How to Write a Cover Letter When Changing Careers (With Examples)

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April 20, 2023
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Making a career change is an exciting decision. And whether you're looking for a fresh start or pursuing your passions, writing a career change cover letter to complement your resume is your chance to make a powerful impression.

A well-crafted cover letter is essential to showcase your relevant skills and experience. It should show potential employers that you'll excel in a new industry. And by tailoring your letter to the job description and presenting your transferable skills, you can position yourself as a top candidate and increase your chances of landing that dream job. 

So, if you're ready to take the leap and switch careers, let's explore how to write a cover letter to help you make a successful and confident career transition.

3 Key takeaways you’ll find below

In this post, we’ll explore … 

  • Preparing to write a career change cover letter
  • The sections your cover letter should include
  • 3 career change sample cover letter examples

What is a cover letter?

When it comes to job applications, a well-written cover letter can make all the difference. So let's start with the basics. 

A cover letter is a document that accompanies a job application and your resume. It's a one-page letter introducing yourself. And it also emphasizes your qualifications and interest in the job to the potential employer. 

A cover letter should accomplish two objectives. 

The first is to provide additional information about yourself that isn't in your resume. A resume offers a comprehensive overview of your work history and accomplishments. At the same time, a cover letter allows you to add context. 

The second objective of a cover letter is to highlight why you're the right person for the job while showcasing your personality. Your cover letter should do this in a way that demonstrates you understand the company's needs and how you can contribute to its success.

Are cover letters important?

Yes! Cover letters are an essential part of a successful job application. In fact, 49% of hiring managers believe attaching a cover letter to your resume improves your chances of landing a job. 

Your cover letter is an opportunity to introduce yourself and demonstrate your knowledge, many skills, and passion for the position you're applying for. It's also your chance to shine and set yourself apart. 

In addition to providing information not included your resume, a cover letter also allows you to address any gaps in your work history, elaborate on your qualifications, and highlight your achievements. 

All of that said, your cover letter is a chance to tell your unique story.

How should I approach my cover letter if I’m changing careers?

If you’re planning a career pivot, it's best to approach your cover letter as a platform explaining why you're making a shift. It’s also the perfect place to discuss how your previous job experience and past roles will benefit your new role.

As a career changer, you may not have some relevant hard skills (and that’s okay!). Use your cover letter to explain why you are the best fit for the job and how your transferable skills make you a valuable candidate.

How to prepare to write a career change cover letter  

Before you begin writing a career change cover letter, it’s important to research your new industry and the roles you’ll be applying for. So, let’s explore a few best practices to implement before you start writing your letter. 

Research your new career

Starting a new career might seem daunting, but one of the best ways to mitigate any feelings of overwhelm is to make sure it aligns with your goals—career and personal. 

Research your industry and role using the questions below to determine if it fits you. 

  1. What are my long-term career goals? (For example, do you want to do meaningful work, work for a prestigious company, or increase your income?) 
  2. Will this new position help me to achieve those goals?
  3. What hard skills (specialized expertise like Marketo and Ahrefs) and soft skills (practical abilities like agility and communication) are talked about often? 
  4. What are some of the current market trends and opportunities in this industry? (For example, has there been an increase in hiring over the past six months?) 
  5. What is the salary range? Does it meet my needs?
  6. What kind of work-life balance can I expect?
  7. Are there opportunities for growth and advancement?
  8. What additional education or training might be required? 

You can keep track of the research you conduct in Teal’s Job Tracker. Tips and guidance are offered of where and how to conduct research. You can also log the research completed on the company.

Within Teal’s Job Tracker, keep track of your research by adding contact information and notes about the company.
Within Teal’s Job Tracker, keep track of your research by adding contact information and notes about the company.

Read relevant job descriptions

After you’ve decided this career is right for you, it's time to do a deep dive into some job descriptions. Remember, you want your career change cover letter to demonstrate you fully understand the role you're applying for. 

By analyzing a job posting or job description, you'll see a pattern in the key skills, direct experience, and qualifications that hiring managers want. And these details will help you create a keyword-rich, personalized cover letter.

Additionally, researching the job descriptions will help you understand companies and their core values. Your analysis gives you an idea of which organizations align with what you want. You'll also gain further insight into the best ways to position yourself as a strong culture add.

Find relevant resume examples

Before starting your cover letter, the last step in your research is to find and read relevant resume examples. Getting familiar with how to structure your resume as a career changer will help you narrow down vital elements you should focus on, like industry-specific language and the the best resume format.

If you don’t know where to begin, Teal has a free resource hub of 1,200+ resume examples to make this process a breeze!

How to write a cover letter for career changes  

Now that you understand the importance of a concise cover letter and the research you should do before getting started, it’s time to dig into your cover letter format and the fundamentals of crafting a cover letter for changing careers in the step-by-step guide below.

Write an introduction 

The introduction of your career change cover letter should pack a punch and grab the reader’s attention.

Start by addressing the hiring manager by name. Do your best to find this information in the job ad, LinkedIn, or company website. If you’re unsure of the hiring manager’s name, try something like “Dear Hiring Manager,” but avoid overly generalized statements like “To Whom It May Concern.”  

Then, start your opening paragraph by introducing yourself. You should include the following:

  • Your current job title
  • Position you're applying for 
  • Company you’re applying to
  • A sentence or two addressing your unconventional background 

Express reasoning 

After introducing yourself, it's time to touch on why you're changing careers. 

While discussing what you didn't like about your previous role might seem honest, your cover letter isn't the place to focus on any negative reasons.

Are you looking for new challenges? Seeking a better work-life balance? Have you become passionate about a different industry? When talking about why you want to change careers, these are the positive elements you should highlight.

Show personality 

One of the most important elements of your career change cover letter (or any cover letter) is showcasing your incredible personality. You can do this by …

  • Demonstrating enthusiasm with a positive tone (e.g., “thrilled,” “excited,” or “passionate”)
  • Using professional but conversational language
  • Talking about your goals
  • Tying in your values and motivation with those of the company
  • Expressing gratitude for the opportunity to apply and for your perspective employer’s time and attention

Customize it to the job description

Much like you should tailor your resume to a job, you should personalize your cover letter, too. Customizing your cover letter to the job description you're applying to demonstrates you thoroughly understand the specifics of the role.

What's the best way to do this? Well, you can use AI tools like ChatGPT for job applications for repetitive tasks like pulling keywords and language from the job description. Then, include that content in the body of your letter.

If you want to skip multiple steps and make customizing your cover letter (and resume) to a particular job easy, use Teal. (Sign up for free today!) 

Teal has a free Job Tracker that pulls relevant keywords for resume from your saved jobs. It also keeps notes for each job, helping you stay organized and track important information about each position. Just follow the steps below.

  1. Log in to your Teal account and navigate to the Job Tracker. 
  2. Click on one of the jobs you have saved, or click "Add a New Job." 
  3. Teal will automatically pull the hard skills, soft skills, emphasis words, and other key language from the job description.
Teal’s Free Job Tracker automatically extracts and highlights keywords from a job description.
Teal’s Free Job Tracker automatically extracts and highlights keywords from a job description.

      4. Click the "Notes" icon in the top right corner to jot down any important details you want to remember to include in your cover letter. You can also include notes about the company to reference as you move into the interview stages.

Teal’s Job Tracker saves notes for every job you are interested in to help you stay organized.
Teal’s Job Tracker saves notes for every job you are interested in to help you stay organized.

Highlight transferable skills

Your transferable skills are those soft skills, or interpersonal skills, from previous experiences like employment, education, unique hobbies, or personal interests. According to McKinsey & Company, the need for transferable skills —especially social and emotional—will continue to accelerate rapidly through at least 2030. 

So what transferable skills example might you want to incorporate into your cover letter?

  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Dependability
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Growth mindset
  • Integrity
  • Leadership
  • Organization
  • Relationality 

Also, honesty is critical when creating your cover letter and writing winning resumes. No matter what the job description lists, only highlight the skills you actually have experience with. 

Pro Tip: If you need some guidance in this area, check out the class “Identify My Skills” to brush up on the skills you’ve gained over time!

Showcase results 

Hiring managers need a glimpse into who you are, your reason for wanting to change careers, and your soft skills. But it's also valuable for them to see any results that might be considered pertinent to the role you're seeking. 

When crafting your career change cover letter, consider highlighting accomplishments examples like a specific project, awards, or metrics that showcase your skills. These results demonstrate your performance and potential to deliver value in a new field. 

Close with a strong call to action

A call to action tells your reader what you want them to do next. And because you likely want to meet with a company to discuss the opportunity and your qualifications further, let the hiring manager know in the final lines of your letter! 

So what should your call to action include?

  • Enthusiasm 
  • A request to meet or interview
  • Gratitude

3 Career change cover letter examples 

Now that you understand the fundamentals of a career change cover letter, let's go over some examples that show how to tailor your career transition cover letter to a new industry, highlight transferable skills, and express your motivation and excitement for a new career path!

Dear Hiring Manager, 

As a dedicated and passionate teacher for the past eight years, I'm thrilled to apply for the project manager role at Vaniam Group. My unique background and experience as an educator have provided me with a skill set I believe will significantly impact project management.

While I've found teaching to be a fulfilling and rewarding career, I'm excited to pursue a new challenge in project management. In my current position, I consistently receive excellent feedback for my ability to communicate effectively with my students, parents, and colleagues. I'm also drawn to this role because I'm passionate about working collaboratively with teams to drive successful outcomes. I believe these skills will translate well into project management, where clear communication and collaboration are essential for success.

Throughout my teaching career, I've honed my ability to effectively manage multiple priorities and deadlines while keeping my students engaged and motivated. I've also become proficient in using project management software to organize my lesson plans and classroom activities. I'm confident that these skills, along with my attention to detail and ability to adapt to changing circumstances, will serve me well in the project management space.

I'm very enthusiastic about bringing my talents and experience to Vaniam Group and contributing to its continued success. Thank you for considering my application. I'd love to demonstrate my skills and passion for this role through an interview with your team. 


Cormac Doyle

Dear Hiring Manager,

I'm excited to apply for the business development representative role at EveryDose. As a seasoned retail professional with a passion for driving sales and building customer relationships, I believe my unique background will enable me to make a significant impact in this role.

I'm drawn to this role because I am passionate about leveraging my skills to drive success for a rapidly growing organization. As a retail professional, I’ve successfully managed a high volume of sales and customer service interactions, resulting in increased customer loyalty and repeat business. I am confident I can bring this same success to the healthcare technology industry.

Throughout my 10-year career in retail, I've sharpened my skills in sales, customer service, and relationship-building. I've consistently exceeded sales targets by more than 20%—leveraging my ability to identify customer needs and provide tailored solutions.

In addition to my sales and customer service skills, I also have experience with data analysis and reporting. As a retail manager, I regularly review and analyze sales data to identify trends and opportunities for growth. 

Thank you for considering my application. I'm so excited about the opportunity to bring my skills and experience to EveryDose and contribute to its continued success. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon to discuss how my unique background and experience can help me excel as a business development representative.


Alicia Orgera

Dear Ms. Patel,

I'm excited to submit my application for the jr. marketing associate position at Ibotta. As a restaurant industry professional with 15 years of experience in customer service and operations, I've developed a diverse skill set that would translate well to the marketing field.

While I've enjoyed my time in the restaurant industry and the valuable skills I've acquired, I’m seeking new challenges and opportunities for growth. I'm particularly drawn to marketing because of its dynamic and ever-changing nature—where creativity and innovation are highly valued.

As a restaurant manager, I spearheaded a social media campaign that resulted in a 25% increase in online engagement and a 15% increase in customer foot traffic. I utilized my skills in communication, creativity, and strategic planning to create engaging content that resonated with our target audience and drove increased customer interest in our brand. 

I'm confident that my experience in the restaurant industry and my passion for marketing make me a strong candidate for this position. 

Can you let me know your availability to discuss my qualifications further?

Thank you so much for your consideration.


Stella Pertaker

How to quickly write a customized cover letter 

Making a career switch is an exciting step in your professional growth. Congratulations on taking the leap!

If you're looking to write a career change cover letter in even less time, Teal's AI functionality generates custom cover letters with the click of a button. 

All you need to do is navigate to Teal's Resume Builder, click on the cover letter icon at the top of your screen, select a saved job from the drop-down menu, and click the "Generate with AI" button—that's it! 

Use the AI functionality within Teal’s Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.
Use the AI functionality within Teal’s Resume Builder to tailor multiple versions of your cover letter.

Still not using Teal? Sign up for free to create custom cover letters, tailored resumes, organize your job search, and so much more today!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I highlight my transferable skills in a career change cover letter?

In your career change cover letter, focus on skills that are universally valuable across industries, such as leadership, communication, project management, or problem-solving. Provide specific examples of how you've successfully used these skills in your current role and explain how they will be beneficial in the new position. Tailor these skills to match the job description to show the hiring manager that you're a suitable candidate despite the industry shift.

What is the best way to address a career change in a cover letter without seeming indecisive?

Be honest and positive about your decision to change careers. Emphasize your commitment to the new field and explain the thoughtful process that led to your decision. Highlight any steps you've taken to prepare for the transition, such as additional training or education, to demonstrate your dedication and to reassure the employer of your determination and stability.

Should I mention my lack of industry-specific experience in my career change cover letter?

Rather than focusing on the experience you lack, concentrate on the positive aspects of your background. Discuss your eagerness to learn and adapt, and how your unique perspective can bring fresh ideas to the team. If relevant, mention any industry-related activities or volunteer work you've engaged in to show your genuine interest and proactive efforts to immerse yourself in the new field.

Kayte Grady

Kayte, Senior Copywriter at Teal and Champion of ADHD professionals, is a seasoned writer passionate about storytelling and career growth. With a data-driven approach to content marketing and a word-nerd knack for resume builder analysis, Kayte’s on a mission to empower job seekers to land a job they love. Constantly pivoting and reinventing herself, this social-worker-turned-marketer found growth and camaraderie in tech—a genuine surprise given her never-ending devotion to the paper calendar.

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