If you want to make a career change, should you use your cover letter to point out that you’re in career transition? If so, how do you say it so it appeals to an employer?
There’s no hard and fast rule that says you should or should not draw attention to your career change, either in your cover letter or resume. It depends on your situation.
Here’s my rule of thumb: In your cover letter, you’re not obligated to state that you’re making a career change. Do so only if it enhances your job application.
For example, if your previous line of work is somehow related to your new career, it could make sense to refer to your old career as a stepping stone to you new one. If, however, your former work is very different from you new career, then it might be best not to draw attention to your career transition.
Each of the following cover letter samples mentions one of these three types of career change:
- Career change from one type of work to another.
- Full-time moms making “career changes” back into the workforce
- Exploring a career change.
Take a look
Sample Cover Letters for Career Change
Cover Letter for Real Estate Appraiser
Marcus is making a career change from antique sales to real estate appraiser. This cover letter bridges his two careers and makes it easy for his reader to understand how she would benefit from having Marcus join her professional team.
123 Violet Way
Forest Hills, MN 12345
January 20, 20xx
Mrs. Betty Alexander
100 Forest Park Circle, Suite 1450
Forest Hills, MN 12345
Dear Mrs. Alexander,
Michael Sutton suggested that I contact you about the real estate appraiser’s position at your agency. My ambition to become an appraiser stems from over 12 years in antique sales (please see my attached resume).
As a long-time resident of Forest Hills, I have a love of its history, architecture, and culture. I am an active member of several local civic organizations, including the Forest Hills Historical Society, and I’m one of the organizers of the Forest Hills Home Safety Association, with more than 2,500 members.
My aptitude for numbers and detail is suited to the field, and now that I have my real estate appraiser’s license, I’m ready to jump into a full-time position. In the late 1990s I hired Belson Appraisers when my wife and I purchased our home. Based on my personal experience with your agency and its excellent reputation in the real estate community, I would very much like to join your appraising team.
I’ll call you on Monday to find out when it will be convenient for you to discuss the position.
Cover Letter for Administrative Assistant
This is a cover letter by a mother re-entering the workforce after being a full-time parent for the last five years. She’s now ready to get back to work as an administrative assistant. Kim couldn’t find out the name of her reader, so she started her letter with “Dear Director.” This is much better than “Dear Madam/Sir.”
101 Beach Street, #7
West Lakeland Park, AZ 12345
May 13, 20xx
Director of Business Development
Randall, Jerneys and Calpert Inc.
301 Stratford Drive
Tempe, AZ 12345
There’s a reason why:
- Friends hand me the dinner bill to divvy up.
- My checkbook always balances at the end of each month.
- My three kids are never late for events.
- Community groups look to me to organize events.
I’m a “detail person” — the kind of person you need as your administrative assistant.
For the last five years, I’ve handled all the scheduling, finances, and logistics for my family of five. It’s time for me to get back into the corporate work force and put my organizational talents to use there.
I’ll contact your Human Resources Department in the next few days to see how you or one of your associates might need administrative assistance.
Cover Letter for Graphic Designer
This cover letter email does three things for Tina, who is a server at Joe’s Coffee Company. Tina wants a promotion to graphic designer in Joe’s Marketing Department. Here’s what she achieves with her email: Tina thanks the hiring manager for his recent phone call about the career move she has in mind.
12 Blacklane St.
Oklahoma City, OK 12345
January 20, 20xx
Mr. Joe Grove
Joe’s Coffee Company
12 Fairbanks Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK 12345
Dear Mr. Grove,
Thank you for spending time on the phone with me regarding your upcoming employment opening in marketing. I am enclosing my resume and portfolio of samples.
As I mentioned, I have enjoyed working at Joe’s for almost two years now. Since my real love is graphic design, an ideal career move would be to join Joe’s Marketing Department, where I can use my talents to promote an organization I believe in.
I appreciate your review of my qualifications and welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person. I will call your office next week to see if an appointment is possible.
Attached: resume and portfolio
Follow-Up Letter for Event Planner
With this follow-up letter, Cindy is reconnecting with Ms. Winters, someone she met a few years ago. Cindy is not asking Ms. Winters for a job. She’s thinking about making a career change from florist to event planner. She’s asking for an informational interview to get insight into event planning, which is Ms. Winters’ profession.
About This Follow-Up Letter for an Informational Interview
This letter is in hardcopy format, however Cindy could have sent it as an email by using just the body of the letter (without the header, date, and inside address).
Cindy starts by reminding Ms. Winters that they met at a wedding two years ago. This short sentence also brings to mind that they have a common friend: the groom. In the second sentence, she makes it clear that she’s not asking Ms. Winters for a job. Rather, she wants to apply for a job at the convention center.
Then, Cindy very politely asks for the favor of a meeting over coffee, and even suggests days that are good to meet. All in all, Cindy is trying to make her request easy and enjoyable for Ms. Winters. Take a look.
56 West Hollow Dr.
Houston, TX 12345
August 18, 20xx
Ms. Betsey Winters
Events For You
592 Colgate Ave.
Houston, TX 12345
Dear Ms. Winters,
When we met two years ago at Robin Tankel’s wedding, I was amazed at how well you had orchestrated her reception. Now, after six years as a florist, I’m thinking about applying for a position as an event planner at the Houston Convention Center.
Before I jump headlong into event planning, would you be kind enough to consult with me? I’m interested in learning more about what’s involved in your profession.
Every Thursday, I work near your office on Colgate Avenue. Perhaps one Thursday in the next few weeks we can get together over coffee. May I call your office to set something up?
Best wishes with your business!
Follow-Up Cover Letter for COO of Data Management
This cover letter is Roger’s first step toward a career change into a new industry. He’s contacting someone he met at a casual event at a friend’s house. It’s a good example of how to seize an opportunity you find within your personal network and use it to advance your career.
About This Follow-Up Cover Letter
Notice that this cover letter is very personable. That’s because Roger has already had an in-person conversation with his reader, Mary. They’re on a first-name basis and they have a friend in common, George. See how naturally the letter flows, using relaxed wording such as “jingle” instead of “phone call.”
Here’s the hardcopy letter Roger wrote. He could also have sent the body of this letter as a cover email with his resume attached.
11 Carters Bend Road
Danville, CA 12345
March 24, 20xx
Mary Del Maro
One Berkeley Park Blvd.
Alameda, CA 12345
It was wonderful meeting you at George’s dinner party. I would never have guessed that we have so much in common, nor would I have imagined that a conversation with you would spark an industry change for me.
As you pointed out, my operations management skills are completely transferable into high-tech. I can easily picture myself as COO of Datamanagement. In fact, I’m enclosing a resume that targets that position.
Could we get together to explore the COO possibility? I’ll give you a jingle in a few days to see when you’re free for lunch.
Again, thanks for making my evening at George’s a great one!