someone with industry experience? Why should they take the risk?

Be confident in how you sell yourself. If you don’t believe in your application, you can’t expect a hiring manager to believe in you. Say that you are looking forward to the opportunity of a potential interview and exploring more. Don’t be arrogant and demand an interview — in your situation, that would be a significant first win.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

I am ready for a new challenge where I can exercise my strategic communications skills in an industry that I already know I love. I would be delighted to continue my professional journey in your team. I hope to hear from you soon and tell you more about myself in an interview. 

Sincerely, 

Sandra Dunn

Copied!

Career change cover letter with no experience

When you are early in your career, swapping industries is more common. It might seem that you have little relevant experience, but hiring managers are used to looking a little deeper. If you feel that you are lacking experience, you may wish to consider the following:

  • Talk about transferable skills from internships and part-time roles.
  • Demonstrate an intimate understanding of the demands of the role.
  • Personality matters more when you lack experience — tell them about you.

Everyone starts somewhere. Having little experience means that you will have to work harder to explain your potential in the hiring process, but you never know what a hiring manager might see in you.

Basic mistakes in a career change application letter (and how to avoid them)

Hiring managers will be looking for any reason to dismiss a career change application. You are asking for a lot in terms of them considering hiring you, so don’t give them an opportunity to say “no, thanks” after any of the following mistakes:

  • Your spelling and grammar should be accurate. It doesn’t take long to check with software such as Grammarly and you could ask a friend to read through the cover letter to see if it sounds like you.
  • Make sure that you include enough substance in the cover letter. Begin and end with your motivations, but the middle of the letter should contain factual evidence about why you will be a success in the role. Hoping for the best is not a strategy.
  • Don’t be too humble. If there is any kind of sense that you are begging for a chance, you will be rejected. Argue your case with passion and belief.

Key takeaways

  1. Focus on your motivations and why you will make the career change a success.
  2. Read the job description carefully — match its requirements wherever possible.
  3. Make sure that your arguments are logical — don’t just rely on emotions. See our career changer cover letter example for more inspiration!
  4. Choose an attractive design for the cover letter with cover letter templates.

Looking for some more inspiration when writing your letter? Take a look at some of our other cover letter examples below: 

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