Monday, November 14th, 2011

Four Tips for Career Change Cover Letters

A client recently asked, “How do you write a cover letter for a job you have no experience in? It can be difficult to write a cover letter for a position when you don’t have any previous experience in that field.”

Employers tend to favor candidates with linear careers and those who have proved themselves in similar industries and job functions in the past. But it’s not impossible to change careers, and a strong cover letter can help you gain the attention of the hiring manager. Whenever possible, try to couple your cover letter with a strong networking strategy. Someone who can advocate for your character and potential can be an enormous help when you are trying to make inroads into an industry or job function where you have no previous experience. Here are four tips for writing career change cover letters.

1. Showcase education that is relevant to your desired job target.
You may not have any work experience in your new field, but perhaps you have completed coursework to better prepare you for the new role. Focus the cover letter on what was learned in school and include coursework and any school projects that simulated real work experience.
2. Demonstrate transferable skills to the new position.
Perhaps you have technology, problem solving, organization, project management, or finance skills that will prove beneficial in the new role. Whenever possible, prove that you already possess a skill set that is highly adaptable to the new work environment.
3. Leverage any volunteer experience that is similar to the position you are targeting.
Volunteering is a great way to gain valuable experience that can be positioned on a resume or cover letter. Just because experience isn’t paid doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant.

4. Explain why you are a good fit for the new position.
Articulate your reasons for making a career change and why you are passionate about this new role. Show anything from your background that may help prove that you can handle the transition with ease.