How To Write a Career Change Cover Letter (+ Examples)

When you’re changing careers, your cover letter needs to be outstanding. Follow these tips for creating a polished, informative cover letter for your career change.



Table of Contents

  1. Career Change Cover Letter Example
  2. The Format of a Career Change Cover Letter
  3. Tips for Writing a Better Career Change Cover Letter
  4. FAQ: Career Change Cover Letters
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Career Change Cover Letter Example

If you’re looking to break into a new career, then you need to create a job application that succeeds in pulling off the career transition. A job seeker without a lot of experience in the new industry, will need to showcase your career path so far and where you’re going in the future. Here’s a career change cover letter template that can help.

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The Format of a Career Change Cover Letter

The first thing to do is understand where you should start. Here’s a career change cover letter example to help you understand what yours might look like:
Dear Mr. Smith,
I’ve known I wanted to be a software engineer since I was 16. In fact, I started coding profile pages for my friends online. Initially, I pursued a nursing career to take part in the family healthcare business my parents operated, as it was an easy place to get my first job. However, I still learned coding on the side, getting certifications in major programming languages and excelling in coding, as an “interesting hobby.” In 2018, I decided to find a new position in coding.  That’s why I’m so excited to follow my passion and apply for the software engineer position at Company Name.
I am incredibly detail-oriented and write in code with very few errors. My experience working on my own in a variety of coding languages has taught me to identify errors and create easier pathways of code. I enjoy writing my own code step-by-step and correcting others’ code. Additionally, I have certifications in Java, PHP, Python, C++, SQL, and HTML.
This new field interests me significantly, and I’m excited to showcase exactly what I can do in the field of programming. I look forward to an interview where I can discuss my programming and other skills.
Latoya Weber
Although this is a fairly short career change cover letter sample, it’s a great starting point for any job seeker looking to make a career change and could use some helpful tips on cover letter writing.
The cover letter header should be the same as any other cover letter salutation: your full name, phone number, email address and professional job networking links, such as LinkedIn. Additionally, be sure to address your potential employer by their name.
First paragraph: Introduction and best achievements
Your opening paragraph needs a hook that will pull the recruiter in. Explain why you are changing careers. In the example, she chose her first career from  pressure to join the family’s career path. Now, following her passion for coding, she is opening up the job search again to find a job opportunity that will make her happy. This first paragraph should clearly define what you’re switching from your previous role to the name of the job role that  you’re applying to.
Second paragraph: More achievements and how you can benefit the company
Next, you need to talk about your relevant skills and why you’ll be a benefit to the company, even though you don’t have direct experience. This applicant mentions her detail-oriented nature, her ability to write and fix code and her many certifications. If you have experience from a previous job that you can apply to the new job, including transferable skills, then you can include it in this section. Mention extra achievements and skills in bullet points below this paragraph.
Final paragraph: Call to action
The closing paragraph should be your call to action. This applicant says, “I look forward to  an interview,” actively requesting a job interview. This interpersonal request is one of the elements that makes a cover letter so powerful. You get to actually ask to further discuss the role, which is a great way to get an interview.

Tips for Writing a Better Career Change Cover Letter

  • Don’t directly state that you have “No past experience.” Phrases like “I have no work experience” and “I know my work history is lacking” stand out in an unsatisfactory way to a hiring manager. Even though you should acknowledge the career change, don’t draw attention to your lack of experience.
  • Showcase any ways you helped prior jobs in a relevant way. This way, you can still list some sort of relevant work experience.
  • Look at the job description and company website to see what skills the company values in their employees. You want to gear your application, resume and cover letter toward the company values.

FAQ: Career Change Cover Letters

Q: Should you explain your career change in a cover letter?

Yes. You should also explain how a past job’s experiences may have played into your career change. In this example, you can see that the applicant has always been interested in programming but decided to pursue a different career for some time. This explanation makes it seem more natural to move into this new career.

Q: How do you say that you’re looking for a career change in your cover letter?

Typically, your best option is to just state that you’re interested in the job. Reference your old position and industry and explain why you’re changing paths. Then, simply discuss the areas that you excel at. You can mention specific skills and experiences from prior jobs that have influenced you to apply to a new job. Keep the discussion about your career change to a minimum.

Q: How long should a career change cover letter be?

A career change cover letter should be the same length as any other cover letter – typically around 3/4 of a page to half a page. This is long enough to explain your story and appear qualified for the job role but not so long that it becomes too long for a hiring manager to read.

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