To many people, a change in career is paramount to career suicide! Anything that takes them off their current career path can set them back five or ten years, slowing down their climb up the corporate ladder.
Don’t be fooled! Changing a career can be a good thing, and in many cases it is. You’ll find that changing careers can help you obtain experience in an industry or field that actually interests you, and the experience and skills you developed in your previous field can be completely transferrable. If you tailor your resume correctly, you have a much better chance of getting a good job than most of your competition.
Your resume isn’t the only thing you’ll need to change, but it’s important that you alter your cover letter as well now that you’re changing careers.
A cover letter is your means of hooking the interest of potential employers, as it says a lot about you in a few words. It shows your personal flavor, giving details about you in an interesting way.
Here’s how to craft an awesome cover letter for your new career:
Step 1: Introduce yourself -- You should always give potential employers an idea of who you are in the first few sentences of your cover letter. You can start it off like this: "John Smith--passionate, hard-working, ethical innovator!"
Step 2: Give a bit of background -- You’ll have little work experience in the new field to share, but this is where you can tell prospective employers why you decided to choose this new career. You can infuse this section with your passion for the new field! Be upfront with why you decided to change careers, and show that you are convinced that your action was the right thing to do for your professional life.
Step 3: Mention transferable skills -- In your previous career, you no doubt gained a lot of work experience, and that experience can be transferred to your new career. Highlight the important skills and traits that you have developed, and how they will benefit you in this job.
Step 4: Go over the letter and tailor it to the company -- It’s important to do a bit of research on the company you are applying to, as that will allow you to tailor the letter to that company specifically. Don’t use a stock cover letter, but draft a new one each time you apply for a job. It will help you approach each job opportunity with a new perspective, and you’ll prove that you have what it takes to work for THAT company specifically.
Once you have your cover letter written, go over it carefully to find any grammatical, punctuation, or spelling mistakes. The last thing you want is for your letter to be filled with errors, which would ruin your chances of getting the job before you’re ever called in for an interview. After that, have someone neutral read it over, and heed their feedback. Make the letter sound more professional if it’s too casual, or add a bit more of your personal flavor if it’s too dry.
Follow these tips, and you’ll have no problem crafting a cover letter that rocks!
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