A career change cover letter will emphasize what you DO have, not what you don't. A cover letter geared to career change will enhance your career change resume writing.
There are many reasons for making a career change. Sometimes, it might be that you just lose interest in your original career and want to try something new. People change and grow, after all. Or, maybe you were downsized/right-sized/lost your job due to the economy or other bad luck... Whatever the reasons, most of us will experience a career change at some point in our working lives.
So, how can you ensure a smooth transition to your new career? Well, here's a few steps to get you started...
So, once you do all that, then it's time to start applying for jobs in your new career. That will require you to put together a resume and cover letter that sell your assets. I cover career change resume writing elsewhere. This page deals with putting together a killer career change cover letter.
But once you're ready to get started with the cover letter, you might get stuck. After all, I hear you thinking, "How the heck do I market myself for a career I've never worked in?".
Here's how you need to look at career change cover letters... the cover letter is your friend. Think of a cover letter as a tool that enables you to point out the credentials you do have, your many transferable skills and the reasons for your new career choice. You'll use the career change cover letter to demonstrate just how valuable you could be to a prospective employer.
Many people — whether making a career change or not — make the mistake of using the cover letter to talk about how they anticipate the employer is going to help them achieve their new career goals. Trust me... Employers care very little about what they can do for you, especially in today's tough job market, where there are hundreds of candidates for nearly every open position! But they DO want to know what you can do for them.
Look at the differences between these two cover letter introductory statements:
Before: "I was excited to read about your opening for a technical support specialist. This position would help me move into the IT field and continue to increase my technical skills."
After: "My qualifications are a great match for your technical support specialist opening. Your clients will benefit immediately from the strong customer-service skills, creative problem-solving, and ability to master new tasks quickly that I bring to the table."
Just because you lack the exact experience the employer thinks they want, doesn't mean you don't possess transferable skills from past careers/jobs. Your task is to communicate to prospective employers how the skills you DO have would enable you to be a top performer, should they hire you. Here's an example of how you might do that in your career change cover letter:
"I am highly motivated to make a career change by leveraging 15 years of top-ranked customer service performance into the human resources field. In this way, I expect to benefit both my future employer and myself by bringing to the table a skill set that is highly relevant to your needs, including a high degree of organization, well-honed people and communication skills and superb software mastery abilities."
Employers may worry that you're not really committed to this change, or that you won't end up liking your new career enough to stick with it over the long haul.
And even though employers have little long-term loyalty to employees these days, they still don't want to waste time or money bringing on employees who won't stay loyal to them. So, you need to assure them of your commitment in your career change cover letter.
You could say that you'll work for a day (or a week) without pay to show how serious you are about your new career plans. Or you might offer to start working on a part-time basis, just to get your foot in the door. (That's what my husband did when he switched from system engineering to a math teaching career.)
Use your career change cover letter to prove that you will do whatever it takes to break into your new career.
One of the most positive things you can do is impress the employer with your passion and your knowledge about your new career field. Employers love to hire new workers who are enthusiastic and motivated towards success. A positive, upbeat approach will win them over every time!
As you write your career change cover letter, be honest and open about your career change plans and desires. Be sure to show the employer how you plan on succeeding and what that will mean for the employer's business and clients. When you believe in yourself, you'll have a much better chance of persuading recruiters to believe in you too.