How to Explain a Career Change in a Cover Letter

Even if you have spent years working at one career, developing your skills and work experience, it is possible to change your mind about your career direction. Many people decide to switch their careers after they are done with schooling and training or in mid-career. When you are applying for a job in a new field, you need to explain your career change in your cover letter so the employer can make a connection between your career choice and your education and work experience.

Address the cover letter to the hiring manager of the company. If the job listing asks you to specifically address the letter to someone, use the name and address provided.

Write the reasons why you are contacting the company and why you would like to be considered for the position.

Outline your passions, hobbies and goals in life. Explain how you pursued the other career and what made you change your mind. Remain positive about the career change and do not speak negatively about the other industry or career.

Explain why you feel you would be an ideal candidate for the job. If you do not have the usual education or work experience for the job because you're changing careers, explain what experience and skills you have gained in previous jobs qualify you for the position. This can include customer service skills or management skills, for example. Show that you have skills that are transferable to the new job.

Include a list of skills or personality traits you have acquired during your education or work experience that will benefit you in the new position. Make links between the requirements of the new job and your previous experience and qualifications.

Explain why you believe that your previous work experience will benefit you in the new position. Show that you can bring a fresh and new perspective from a different industry. Express confidence that you will have no problem fulfilling the job's requirements despite having a different work history that sets you apart from other candidates.

End the cover letter by telling the employer that you look forward to meeting in person so you can elaborate on how and why your past work experience would be beneficial to this particular company. Sign the cover letter before sending it in with your resume and references.

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About the Author

Based in Toronto, Mary Jane has been writing for online magazines and databases since 2002. Her articles have appeared on the Simon & Schuster website and she received an editor's choice award in 2009. She holds a Master of Arts in psychology of language use from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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