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Changing career can be a very daunting process. When applying for roles you may find that employers tend to favour candidates who have had roles in similar industries and functions in the past. Despite these obstacles, the benefits from successfully completing a career change are huge – so don’t be dissuaded by these initial challenges. As well as your enthusiasm for a career change, a key part of your success will be in your ability to demonstrate relevant transferable skills and strengths in an effective career change cover letter.
As with your CV, your cover letter should be a sales document. You are trying to explain to the hiring manager why your application should be considered. Mentioning your lack of direct experience is a negative approach that won’t be well received by employers. Use positive and enthusiastic language and demonstrate examples from your background that will help prove that you can handle the transition with ease.
There’s no need to skirt around the issue of your career change in your cover letter. If you do, the hiring manager may make a negative assumption about your reasons for applying. Instead, speak openly about the career change – in particular, why you’re moving to this new field of work and want this particular role. Conduct thorough research so you are able to clearly express the reasons why this is the company and career for you.
As with any cover letter, you must explain why and how you could add value to the organisation. Although you’ll be excited to change your career, the hiring manager will want to know what you can do for them and how you will contribute to their organisation, rather than just explaining why the role meets your new career goals.
You may have had the opportunity to gain some experience in your new field either through voluntary work or work shadowing. Unpaid experience can be just as valid as previous job experience. When changing careers this shows the hiring manager that you have a very real interest in your new field.
Even if there’s no link at all between your previous career path and your new one, you will have gained valuable transferable skills that will be highly sought after by employers. Check the job description and see what they’re after, then briefly mention examples of when you displayed these skills in your previous work.
If you’re still unsure how to approach the application process during a career change, consider the services of a Career Coach. They will be able to offer you one-to-one support and access to a suite of comprehensive online resources to help you through your career transition.
Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org