How to Explain a Career Change in a Cover Letter

Explain a career change, but focus the cover letter on your qualifications.
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There are many reasons to change careers. You are growing as a person, your family needs are changing and sectors in the business market rise and fall. To a hiring manager, your background in another career presents both risk and opportunity. Use your cover letter to explain your career change in a way that emphasizes the benefit of your background and alleviates potential concerns.

    Step 1

    Acknowledge that you are not a traditional candidate for the position and explain the major transferrable skills that you can bring to the position. For instance, if you come from a technical background, you may be able to bring strong analytical skills to a management role that other candidates would not be able to offer.

    Step 2

    Explain your personal career transition goals briefly. This information lets a hiring manager know that you are seeking a new career by your own choice, and not as a result of personal or professional failure in your past career.

    Step 3

    Highlight your successes in your previous career in a way that is applicable to the job you are applying for. For example, "I have managed customer accounts averaging $20 million in annual sales, allowing me to bring a customer-centric view and established relationship to the role of product manager."

    Step 4

    Be honest about personal reasons for leaving your previous career, but be sensitive to the requirements of the job you are applying for. It is completely acceptable to switch careers in order to spend more time with family, but make sure the job you are applying for doesn't require extensive travel or overtime.

    Step 5

    Demonstrate that you fully understand the requirements, issues and needs of your new career, both in the context of the individual company and the industry as a whole.

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