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How to Create a Career Change Cover Letter

Changing careers has never been more common–or more popular. In the two years after the onset of COVID-19, a whopping 20% of Americans changed jobs. That’s one in five people!

Changing careers is an exciting opportunity to follow your passion and try your hand at something new. But first, you’ll need to convince a hiring manager that you have what it takes to succeed in a field where you have little to no experience. A cover letter can help do the job. 

We’ll explain what should be included in a cover letter when you’re switching fields and share a sample cover letter you can use to help craft your own.

What is a career change cover letter?

A cover letter describing a career change follows the same format as a normal cover letter and has the same goal: to make the case for why you’re a strong fit for a job. When you’re making a career change, however, your cover letter needs to have a stronger emphasis on how the skills you’ve acquired in your current job will serve you in a completely different line of work. It should also give the reader a bit of context on the discrepancy between your work experience and the job you’re applying for.

Why it’s important to use a cover letter

While it may be totally obvious to you how your background as a dental hygienist has prepared you for a career as an oceanographer, it might not be so clear to most people. That’s why it’s so important to use your cover letter to illuminate your transferable skills.  

A cover letter is also an opportunity to help the hiring manager get to know you. Since at least some part of hiring is subjective, you want to give them that “gut feeling” that whatever you lack in technical skills, you can make up for with work ethic and enthusiasm.

When should you send the letter?

You should send a cover letter at the same time you would send a normal cover letter: when you’re applying for a job. You can also use a cover letter to inquire about opportunities with a company you’re interested in when you’re not sure whether they have an open position.

What to include:


Share a bit about your background and the field you’re transitioning from.

Your most impressive achievements

Give the hiring manager a mini highlight reel from your current and previous jobs

Your passion for the field

Help them see why you’re so eager to switch industries. Don’t be afraid to get a little creative with how you present it.

Your transferable skills

 If you’re having trouble coming up with technical examples, focus on skills that can be valuable in any field, like problem solving and strong communication.

What to omit

  • Overexplaining your decision to change fields. While you do want to touch on the fact that you’re coming from a different field, leave an in-depth explainer for the interview you’ll hopefully land. 
  • Calling attention to your lack of experience. Avoid pointing out the skills you lack and instead, focus on the ones that can be applied to the role you want. 
  • Exaggerating your knowledge of the field. Avoid the urge to compensate for your inexperience by stretching the truth about your background or the jobs you’ve held.

Sample letter

Ms. MacGregor,

By day, I’m a business analyst for a top four consulting firm. But by night (and weekend and lunch break) I’m a wedding consultant for my friends, family and coworkers, helping them plan their special day in painstaking, picture-perfect detail. Planning weddings is a hobby of mine that’s become a passion, which is why I was so excited to hear of the wedding coordinator opening with Hudson Valley Events. 

As a business analyst, one of my core competencies is helping clients conceptualize strategic changes that will help them realize their organizational goals. I single-handedly manage a portfolio of clients totaling $2B in annual revenue and regularly spearhead business development campaigns to help further expand my firm’s client base. This experience would serve me well as a wedding coordinator, helping couples bring their vision to life while strategically leveraging your company’s partnerships with various vendors. 

In my current role, organization and attention to detail are imperative. I’ve worked hard to cultivate these skills and have even developed a reputation around the office for my color-coded client binders. However, these skills might be even more important in the field of event planning, where the clients have such an emotional investment in the outcome of the service. This is why I believe I’d be an excellent candidate for the job. 

I would be thrilled at the opportunity to discuss the position with you further. Please contact me at 555-209-9090 to connect. 


Lisa Elwood

Switching fields can be daunting, but a cover letter describing your career change can set you up for a smooth transition and make a successful introduction to a hiring manager who can help you realize your dream.