A cover letter is an elegant way to introduce yourself. A career change cover letter on the other hand, has to impress and persuade.
It is your chance to explain, in no more than 3-4 paragraphs, why you bring value to the prospective employer.
If a cover letter is a handshake, a career change cover letter is your sales pitch, to stimulate the curiosity of the hiring manager to turn the page to your accompanying resume. It’s not what you have done and it’s not just all about you. It’s more importantly about what you can bring to the table and how. You should devote at least half the cover letter to your transferable skills, and how they will create value to your new employer.
You need a career change cover letter when you want to leave the job you are in behind to move to a new direction. As your letter competes against others already in your new field of choice, your resume cover letter has to be a standout.
When Should You Use a Cover Letter?
In this day and age when everything is done electronically, a cover letter is still necessary and gives you an edge when written effectively.
Even if you are emailing in your resume and application, you can include the career change cover letter in the text of your email message or preceding your resume in the same attachment.
Of course, you may just make a doubly strong impression and send in a hard copy of your career change cover letter plus your resume and send it in by mail. You get noticed for taking that initiative, and may just double your rate of interviews.
Before we get into what you should do, let’s highlight what you should not do:
- Don’t be long winded – no more than 3-4 paragraphs. Remember the human resources and hiring personnel are busy people and don’t have time to go into your life story.
- Don’t be afraid to state you are a career changer. Change is a way of life nowadays.
- Don’t focus on the past and what you have achieved in your current career. That has little relevance to the person reading the cover letter.
- Don’t overburden with detail. Discussions of salary ranges or geographic requirements don’t belong in a career change cover letter.
To read more about our top tips for your career change lover letter, join our email list to gain instant access to our whitepaper library!