4 Steps to Create a Dynamic Career Change Cover Letter

4 steps to create a dynamic career change cover letter

Writing a career change cover letter can be tough. Especially if you’re actually targeting your letters to every single job (this is what I recommend doing, by the way)! Then add in a major career switch and it might seem darn near impossible.

You might be wondering how you can write a strong, targeted letter and intelligently (and convincingly) explain why you’re making a career change. You also might be wondering if taking the time to target your cover letter is worth it. According to a recent study, applicants with tailored cover letters yielded over 50% more interviews compared to applicants who submitted generic cover letters.

In this article, I will walk you through how to explain your career shift in a way that makes you look like an ideal candidate. I’ll also detail how to write a targeted letter, including how to write the introduction and body paragraphs, as well as tips for writing a strong summary.

Keep reading to learn how to make your cover letter shine:

Step 1: Determine Your “Why”

How do you say that you’re looking for a career change in your cover letter? If you’re not sure why you are making a career change, you might not be ready to write a cover letter just yet. Your career change cover letter needs to sound confident and convincing. If you aren’t really sure why you want to make a change, you can’t expect a recruiter or hiring manager to understand it either.

Here are some questions to ask yourself about your career pivot:

  • Why do I want to change jobs or fields? Is it the work itself I don’t like, or is it more of the environment?
  • Does my career change make sense? Is it feasible? For example, if your new field requires additional education or training that you don’t have, are you willing and able to get the training?
  • What transferable job skills have I gained from my prior field or job that I can use in my new targeted role or field?
  • Why do I want to apply for this role? Why am I an excellent fit?
  • What specifically about this company appeals to me?

If you are having a hard time answering some or most of these questions, you likely need to do some self-reflection about what you want in your next job as well as research your targeted company before you write your cover letter.

If you were able to answer most of the questions, you’re ready to begin writing!

Step 2: Write a Creative Introduction

I suggest being creative with your cover letter introduction. Keep in mind, recruiters read dozens of these letters daily. Therefore, you want your letter to stand out. Below are some creative and dynamic career changer cover letter openings:

“Go Bruins! As a proud UCLA alumnus, I am thrilled at the prospect of returning to the Bruin community in a professional capacity and contributing to the innovative and dynamic environment that shaped my academic and personal growth. My experience in the non-profit sector crafting compelling narratives, managing digital content, and building online communities aligns perfectly with the demands of the social media manager role at UCLA.”

“With a background in real estate sales where market analysis and understanding of client needs were paramount, I am excited to bring a unique blend of skills to the market researcher position. My experience in identifying market trends, evaluating property values, and understanding buyer behavior has equipped me with a deep insight into consumer psychology and market dynamics, making me well-prepared to deliver exceptional results in your market research department.”

“My teaching philosophy, grounded in the belief that every child learns differently, has allowed me to successfully meet each student at their own level. I would love to apply this philosophy, along with my ten years of classroom teaching experience, to help your company develop differentiated instructional guides for diverse learners as a content writer with your organization.”

“When I was five years old, I stared in awe as my family drove over the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. I wondered how it could withstand the weight of the cars and people. Although my work experience has been mostly in the field of computer science, my passion for civil engineering has never died. I will soon graduate with my second bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, allowing me to contribute significantly to your company’s mission of building safer, more resilient infrastructure.”

As you can see from the attention-grabbing cover letter examples above, there are many unique and creative ways to introduce yourself and detail what led you to want to make a career change and apply for your targeted role. It will likely take you some time to write this part of your cover letter. But trust me, it’s worth it!

Many of my clients tell me they’ve applied to hundreds of jobs and haven’t gotten a reply. When I ask if they have written a targeted cover letter that explains their career change, nine times out of ten the answer is no. If you are not making a case for what led you to apply for the job and why you are a good fit, there’s a strong chance you will be waiting a long time to hear back from your dream company.

Step 3: Write the Middle Paragraphs

The body of your cover letter is extremely important. Your middle paragraphs are where you can provide concrete evidence regarding how you can apply the transferable skills you acquired in your prior field to adding value in your new field.

Here’s the tricky part: you need to be detailed, but you don’t want to be too detailed. In fact, I don’t suggest going over one page. You do not need to include every work experience you’ve ever had. I suggest choosing two to three examples of either work or academic accomplishments.

It’s important to show vs. tell in the body paragraphs of your cover letter. Below are some body paragraph examples:

“Leveraging my extensive background in retail sales, I am uniquely positioned to thrive as an event planner, where understanding client needs, effective communication, and meticulous organizational skills are crucial. In my 8 years working for Nordstrom, I honed my ability to anticipate customer desires, launching over 50 sales and promotional programs that exceeded sales goals and customer expectations. My proven track record of executing successful customer engagement initiatives will allow me to achieve similar outcomes as an event coordinator with Ultimate Productions, Inc.”

“Drawing upon my extensive college-level teaching experience, I am well-prepared to excel as a corporate trainer, bringing a wealth of skills in curriculum development, engaging instruction, and personalized learning approaches. My background in education has ingrained in me the importance of adapting teaching methods to suit diverse learning styles, ensuring that each individual grasps complex concepts effectively. This skill is directly transferable to the corporate environment, where I can design and deliver training programs tailored to the unique needs of adult learners, fostering an inclusive and productive learning atmosphere.”

Step 4: Write the Cover Letter Summary

Congratulations! You’ve almost made it to the finish line. It’s okay to just write something like “Thank you for your time and I hope to hear back soon,” right?

Not so fast! I know when you’re close (yet so far) from finishing your letter, it can be tempting to write a hasty wrap-up and say your goodbyes. Use your cover letter summary paragraph to re-state your enthusiasm for the role and any other pertinent information regarding your career change. See the examples below of different ways to write your career change cover letter conclusion:

“Thank you so much for taking the time to read my letter. As you will see on my resume, I am currently enrolled in a master event planner certificate program which will be completed in a month. However, I am ready to jump into a new role immediately!”

“To recap, although the bulk of my work experience has been in customer service, I plan to use my transferable skills of problem-solving and organization coupled with my recent volunteer work in the non-profit sector, to succeed as a community resource representative. I look forward to discussing in more detail how my skills and achievements can contribute to the success of your organization.”

Career Change Cover Letter Examples

Below you will find job change cover letter examples to get a bigger picture look at what your finished product should look like:

Example #1:

Dear Hiring Manager:

With a successful background as an account manager, coupled with my passion for fitness and wellness, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to Family Fitness by helping clients achieve their health and fitness goals.

Throughout my career in account management, I have honed skills that are directly applicable to personal training. My experience in building and maintaining strong client relationships, understanding client needs, and providing tailored solutions has equipped me with the ability to connect with clients on a personal level, motivate them, and guide them towards achieving their objectives.

My journey towards becoming a personal trainer is driven by a lifelong commitment to health and fitness. When I was twenty, a car accident left me unable to walk for three years. Instead of giving up, I made physical fitness and therapy my number one priority. This personal journey has inspired me to become a certified personal trainer, allowing me to share my passion and knowledge with others looking to embark on their own fitness journeys.

As an account manager with Digital Solutions, I was known for my dedication to client success, consistently exceeding targets and expectations by leveraging my excellent communication and interpersonal skills. I am eager to bring this client-centric approach to Family Fitness, ensuring that each client receives a personalized training experience that not only meets but exceeds their fitness aspirations.

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the opportunity to discuss how my background, skills, and passion for health and fitness aligns with the goals of Family Fitness. I am confident that my transition from account management to personal training will bring a fresh perspective and a dedicated approach to helping your clients achieve their fitness goals.


[Your Name]

Example #2:

Dear Mr. Jones:

Dealing with unanticipated turbulence at 30,000 feet in the air is a bit like managing last-minute changes in a high-stress office environment. I know from personal experience. I’ve been a flight attendant for the past 15 years. I also worked as an intern at the largest marketing firm in San Francisco. Whether high in the air or on the ground working in a fast-paced office environment, I’ve learned I can remain calm and productive under high stress and chaotic circumstances!

I am writing to express my enthusiastic interest in the Executive Assistant position with Google. With a comprehensive background as a flight attendant, where exceptional customer service, precise attention to detail, and the ability to anticipate and meet the needs of others were paramount, I am excited about the opportunity to bring my skills and experiences to a role that supports the success of your executive team.

My role as a lead flight attendant with American Airlines involved acting as the primary point of contact for passengers, addressing their inquiries, resolving issues, and ensuring a seamless and pleasant travel experience. This experience has honed my communication skills and my ability to build and maintain strong relationships, qualities that I understand are crucial for effectively liaising with clients, staff, and stakeholders in your organization.

I am particularly drawn to Google because of its reputation for fostering employee growth and its commitment to excellence. I am eager to contribute to your team by bringing my unique background, along with my strong dedication to providing outstanding support and facilitating the achievement of organizational goals.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss how my background and strengths will allow me to make a valuable contribution to your team.


[Your Name]

In Conclusion

Crafting a cover letter is absolutely achievable with the right guidance and a clear step-by-step approach. Hopefully, this article has provided you with the necessary outline to write a purposeful, targeted letter. Remember, with a little effort and intentionality, you can showcase your transferable skills and make a compelling case for your career transition.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a career change cover letter?

    A career change cover letter is a document you submit along with your job application when you are transitioning into a new field or industry. It highlights your transferable skills, explains your motivation for the change, and demonstrates how your past experiences align with the requirements of the new role.

  • How should I structure my career change cover letter?

    When structuring your career change cover letter, consider the following format:
    – Introduction: Start with a friendly greeting and explain your intention and your “why” in relation to switching careers.
    – Body: Highlight your relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that are transferable to the desired field. Emphasize your passion for the new industry and connect it to your past experiences.
    – Closing: Express gratitude for the opportunity to be considered.

  • What are some tips for writing an effective career change cover letter?

    Here are a few tips to write an effective career change cover letter:
    – Research the targeted industry: Familiarize yourself with the industry’s keywords, trends, and skills in order to tailor your letter accordingly.
    – Highlight transferable skills: Emphasize the transferable skills gained from your previous work experiences that align with the requirements of the new role.
    – Showcase passion and motivation: Clearly convey your enthusiasm for the new career path and illustrate your motivation to make the transition.
    – Address potential concerns: Address any potential red flags or gaps in your experience by explaining how your past achievements and skills are relevant to the new field.
    – Keep it concise and professional: Aim for a one-page letter, use a professional tone, and proofread for any errors before submitting.

    Remember to personalize each cover letter to the specific job and company you are applying to for optimal results!

  • Lee Cristina Beaser

    MS, CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer)

    Lee brings over two decades of expertise in guiding individuals towards career success. Having helped thousands of professionals in a wide variety of industries, she has a deep understanding of the intricacies of the job market. Lee founded The Career Counter, a platform dedicated to providing busy people, especially moms returning to the workforce, with tools and services tailored to their unique career goals.

    Our Founder has over 20 years of experience helping people like you

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