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How to write an impactful cover letter for a career change


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How to write a cover letter for a career change

Career change cover letter examples.

8 tips to write a successful career change cover letter

Learning to navigate career changes

As a job seeker, your primary objective is to stand out from every other candidate — and writing a strong cover letter is a great way to do this.

But if you’re trying to change careers, it might seem more complicated. Crafting a compelling letter for a career change needs to put your best foot forward while explaining how your experience and transferable skills make you the best fit. 

Luckily, like any application, cover letters give you a unique opportunity to make a strong first impression on a prospective employer. They’re your opportunity to spin a perceived drawback into a valuable asset, showing hiring managers your unique perspective and ability to make a change.

Let’s start with the basics. Like any other professional communication, every word of your career change cover letter counts. Your relevant skill set, work experience, and communication style let a recruiter, hiring manager, or potential supervisor know what it’ll be like to work with you. 

Here’s how to use your cover letter to make an impact: 

1. Start with a powerful introduction

The first few lines of your cover letter set the tone and pique your reader's interest (or spur disinterest). Skip generic introductions and aim for an opening line that quickly encapsulates the value you can bring to the new job. It can also reflect your unique personality, within reason.

Don’t be shy about identifying yourself as a career changer. It’s an opportunity to showcase important soft skills — such as courage, intellectual curiosity , and a resilient mindset — and connect relevant experiences with valuable transferable skills . With the right framing, it may be the key to standing out as an interesting candidate.

Here’s an example: “As a seasoned journalist, I’m eager to transition into public relations. I've spent the last 20 years sharpening my critical-thinking, research, and copywriting skills, which will serve me well in this new role.”

2. Develop your full character

Your opening paragraph should include your previous role and new career ambition. Next, it’s time to offer a glimpse of your professional drive and explain in more detail what you bring to a career switch, especially if you’ve been upskilling, taking classes, or attending trainings. This is an opportunity to blend your established reputation with your new career goals. If you’re making the change to pursue your passion or do more meaningful work, putting that fact on diisplay creates a fuller image of your personal values , mission, and vision for the future. 

For example: “I currently manage a team of 50 sales representatives in the constantly evolving healthcare sector. The most fascinating and fulfilling part of my job has always been developing a deep understanding of my client’s needs. Acting as a bridge to better service, consulting with them about updating their tools and training to focus on providing excellent treatment to their patients is so rewarding. I’m excited by the prospect of leveraging my social skills and years of experience working directly with healthcare providers to move into software development for the healthcare sector.” 

3. Show some emotion


Carefully placed action verbs and feelings help make your experience jump off the page. Potential employers aren’t just looking for a list of key skills — they want to imagine the person behind them. Choose language that conveys enthusiasm, drive, and work motivation , like “I’ve always been passionate about problem-solving and teamwork” or “I immediately connected with your company’s vision and commitment to sustainability.” 

4. Describe your past performance

Your successes in previous roles are the best predictor of the meaningful work you’ll accomplish in the next one — even if you’re moving to a new industry. Focus on accomplishments that demonstrate flexibility and a learning mindset to help the hiring manager envision a successful transition. You need to make the most out of your letter of interest , portfolio , and resume, so put the highlights on your resume and tell the story in your cover letter. 

For instance: “I oversaw a project to automate sales tracking systems, working with our tech team to evaluate the best strategies for the sales department. The project improved efficiency by 25% and decreased overhead costs by 15%.” 

Metrics quantify the value of your growth mindset and show off important skills like team collaboration , project management , and adaptability. 

5. Align your skills with the job description

Even if you’re at the height of your career, a hiring manager needs to know you can bridge the gap between your current role and the new position. Pay careful attention to the soft and hard skills they mention in the job posting and work them into your career transition cover letter. Don’t embellish for the sake of standing out, but do highlight the skills you can back up with valuable, direct experience. 

6. Write a memorable closing

Your closing is your opportunity to reiterate your excitement about the job opening. Adjectives like “eager,” “excited,” and “thrilled” demonstrate you’re ready to hit the ground running. 

Additionally, your cover letter for switching careers should invite further dialogue with a call to action. For example: “I’m eager to learn more about the role and look forward to sharing how I can bring my unique perspective and years of experience in [industry] to your organization.” 


Before digging into your resume or cover letter, a potential employer may peruse your job application or LinkedIn profile to understand your value as a candidate. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to turn a list of skills and experiences into a well-rounded picture of your character. 

The best cover letters balance highlighting your unique personality and perspective with proving you have what it takes to fill the job description. While your letter should represent you, you don’t have to start from scratch. Instead, build your own using a basic structure and templates for inspiration. You can also ask ChatGPT to generate a first draft for you with strategic prompts .

Here’s a general career change cover letter sample to consider:

Dear [hiring manager’s name], 

Thank you for considering my application for [ prospective job title] at [company name]. 

I’ve spent the last [years of experience] learning the ins and outs of [current industry], where I currently work as a [most recent job title]. I gravitated toward [industry] because of my passion for [the factors that pushed you to your current career]. The most fulfilling part of my career has been [transferable skills relevant to the new job posting]. I’ve built my expertise around [relevant skills], which were instrumental in accomplishing [a notable achievement or project]. 

I’m excited to transition into a new career chapter and follow my calling in [new field]. Reading about your company, I immediately connected with [core value]. I’m thrilled by the prospect of contributing [your vision or skills] and am eager to apply my unique perspective as a [current job title] in a new context. 

Attached is my resume. I’m eager to learn more about the company and how my background aligns with your needs.

I look forward to the opportunity to continue the conversation. 


[Your name]

When changing careers, you may feel worried about potential red flags in your resume, like career gaps or lack of direct experience . While your technical abilities are important, many recruiters and hiring managers prioritize soft skills , like leadership, critical thinking, and communication. Here’s a cover letter that balances proven soft skills and highlights your excitement to fill the gaps: 

Thank you for the opportunity to apply for [prospective job title] at [company name]. While I’ve developed my career in [industry], my enthusiasm for [relevant interest] combined with my proven [relevant transferable skills] has prepared me for this career path. 

Over the last [years of experience], I’ve cultivated a solid foundation in [relevant skills], which mirror the dynamic demands of [new industry]. 

I’m attracted to [new industry] because of [your interest or inspiration to switch to a new field]. The [specific aspect of your new field] that [company name] embodies deeply resonates with my personal values and professional aspirations. I’ve spent the last [months or years] learning [valuable technical skills or industry knowledge] through [examples of learning experiences, such as a class, seminar, or networking opportunity]. 

Attached is my resume, which underscores my transferable skills and [relevant coursework or certifications]. 

I’m confident that my adaptability, dedication to quality work, and passion for learning position me to hit the ground running and become a strong asset to your team. I look forward to discussing how my excitement and skill set align with your objectives. 

8 tips to write a successful career change cover letter 


Now that you have some cover letter examples for changing careers, let’s get into the fine print. Here are eight tips to help your career change cover letter lead to an interview: 

  • Address the letter to the right person: General salutations — like “Dear hiring manager” — may give the impression you’re copying and pasting the same cover letter across several job postings. Likewise, it signals to the reader that you lacked the initiative and dedication to find out more about the role and the hiring team beyond what’s in a brief job posting. Take the time to learn the hiring manager's name and use it to kick off communications. 
  • Keep things short: The objective of your cover letter is to spark a hiring manager’s interest and encourage them to read your resume . Keep your cover letter to a few well-curated paragraphs that balance your unique value with the requisites for the job role. 
  • Research, research, research: The company’s website, social media, and other branded materials can provide insight into the organization’s mission and core values. Aligning your vision with the company’s is a great way to capture a hiring manager’s attention and let them know you fit the company culture .
  • Explain your reasons for changing careers: The courage to take a chance on yourself and switch careers speaks volumes about your character. It’s nothing to shy away from. Highlight the reasons you decided to make the difficult career decision —  your resilience, fortitude, and decisiveness can provide a competitive advantage over more traditional candidates. 
  • Mention new skills: Highlight how you’ve learned about your new industry, acquired technical skills, and prepared for the career switch. Whether it’s a one-day seminar or several months with a career coach , your drive for personal and professional development helps make your case for a smooth transition into a new industry. 
  • Source references: Having a list of professional references and their contact information ready to send to a hiring manager is always a good idea. Carefully choose colleagues who can speak to your passion for your new industry and ability to adapt to change.
  • Align all your communications: Consistency and clarity are important to hiring managers. When your LinkedIn profile, letter of intent , and resume have mismatched skills and work experience, the person reading them may pass you over for a candidate with a profile that’s easier to understand and imagine in the role. Double-check that all your information is up-to-date and consistent across all platforms and lines of communication. 
  • Proofread : An enthralling story about your decision to dive into a new field can be thwarted by a misspelled word or poorly placed comma. Spelling and grammar errors can jeopardize your chances of an interview — hiring managers may worry that a lack of attention to detail could show up in more important areas of your work performance. If you’re not a natural copy editor, double-check your work with a proofreading app like Grammarly.

Learning to navigate career changes 

A career change is a big life decision , no matter where you are in your professional journey. After you’ve settled into your niche, shaking things up at 30, changing careers at 40 or following a new calling in your 50s might feel increasingly overwhelming. 

But it’s never too late to embrace change. Your professional life occupies a big part of your time, energy, and personal identity. You deserve to feel fulfilled — even if that means choosing a road less traveled. Carefully crafting a cover letter for a career change is an effective way to capture a hiring manager's attention from the jump and move one step closer to an exciting new opportunity. 

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Elizabeth Perry, ACC

Elizabeth Perry is a Coach Community Manager at BetterUp. She uses strategic engagement strategies to cultivate a learning community across a global network of Coaches through in-person and virtual experiences, technology-enabled platforms, and strategic coaching industry partnerships. With over 3 years of coaching experience and a certification in transformative leadership and life coaching from Sofia University, Elizabeth leverages transpersonal psychology expertise to help coaches and clients gain awareness of their behavioral and thought patterns, discover their purpose and passions, and elevate their potential. She is a lifelong student of psychology, personal growth, and human potential as well as an ICF-certified ACC transpersonal life and leadership Coach.

What is gig work and does it make the dream work?

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Young smiling woman sits at computer writing a career change cover letter

How To Write the Best Career Change Cover Letter

CareerFoundry contributor Dr. Anneke Schmidt

Switching careers can feel like embarking on a journey into uncharted territory — this is particularly true in the tech industry , where a career change often means navigating an entirely different set of digital tools, work processes, responsibilities, and skills. 

You may have prepared yourself for the challenges ahead, furthered your education, and even identified job postings you believe to be a great fit. But without an excellent career change cover letter, your new professional journey could be stalled before it even begins!

Hiring managers only look at resumes for seven seconds before deciding whether to proceed with the application. So, your cover letter has to make an immediate and lasting impression. 

To help you land the job you’ve been dreaming of, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on career change cover letters.

Here are the topics we’ll explore —feel free to skip around to the sections that interest you most:

  • What makes it a career change cover letter?
  • How to write a career change cover letter in 8 steps

Career change cover letter example: UX design

  • Career change cover letter example: Frontend development
  • Key takeaways

1. What makes it a career change cover letter?

Before we look at the format and structure of the cover letter, let’s clarify something: it may seem obvious, but what distinguishes traditional cover letters from those written by career changers?

The key difference lies in the way you present yourself and the story you tell. A career change cover letter must demonstrate three main things:

  • Your understanding of the job and industry,
  • your existing skills and experience, and
  • how those can be applied to the new position.

This can be done in several ways, but the most effective cover letters strike a balance between emphasizing transferable skills , demonstrating adaptability, and highlighting your motivation for the career transition. 

Unlike traditional cover letters, they can also address potential concerns about your experience, showcasing your ability to transcend the boundaries of one professional field and excel in another.

2. How to write a career change cover letter in 8 steps

Writing winning cover letters is an art that requires practice, and career-change-specific cover letters are even trickier to tackle. But thankfully, you can follow a few best practices to create a compelling document that will make it easier for potential employers to imagine you in the new role.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of writing an effective cover letter for your career switch, from the opening line to the closing paragraph. So, grab a pen or open up your favorite word processor and write that first draft using the following tips:

1. Address the right person

To avoid using the impersonal salutation, “Dear hiring manager,” take the time to research who will be reading your cover letter. 

If the job ad doesn’t include a name, try searching for the company’s website or LinkedIn page and go to the employees’ section to track down the right person and job title. For example, if you’re applying for a UX designer role , search for “Director of UX Design,” “Creative Director,” or similar.

2. Introduce yourself with a hook

Begin your cover letter with an engaging opening that captures the reader’s attention. 

This could be a statement of your intent, a specific project you’ve recently completed, or a personal connection to the industry that demonstrates your passion and motivation for the career switch. This will set you apart from other candidates and create a memorable first impression.

3. Explain why you’re changing careers

To address your career change head-on, provide a clear rationale for the shift by sharing your personal career change story. For example, you could highlight your enthusiasm for the new field, noting what attracted you to it and any relevant experiences or interests supporting your decision. 

Then, use the power of personal branding to infuse the letter with your unique voice, personality, and vision, focusing on the value you can bring to the new sector. This transparency shows employers you’ve thoughtfully considered the move.

4. Demonstrate understanding of the company

Demonstrate your genuine interest in the organization by showing that you’ve thoroughly researched the company. You can achieve this by discussing its mission statement, values, and recent accomplishments. 

Align your skills, background, and career goals with the company’s objectives to showcase your potential fit within its corporate culture. Doing so will convey your enthusiasm for the role and the organization, increasing your chances of standing out as a suitable candidate.

5. Detail why you’re a great match

A personalized cover letter should also explain why you’re a strong candidate for the position in question. This means identifying the unique qualities that set you apart from other candidates, whether that’s your adaptability, problem-solving abilities, or valuable soft skills that can be applied across various industries. 

Use real-world examples to demonstrate how your skills and past experiences align with the job requirements, and mention how these traits can benefit the company in the long run.

6. Showcase transferable skills

One of the key objectives of your career change cover letter is to demonstrate your value to potential employers in your new field. To do this effectively, pinpoint the skills you’ve acquired in your previous career that are transferable to the new role. 

Use specific examples to illustrate how you’ve applied these skills in different contexts and how they are relevant to your new position. By showcasing your relevant skills and experience, you can effectively demonstrate to employers that you have what it takes to excel in your new career path.

7. Mention relevant professional development

List any skills and knowledge you’ve gained through relevant courses, certifications, or training to showcase your commitment to learning and willingness to invest in your career transition. 

This will set you apart from other aspiring career changers, prove your enthusiasm for the role and help paint a picture of what you can bring to the new position. Doing due diligence upfront will make it easier for potential employers to imagine you in the new role and increase the chances of securing an interview.

8. Conclude on a positive note

When concluding your career change cover letter, it’s essential to end it enthusiastically. For example, name one way you can add value to the company and link it to your overall career vision. 

Finally, thank the hiring manager for considering your application and express your excitement about joining the team. Doing so will show you’re committed to the role and motivated to make a success of your career transition.

3. Career change cover letters example

Want to see cover letter examples that nail these key points? Check out these two samples, written specifically for career changers in the tech sector. Best practice for the email subject line? Put the job title from the job ad along with your full name. 

ux design cover letter template

Career change cover letter: Frontend development

frontend development cover letter template

4. Key takeaways

Writing a convincing cover letter that highlights your skills for a role you’re hoping to transition into is an essential step in the job application process. 

A thoughtfully crafted career change cover letter can be the reason why employers take a second look at your resume, despite your limited experience in the new field.

In this article, we’ve gone through the basics of what makes a career change cover letter unique and how to write one tailored to your experience and goals. We’ve also looked at practical tips for structuring your letter and provided examples for your inspiration. 

We hope this guide will give you the confidence to write a standout cover letter and put your best foot forward when applying for jobs.

Looking for more tech-specific application support? Check out our practical guide to crafting the best tech resume , complete with valuable tips and real-world examples.

For further education support on your career change journey, try our free tech short courses ,  or speak directly with a program advisor.

With the help of expert instructors, personalized feedback, and a wealth of learning resources, you’ll soon be ready to tackle even the most complex challenges future employers might throw at you. 

Enjoyed this blog post? We think you’ll like these, too:

  • How To Successfully Change Careers in 2024: Your Step-by-Step Guide
  • The Top 5 Transferable Skills and How They Can Help You
  • How to Build a Personal Brand for Your Tech Career
  • Cover Letter Tips

How To Write the Best Career Change Cover Letter (+ Examples) 

Charlotte Grainger

So, you want to try something completely new? When you’re thinking about a career change, your cover letter is an essential tool. Your resume will tell the hiring manager about your experience, but you’ll use the cover letter to fill in the blanks.

Frankly, when you're changing careers, you have to work just a bit harder than any other applicants with a more intuitive work history. That means showing that the experience you have is an asset and that it can be transferred to this new role. Luckily, you can do all of this (and more!) by writing a well-thought-out career change cover letter. 

A career change cover letter is an opportunity to start a conversation to explain exactly why you're applying for a job outside of your current field. Get this right, and you will convince any hiring manager that you’re the best candidate for the job. But how do you get started?

Here at ZipJob, we give you the resources you need to supercharge your job search. In the following guide, we’ll share seven tips from our professional resume writers on how to write the best career change cover letter. We've also got a career change cover letter example for you to check out.

More common than you might think

First, a word of encouragement: In our fast-paced and rapidly changing economy, people are changing careers at rates that would have been unthinkable just a few short generations ago. In fact, recent statistics show that people have an average of 12 jobs in their lifetime. 

That can create problems for many applicants, however, and you may not be sure how you can use your resume to properly convey the right experience needed for your new career. The good news is that you can take care of that concern by using that other vital application tool: the cover letter.

7 tips for your career change cover letter

Ready to put pen to paper? When you're writing a career change cover letter, it's important to stay on task. This isn't the place to write a heart-to-heart that reads more like a journal entry than a professional document. Instead, focus on what makes you a great applicant. 

To help you along the way, we have some expert-backed tips below:

1. Make sure you use the right words

Changing careers is a big deal. While your resume will have covered your skills and experience, you can use this letter to really sell yourself to the hiring manager. What you lack in experience, you may be able to make up for in the willingness to learn.

While you can use your cover letter to explain why you want a new career, it doesn’t start and end there. This is also an opportunity to share why you are ready to switch things up. With that in mind, use words that excite the hiring manager and show your desire to work in your chosen field. The more creative you are with the language you use, the better here.

2. Be honest about your career change

The biggest mistake you could make here is trying to sneak your way into a new sector. The hiring manager already has your resume, so they know that you don’t have experience in this field. You should never try to bamboozle them into interviewing you on the basis of faux experience. Even if you do make it to the interview level, you will soon get found out. 

Instead, you need to be 100% honest about your career change. Direct your cover letter to the hiring manager and be clear about why you are switching industries. For example, you may have reached the highest heights in your current sector and feel it’s time for a change. On the other hand, you may have a real passion for this new field and want to pursue it. 

Whatever your reason is, now is the time to talk about it. You don’t need to write a short memoir. The hiring manager will ask you more in-depth questions at the interview stage. However, it’s smart to outline your reasoning here so that you fill in the blanks. State that you are looking to move sectors and try to give a compelling reason to the reader now.

3. Emphasize your transferable skills

When you’re writing a career change cover letter, this is vital. Transferable skills are your current talents that would help you succeed in a different position. These skills are often soft skills but may also be technical or analytical skills from your previous profession. Identify what your strengths are. How might those help you in another industry?

You can also approach this from the other side by spending some time analyzing the company’s needs. Look at the job description, the company website, and recent media coverage to identify the core skills that this company requires. Once you’ve honed in on those needs, you can determine which of your skills can help to make you a great candidate for the job.

Of course, you should heavily feature your transferable skills on your resume. Once you've noted them, you can offer more of an explanation in your cover letter about how each skill will apply to this new job. 

Emphasize your relevant skills within the body of the career change cover letter too. That means including specific examples of how they have helped you to achieve certain results and goals in the past. Show the hiring manager what you have to bring to the table. You can do this by identifying the overlap between your two fields and highlighting it clearly. Be brief, but be sure to answer why you're applying and why you're worth interviewing.

Key Takeaway

The key to a career change cover letter is to identify and highlight related and transferable skills.

4. Focus on your results

Results matter more than you think. The number one thing that will push you ahead of your competition are fantastic accomplishments on your resume . Your accomplishments are still valid, even when changing careers: awards, honors, and other results that show you're a high-achieving employee will make you look like a winner. 

Your career change cover letter gives you a chance to explain why it's so impressive that you accomplished something. Try to figure out numbers or metrics – these really stand out on resumes and cover letters. Quantifying your results will show the hiring manager that your hard work achieves big things. This fact will surely grab their attention. 

To showcase those results, you need to emphasize the success that you’ve enjoyed in prior jobs, providing details that help to connect those successes to your transferable skills. From there, you only need to complete the picture by explaining how your prior achievements and transferable skills can offer tangible benefits to the new company.

Always use the STAR method

Showcasing your results and quantifying them doesn’t have to be hard. Make your statements stand out by using the STAR method throughout your cover letter. 

5. Demonstrate genuine passion

Let your passion for the company be on full display so that the hiring manager knows you care about getting the position. Mention something new or interesting the company has accomplished, or relate to the company's core values. You can add your personality to your cover letter – as long as it stays relevant!

Take the time to do your homework so that you have a firm understanding of what the company does and how it hopes to achieve its goal. It’s also worth trying to understand the company culture ahead of time. That will enable you to properly convey your passion for the position in the body of your cover letter. In short, figure out what the vibe is and match it.

6. Tailor your resume to reflect your career change goals

If this is your first time creating a career change cover letter, be sure to review your resume when you’re done so that everything is properly coordinated. It all needs to match up. You don’t want any inconsistencies between those two important documents: your cover letter should only talk about experiences that are also mentioned on your resume.

To keep your message clear, make any resume changes that are needed to keep it aligned with the message on your cover letter. Remember, it’s the little things that often make the difference between success and failure. 

If your resume isn't tailored for your career transition goals, check out this article next: How To Tailor Your Resume For Different Positions

7. End with a strong conclusion 

When you’ve done all of the above, it’s time to sign off. The end of your cover letter is a good chance to reaffirm why you want to take this step. You may also want to add that you will help the business in question meet its goals. One of the more critical things you can do with your career change cover letter is insert some type of call to action – encouraging the reader to reach out to you. 

Remember, the hiring manager will naturally slow their reading pace down as they reach the bottom of the page. For that reason, it is vital that you end on a strong and clear note.

Career change cover letter example

Changing Careers Cover Letter Example

This example is to the point and easy to scan through. It has several examples of how the applicant has added value in the past, using numbers that are easy for the reader to translate to a different industry.

Notice also that this letter – like all good cover letters – includes a professional heading and uses a business letter format. It is highly specific, a quick but clear message that you've put some thought into tailoring your cover letter. 

The letter does not use a generic "to whom it may concern" greeting; ideally, you can find the name of the hiring manager. When in doubt, addressing your letter to a "hiring team" is a good alternative.

The heading with your own information was borrowed from the updated resume format we used to share 200+ resume examples written by our professional resume writers. Using the same format for your resume and cover letter is another instance of details that stand out.

Focus on value; win the day 

As you can see, the cover letter for a career change is similar to many others. You still want to focus on the value you can add to the company. By emphasizing your transferable skills, focusing on past achievements, and demonstrating your interest in the new company, you should be able to leverage your existing skill set in a way that sets you apart from the crowd.

Ready to take the leap and start that new career? Use the ZipJob free resume review now to get the insights that you need to perfect your next application and get ahead of the competition. 

Recommended reading: 

9 Cover Letter Mistakes That Cost You Interviews - ZipJob

7 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Job

How to Ask for a Job Referral + 5 Examples

Charlotte Grainger, Editor & Content Writer, Charlotte Grainger, Editor & Content Writer

Charlotte Grainger is a freelance writer living and working in Sheffield, UK. She has a passion for career development and loves sharing tips and advice. Follow her on Twitter

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5 Career Change Cover Letter Examples Made for 2024

Stephen Greet

  • Career Change Cover Letter
  • Career Change No Experience
  • HR Career Change
  • Teacher Career Change
  • RN Career Change Cover Letter
  • Write Your Career Change Cover Letter

Switching careers can be equal parts exciting and daunting. You’re stepping into a whole new path, facing unknown challenges, and rebuilding your personal brand from scratch. There’s a lot at stake here, and to fight this battle and come out on top, you need to pick the right set of weapons.

Step one: a stellar  career change resume  tailored to match the job. Step two, however, is more challenging because you must write a cover letter to wow recruiters and express your excitement at a career change and for the company.

We’re here to help you navigate these murky waters and set the course for the career of your dreams. Our career change  cover letter examples  and free cover letter builder will help you craft a memorable job application.

cover letter to transition career

Career Change Cover Letter Example


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career change cover letter template

Why this cover letter works

  • For instance, this cover letter points to ways the candidate took initiative to connect sales and marketing. This evidences both interest and experience in the target role.

Pair Your Cover Letter with a Matching Career Change Resume

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Matching career change resume with 9 years of sales experience

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Career Change No Experience Cover Letter Example

Career change no experience cover letter template

  • Take, for instance, how Aria tells the story of her expertise—meticulous data analysis, project management, and problem-solving and convincingly discusses how these can be valuable assets for the new role. So, extract and communicate those transferable skills.

Human Resources Career Change Cover Letter Example

Human resources career change cover letter template

  • Such competencies demonstrate that although it’s a career change, you aren’t a stranger to the environment. If the past stints involved the hiring company’s competitor, emphasize that for bonus familiarity points.

Teacher Career Change Cover Letter Example

Teacher career change cover letter template

  • If you’ve earned professional certifications that don’t match your current role but align with your target career, your cover letter is the place to highlight them.

Registered Nurse (RN) Career Change Cover Letter Example

Registered Nurse (RN) career change cover letter template

  • Look for unlikely connections between your work experience and target role, then put the pieces together for recruiters in your cover letter.

Related cover letter examples

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How to Write a Fantastic Career Change Cover Letter

Job seeker stands with hands in air, questioning how to fill out job materials

You may think that you’re at a disadvantage when you’re applying outside of your previous career, but when it comes to cover letters, that’s not true. Treat this as an excellent opportunity to be creative and stand out from the crowd.

Here’s the trick: give that job description a good read, then whip your cover letter into shape to mirror it. Try to decipher the company’s core values, be it from the job listing or from its website, and highlight that this mission is important to you too. 

Pinpoint similarities across your past and future roles for this. For instance, if you’re switching from teaching to programming, emphasize your ability to explain complex topics to all kinds of audiences.

cover letter to transition career

Writing a winning cover letter intro

The perfect cover letter begins with a personalized greeting that addresses the hiring manager by name. However, if you absolutely cannot find the recipient (try LinkedIn), you can use “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear [Company Name] Team.” Refrain from using “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam,” as those can be a little outdated by today’s standards.

Avoid generic starters and instead showcase why your past experience is valuable. For instance, if you previously worked in sales and you’re moving to customer service, highlight your ability to forge lasting relationships with clients.

Check out this example of what not to do below. This opening line is definitely on the uninteresting side—the hiring manager might skim your cover letter if it lacks a proper hook.

No, thank you!

“I am writing to apply for the project manager position I saw on your website. I believe this role is a great fit for me.”

Now, the example below is a huge improvement. The applicant immediately makes it clear that they used to have a different career, but they use this to their advantage by highlighting how their background in working with people can have a deep impact on their new career.

Hooked from the start!

I was inspired to transition my career from nursing into sales when I discovered the impact I could make by connecting people with the right product solutions. I am eager to bring my RN background, where relationship-building is paramount, and my skill set in sales forecasting to American Express as a sales manager.

cover letter to transition career

Writing the main part of your cover letter

Roll up your sleeves because we’re diving into the main part of your cover letter—the body. Use this space as an extension of your resume that elaborates on your skills and the way they can make an impact on the company. 

Find common ground and share some of your greatest achievements that translate well to your new role. For example, if you’re a marketer transitioning into sales, discuss how spearheading a social media campaign increased your company’s revenue by 18%. 

Use metrics to support your accomplishments. Things like revenue, ROI, click-through rates, open rates, customer satisfaction ratings, budget savings, or efficiency improvements all apply to most industries. Much like in the intro, connect your background to match the company.

Here’s a body paragraph for inspiration:

In addition to teaching high school math, I have taught myself web and mobile development, database management, and the version control system Git. I am certified in AWS and Google Cloud, and built an educational app that streamlined school communication, improving homework submission rates by 23%.

cover letter to transition career

Ending your cover letter on a strong note

The closing paragraph is the ribbon that you tie on top of a cohesive whole. It serves to reinforce the sentiments you talked about above—but without repeating yourself.

Emphasize your excitement at joining this particular company, and make sure to mention it by name. Pick one or two of your core skills or qualifications and flex a little—express how you will use these abilities to achieve positive outcomes at your new company.

You’re changing industries, so own it, and explain how, for instance, your knowledge of math can help you write complex code.

Lastly, thank the hiring manager for their consideration—you can do this either in the closing paragraph or in your final sign-off. Dot your i’s and cross your t’s with a respectful “Sincerely, [Your Name].”

It’s important to keep this final part respectful. Don’t assume you’ll be hired—instead of showing confidence, it can come off as presumptuous.

“I’m not experienced but I’m a quick learner, so I can’t wait to start growing my career at your company next month.”

This next example has it all—it reiterates your interest in the role, talks about transferable skills, and thanks the recruiter for taking the time to read your cover letter.

This is the way!

I would be thrilled to meet and discuss how my transition from sales to marketing can drive impactful strategies at Comcast. Thank you for considering my application.

When transitioning careers, it’s important to build credibility out of the gate by addressing the right person. Check the job listing and the company website. If that fails, try identifying the hiring manager via LinkedIn.

If all else fails, talk mostly about your education and preparation for the career change, but there are skills that apply to most jobs, too. For instance, working as a programmer and a travel agent means dealing with data and interacting with people.

While you may rely on transferable skills you used in nursing in your future sales role, avoid assuming this new job will have a similar company culture as your last one. Instead, adjust your tone to match the company. For instance, if the job ad and the website are written with humor, you can afford to crack a small joke or write less formally.

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Sample Career Change Cover Letter and Writing Tips

cover letter to transition career

  • Writing a Career Change Cover Letter

Career Change Cover Letter Sample

How to send an email cover letter.

  • Refocus Your Resume to Match

The Balance / Chelsea Damraksa

Are you considering a career change? If you are looking for a position in a different industry or career field, your cover letter or  letter of intent  is an important factor in the likelihood of your getting the job.

Since your resume may not contain the relevant experience that hiring managers are looking for, it's important to use your cover letter as an opportunity to demonstrate why you are a good fit despite lacking that specific employment history.

A well-written and strong cover letter will convince the reader that your work experience is a strength rather than a weakness.

Before you start writing, though, be sure you're clear on your goals for transitioning careers and that you're  positioned for a successful career change job search .

Tips for Writing a Career Change Cover Letter

Any good cover letter explains why you are qualified for the specific job. However, a cover letter written during a  career change  needs to go beyond that.

Be sure to thoroughly  research the company  before writing your cover letter so you can convince the employer that you understand the company and can demonstrate why you want to be a part of it.

You must touch on three important points. This will help you rise above candidates who have more direct experience in the industry. You don’t necessarily have to cover all of these topics in order or in distinct paragraphs. The aim is to make sure you communicate these points somewhere in your letter.

1. Emphasize Your Transferable Skills

Most importantly, focus on the  transferable skills  you have that you can use in the new position rather than on the skills you have that are only related to your current role. Analyze the job description for the position you’re applying to, and look at the skills that the position calls for.

Choose the  ones that best match your own skills or experience . Then, if possible, use specific anecdotes from your work or academic history to illustrate some of these strengths in action. 

2. Highlight Your Superior Performance in Previous Positions

Other applicants may have the relevant experience, but if their experience is mediocre and cannot be backed up by strong references or tangible achievements, you may actually be a more desirable candidate for the job than they are.

In your letter, do your best to explain how you succeeded in previous roles, and connect that to a summary of how you would also add value in this new position.

Make sure your references will corroborate your statements.

3. Express Your Passion for the Company

Mention your passion for the company. This is another way to stand out from qualified candidates. Employers may be more interested in someone who is especially excited about their organization and the job opportunity than they are in someone who just wants a job and doesn’t care about much beyond that. In your cover letter, make it clear that you’re familiar with the organization and enthusiastic about the opportunity to be a part of it.

Read the sample cover letter below, which you can use as a framework for writing your own career change cover letter. However, be sure to edit the sample to fit your personal experiences and the job for which you are applying.

Download the career change cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online).

Sample Career Change Cover Letter (Text Version)

William Applicant 123 Main Street Anytown, CA 12345 111-111-1111 william.applicant@email.com

July 21, 2020

Michael Lee Director XYZ Company 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321 

Dear Ms. Lee:

This letter is to express my special interest in discussing the Senior Customer Service Manager position posted on the XYZ Company web site. The opportunity presented in this listing is very appealing, and I believe that my experience and education will make me a competitive candidate for this role.

Although I have been working primarily as an Operations Manager, in this capacity I have interfaced frequently with customers, in addition to vendors and staff. This has instilled multi-dimensional communication skills and an ability to recognize, act upon, and fulfill customer wishes and needs in order to ensure their continued, and positive, relationship with the business.

In fact, in my most recent job as Operations Manager for ABC Company, I received an ‘Excellence in Customer Service’ recognition due to my ability to coordinate complex logistics in order to keep customers happy even when issues arose that were beyond the control of the organization. Again, this involved not only managing operations but also communicating directly with customers. As a result, I believe my combined ability to successfully manage operations while also effectively interfacing with customers makes me a prime candidate for this role.

The key strengths that I possess for success in this position include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Provide exceptional contributions to customer service for all customers. 
  • Strive for continued excellence.
  • Strong communication skills.
  • Eager to learn new things.

You will find me to be well-spoken, energetic, confident, and personable, the type of person on whom your customers will rely. I also have a wide breadth of experience of the type that will allow you the versatility to place me in a number of contexts with confidence that the level of excellence you expect will be met. Please see my resume for additional information on my experience.

I hope that you'll find my experience and interests intriguing enough to warrant a face-to-face meeting, as I am confident that I could provide value to you and your customers as a member of your team. I am very excited about this opportunity to work for XYZ Company. I connect with your mission to “deliver the ‘five star’ factor” to both your staff and your customers. This tenet is reflected in my own professional and personal values, and I believe this alignment strongly supports my candidacy for this role.

I can be reached anytime via my cell phone, 555-555-5555. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this employment opportunity.

William Applicant (signature hard copy letter)

William Applicant

If you're sending your  cover letter via email,  list your name and the job title in the subject line of the  email message . Include your contact information in your email signature, but don't list the employer's contact information. Simply start your email message with the salutation.

Refocus Your Resume to Reflect Your New Goals

When you're seeking a career change, it's important to refocus your resume to reflect your new goals. That way, your resume and cover letter will both show that you're well qualified for a change in roles. Here are six tips for  writing a powerful career change resume  that will help you get started.

Get Ready to Interview

Be prepared, as well, to discuss in job interviews why you're transitioning and what  skills you will bring to prospective employers . It's important to have a comprehensive and professional pitch that will impress the employer and convince them that you're a strong candidate for the job.

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How to Write a Career Change Cover Letter in 7 Steps (+3 Cover Letter Examples)

  • Julia Mlcuchova , 
  • Updated April 17, 2024 14 min read

How do you write a career change cover letter ? You write it well, of course! After all, the cover letter can make or break your chances at successfully completing a career switch. 

Not that career change is easy to begin with. It can often feel like trying to make your way through an obstacle course — no matter where you turn, new challenges just keep popping out of nowhere. And yet, a staggering 58% of workers are thinking about changing careers , according to a FlexJobs survey .

But inevitably, there comes a moment when you'll need to justify your choice to a new employer and prove that you're more than well-equipped to handle the new responsibilities.  

And what better way to do that than via a cover letter! 

So, if you want to change careers this year, keep reading to discover:

  • What is a cover letter;
  • Whether you should write a cover letter for career change;
  • How to write a cover letter for a career change in just 7 steps;
  • And, 3 career change cover letter examples.

Table of Contents

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What is a cover letter?

Should you write a cover letter for career change, how to write a cover letter for a career change in 7 steps, career change cover letter examples, key takeaways: career change cover letter.

A cover letter is a formal document which, together with a resume, makes up the core of any well-rounded job application. 

It serves as the first point of contact between you and the recruiters. And for that reason, it's responsible for making the first impression (good or bad).

Unlike a resume, a cover letter allows you to:

  • share a bit of your personality, 
  • provide context for your background, 
  • and present your career aspirations. 

It's your chance to make a compelling case for why you should be considered for the role, beyond just the bullet points on your resume. 

Yes, you absolutely should!

Let us explain: A resume is great for presenting the numbers and objective facts. But it doesn't offer you much space for creating a compelling narrative . 

When you're applying for a job as a career changer , you're already at a disadvantage - you're missing one of the crucial ingredients for the ideal job candidate.

An average recruiter needs only 6 seconds to look at your resume and recognize your lack of experience as a problem. And that's reason enough to move your application from the list of potential candidates to the bin.  

But it's all about perspective. And perspectives can change based on how you frame it — is your career change really a shortcoming? Or is it a testimony to your passion, dedication, and willingness to leave the comforts of your old job for a new one? 

Changing careers but don't feel like writing your cover letter?

Let our AI Cover Letter Writer handle it for you. Your first draft will be ready in seconds!

Although there isn't any definitive or universal manual on how to write the perfect career change cover letter, following these 7 steps will allow you to craft one which hits all the marks that matter.

Place your contact information ( including: your name; professional email address; phone number; link to your web page/portfolio/social media accounts if relevant) in the top section of your cover letter.

If you can find the name of the hiring manager, simply greet them with “Dear [full name],” or “Dear Mrs/Mr [last name],” . If not, you can address the letter more generally to “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “Dear Recruitment Office,” .

Capture the hiring manager's attention by making your goals and motivation for the new job position known. For example, you can share a personal story or an anecdote that shows your passion for the job in a unique way. 

Despite any possible discomfort, you have to be transparent about the fact that you don't have any previous work experience in the given job position. Any attempt at camouflaging could reflect badly on your professionalism and integrity. 

You must prove that despite not having previous work experience in this particular position, you're still able to handle the responsibilities and duties that define it. For this purpose, use transferable skills that you've picked up in your former profession, during volunteering, through courses, or thanks to your lifelong interest in the job position.

Additionally, establish a sentimental connection between yourself and the potential employer. You can reference, for example, the company's mission, values, recent projects, or any charities/non-profit organization the company promotes.

Finally, in the closing statement you should: 1. Reiterate your desire to work for the company, 2. Thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration, 3. Include a call for action, 4. Sign off professionally.

Now, we'll look at each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Start with your contact information

First of all, you need to deal with the basic conventions. After all, a cover letter is still a formal letter, though in digital form. And every formal letter needs to contain details about its sender. 

These include:

  • professional email address,
  • current phone number,
  • link to online portfolio/web page/ social media accounts (if relevant) .

Make sure that all your contact information is updated and spelled correctly . This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how easily these small mistakes can creep in. 

Place your contact information at the top of your career change cover letter so that they draw the attention of recruiters immediately. 

Don't forget to also mention the company's contact information or that of its hiring manager. This isn't all that necessary but again…formalities.

Step 2: Open with a polite greeting

If you're lucky, the name of the hiring manager (or recruiter) will be mentioned somewhere in the job posting you're responding to. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. 

But with the power of the internet by your side, this shouldn't be much of a problem. Try to dig up the addressee's name from the company's official website or their LinkedIn profile .

It's always better to address the hiring manager by their name — it helps establish a personal connection between you two. 

But don't overthink it! A simple “Dear [first name] [last name],” or “Dear Mrs/Mr [last name],”  will do just fine. 

In case the hiring manager's name is nowhere to be found, you can use one of these 5 email salutations . 

Step 3: Kick off with a strong introductory paragraph

The purpose of your cover letter's introductory paragraph is to give the reader a little something to make them interested in the rest of your cover letter. 

Normally, you'd try to hook the reader by pointing out that you fulfill the main candidate requirements. Like so:

Opening paragraph example

“As a seasoned professional with a Master’s Degree in Business Economics , I bring four years of comprehensive experience in the finance sector, highlighted by leading a team that successfully increased our portfolio’s annual growth by 20%.”

But since you're switching careers, this formula won't work for you. Instead, you could charm the recruiters with your:

  • motivation,
  • passion, 
  • or purpose. 

These are the cards you need to play when writing a career change cover letter! 

So, don't be afraid to get personal here — share a story that depicts the workings behind your decision to switch careers. Just remember to stay professional! It's a fine line, we know, but you must tread it expertly. 

For example, your introduction could look something like this: 

Opening paragraph for career change cover letter example

“My journey into the world of business finance began unexpectedly, over coffee chats and spreadsheets helping my family’s small business navigate tough financial waters. This experience wasn’t just eye-opening; it became a calling. I realized my knack for numbers and strategic planning could make a real difference beyond the classroom. That’s why I’m thrilled about the opportunity to bring my passion and fresh perspective to [Company Name] as part of your finance team.”

Step 4: Address your career change

And now it's time to acknowledge the elephant in the room!

While it may be tempting to conceal the fact that you're trying to enter a new profession, don't hide it. In the end, it could cause you more harm than good. 

Because the recruiters will know just by taking a single glance at your career change resume . 

Fail to address this, and you're running the risk of giving the impression that you're unprofessional. Or that you're being dishonest. And either of the two can leave a really bad taste. 

So, when writing about your career switch, be upfront, be direct, but don't be apologetic! Remember, you need to persuade the recruiters that you're confident in your abilities.

Step 5: Showcase your potential with transferable skills

Basically, this part of your career change cover letter is all about closing the gap between what you used to do and what you want to do. 

In other words, you must show that you have more to offer besides your unrivaled motivation. 

And the best way to do this is by talking about any relevant transferable skills you've picked up along the way. The keyword being relevant! 

For example, the project manager skills you developed while working in marketing may translate well into leading teams in pretty much any industry. Or the insights into SEO that you've gained as a copywriter can become valuable in your new PR position.

In short, your transferable skills can be anything from hard skills like computer proficiencies , to soft skills like problem-solving , leadership, communication, team management, and so on.  

Besides abilities you've gained from a previous employment, you can also focus on those you've acquired thanks to: 

  • volunteering,
  • lifelong interest in a specific profession,
  • personal projects and ventures,
  • and training/certifications/ courses .

But don't just list them! 

Instead, you need to clearly demonstrate how your new employers would benefit from your skills despite coming from a different background. 

Here's a brief how-to:

  • Firstly, you need to brainstorm about what skills you possess that might be useful in your new job position. 
  • Then, align them with the requirements outlined in the job posting. 
  • Out of the bunch pick 2-3 skills that are essential for succeeding in the new position. 
  • Finally, provide a proof that you have these skills by giving examples of how you utilized them in your previous job (back your claims by quantifiable data if possible).

Transferable skills on a cover letter example

“In my role as a Project Manager, I led a team of 10 in developing and executing a marketing campaign that resulted in a 25% increase in customer engagement over six months. This experience honed my skills in strategic planning , c ross-functional team leadership , and data-driven decision-making . I am excited to apply these skills to the role of [New Position], where I can contribute to [Company’s] success.”

Step 6: Highlight your interest in the company

And don't just say that you want to work for them because they pay more. In fact, don't mention salary at all! 

In this section of your career change cover letter, you need to show your affinity to this particular company that goes beyond mere financial gain. Why them?

But before you jump into it headfirst, do these three things: research, research, and more research! 

Read their website, stalk their social accounts, go through their quarterly reports, pull up any news articles, look at their LinkedIn page — and do all that without reservations. And try to find answers to the following questions:  

  • What is the company culture like?
  • What are the company values/mission?
  • What projects did they work on? 
  • What events did they organize?
  • Do they support any non-profit organizations? 

Let the information you learn be your pointers. And then, all you need to do is try to be as honest as you can. 

For your inspiration, consider this example:

Showing affinity with company example

“I’ve always admired the Neverwas Company for not just what you do, but how you do it—especially your support for the Environment Institution in cleaning up local beaches last summer. It’s this kind of work that inspires me. In my last job, I organized community clean-up events, and I see a lot of overlap in our values. I’m excited about the chance to bring my passion and skills to a team that cares so much about making a difference.”

Step 7: Bow out with a strong closing paragraph

And now, all that's left to do is apply a few finishing touches. 

The final paragraph of your career change cover letter should include: 

  • A reiteration of your desire to work for the company. But only briefly. 
  • An expression of gratitude. Thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration.
  • A call for action. Such as expressing your wish for a personal meeting. 
  • An appropriate sign-off. Depending on how you greeted the recipient of your cover letter, you can sign off with either “Yours sincerely,” or “Best regards,”. If you addressed the recruiter by their name, sign off with the former; if not, use the latter. 

In case you'd like to see how to close the curtain with finesse, these 8 great cover letter endings are just waiting to be read. 

And now, let's put all these steps together and look at 3 complete cover letters, made with our cover letter templates .

#1 Career change cover letter example

This cover letter was written by our experienced resume writers specifically for this profession.

Why does it work?

  • This example does a great job of making the text digestible and easy to follow . Because the last thing you want is to have your cover letter looking cluttered and disorganized. 
  • Another interesting element is the inclusion of bullet points . It’s yet another way of making you cover letter visually distinct.

#2 Career change cover letter example

This cover letter was made using Kickresume templates.

What’s good about this example?

  • The candidate’s contact information stands apart from the rest of the text, making it easy to spot. 
  • Also, this person manages to bridge the gap between marketing and UX design by identifying a principle common for both - customer satisfaction. This motive is then repeated throughout the whole cover letter. 
  • Another thing worth pointing out is the detailed description of the candidate's most relevant achievements .

#3 Career change cover letter example

What can you take away.

  • This cover letter example opens with a bang ! The candidate communicates his passion for the new job load and clear. From his writing, it's obvious that his career change was inspired by a genuine desire to facilitate memorable events for his clients. 
  • Despite the fact that accountancy and event organization have very little in common, Robert was able to draw transferable skills from his volunteering experience . 
  • And, to better illustrate the scope of his skills, Bob provided quantifiable data to bolster his competencies. 

For more cover letter samples, feel free to browse our cover letter database .

To sum it all up, a compelling career change cover letter is your best bet at persuading hiring managers to give you a chance. 

As a career changer, you probably have little to no work experience that directly relates to the profession you want to transition to. That's why you should focus your cover letter on: 

  • your passion and dedication to the job
  • any relevant transferable skills 
  • explaining your reasons for the professional pivot

To craft an effective cover letter that addresses all three themes mentioned above, we recommend following these simple 7 steps:  

  • Start with your contact information
  • Open with a polite greeting
  • Kick off with a strong introductory paragraph
  • Address your career change
  • Showcase your potential with transferable skills
  • Highlight your interest in the company
  • Bow out with closing paragraph

Finally, if you've just started looking into a career change because you're unhappy in your current job but don't know what profession to focus on, feel free to explore how to become:

  • an architect ,
  • a real estate agent ,
  • a psychologist ,
  • a human resources manager ,
  • a chiropractor ,
  • or a Scrum Master .

As a rule, your cover letter shouldnt exceed one page! Anything longer than that and you're risking discouraging the hiring manager from ever reading it. Your cover letter should recount the best parts of your professional life and your motivation, not the whole story.

By far the biggest mistake you can make is NOT customizing your cover letter to fit specific requirements of the job posting you're responding to. Other minor, but no less significant, mistakes include: spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and typos. So make sure you proofread your cover letter before hitting send. 

Although your cover letter is still a formal document, it's also your chance to establish a connection with the recruiter on a personal level. And your tone of voice should reflect both of these realities. Be professional, but not too stiff; confident but not arrogant; friendly, but not too nonchalant.

That depends.You can name-drop your previous employer if you feel like it will give you more professional credit. But don't dwell on this for too long. And never EVER speak badly about your past employer, colleagues, or team. Such behaviour reflects negatively on your professionalism and integrity.

When you're looking for a new job, every moment is precious. That's why you should consider trying an AI tool that helps you create the first draft of your cover letter. Simply enter your most recent job title, press the “Use AI Writer” button and the AI writer will generate a cover letter for you. And the best thing is, you can try it for free .

Julia has recently joined Kickresume as a career writer. From helping people with their English to get admitted to the uni of their dreams to advising them on how to succeed in the job market. It would seem that her career is on a steadfast trajectory. Julia holds a degree in Anglophone studies from Metropolitan University in Prague, where she also resides. Apart from creative writing and languages, she takes a keen interest in literature and theatre.

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cover letter to transition career

Essential Job Search Tips for Nurses

W hether you’re a new graduate or a seasoned nurse looking for a change of scenery, you eventually need to search for a job. Sifting through job advertisements can feel overwhelming, even when using a job board to narrow the listings. And after you find a job, you have to figure out how to apply and get noticed. Luckily, there are several things you can do to simplify the job search process. 

Understanding the Healthcare Job Market

Understanding the healthcare market before searching and applying for any position helps you gain direction. Research by focusing on the physical location you wish to work in and the specialty you’re interested in. The situation can be completely different from one hospital department to the next.

Strategies for learning the healthcare job market include the following:

  • Talking to colleagues already in the healthcare arena can help you understand current openings and positions that may be in the works within their organizations. Network with previous coworkers, classmates, clinical instructors, and even friends of friends.
  • Consider attending continuing education classes and workshops in person, which allows you to meet and network with others.
  • The US Department of Labor releases reports with information on current labor shortages and forecasts needs for the future. They are predicting a major shortage of nurses , which you can use to your advantage in your job search.

Crafting a Standout Resume and Cover Letter

This step is one of the most important in any job search. You need an excellent nursing resume or CV and cover letter to stand out from the crowd (and get through to an interview).

There are three main formats for resume writing: chronological, functional, and combination. 

  • Chronological resumes list positions in order from newest to oldest. These work great for someone with a history of positions in the same field or type of position. Chronological formats also support a long work history.
  • Functional resumes list skills and accomplishments as highlights. These are best for people changing careers or returning to the workforce. 
  • Combination resumes combine the other two types. This format is ideal for nurses, as it allows you to highlight your work experience and specific nursing skills while also listing your experience.   

Below are some important sections to include in your nursing resume:

  • A professional summary : This part is a brief section at the top with your nursing qualifications and years and types of experience.
  • Licenses and certifications : Include your license number (if public), state of licensure, and expiration date. Include nursing certifications such as specialty certifications or skill-based certifications specific to your field.
  • Professional experience : List each job with the position title, employer, location, and dates of employment. Use bullet points to highlight your responsibilities and achievements, emphasizing aspects like patient care, treatment planning, and collaboration with healthcare teams.
  • Education : List your nursing degree(s) and any relevant formal education. Include the degree obtained, the institution, and graduation year.
  • Skills : Highlight specific nursing skills (e.g., wound care, administering medication, patient education) and soft skills (e.g., communication, empathy, problem-solving).
  • Awards and honors : If applicable, mention any recognitions you’ve received in your nursing career.
  • Professional memberships : Include any professional associations or memberships to healthcare or nursing-related organizations.

Tailor your resume as needed to each position you apply for. Adding keywords from the job descriptions can help your resume get through the screening phase and into the right hands.

Many people hire a professional writer to ensure they have the best nursing resume possible. Use a service dedicated to healthcare and nursing professionals, such as Health eCareers resume and CV writing services .

Cover Letter

A cover letter is the perfect place to make a great first impression. Additionally, many organizations have software that scans your cover letter (and resume) for keywords they’ve added to the job description. Don’t use the same cover letter for every application submission. Adjust your writing to meet each unique job posting.

Your cover letter is a business correspondence and needs to be formatted as such:

  • Begin with your name and address as a header. It’s also a good idea to add a phone number and email. Make sure you have a professional email address. 
  • Address the letter to the appropriate person with their name, organization/facility, department, and address.
  • Begin your letter in a business manner, such as Dear [Name of hiring manager] or Dear Hiring Manager, if you don’t have a contact name. Addressing the hiring manager by name is always best practice.
  • In the body of your letter, introduce yourself, describe the position you’re applying for, and provide any pertinent information about how you came upon this job opening.
  • Highlight your skills and qualifications that match the specific job listing. Use keywords from the job posting if they fit your abilities.  
  • Include a short statement about why you want to work for this specific organization. Be enthusiastic in your reasoning.
  • Close with “Sincerely” or “I am looking forward to hearing from you soon,” and sign.

Writing a cover letter can feel daunting but there are plenty of tips out there to help you craft the perfect cover letter .

Leveraging Professional Networks

Finding jobs can be daunting. But remember, there’s a nursing shortage, and employers want to find you. One way to put yourself in a position to be seen by employers is to join and participate in professional nursing associations . Attending conferences and events allows you to network with other professionals. You may even hear about open positions that have yet to be posted publicly.  

Attend events dressed appropriately for an interview, and be prepared with a few copies of your resume in case you have the opportunity to give it to a prospective employer. Carry yourself at all networking events as though you were in an interview. Show your best self!

Considering Various Employment Settings

If you’re looking for a job and struggling, you may be limiting yourself too much. Restricting a nursing job search to only hospital settings prevents you from seeing multiple opportunities with great earning potential. Keep an open mind about work specialty and setting . Opportunities may become available that are outside of a traditional bedside role.

Nurses are needed in many areas:

  • Clinics and physician’s offices
  • Home health care  
  • Long-term care/rehabilitation centers   
  • Schools 
  • Occupational health
  • Public health
  • Hospice care
  • Travel nursing
  • Insurance companies
  • Research and academia
  • Correctional facilities

Preparing for Interviews

After you land a nursing interview , don’t go in unprepared! You have a resume and the appropriate attire, but you need more before heading to an interview. To help you prepare, you can search for popular interview questions and prep your answers ahead of time. 

  • Look up the prospective employers’ organization online.
  • Read their mission statement.
  • Look at all the services the organization or facility offers.
  • Understand their purpose and future plans.
  • Read all the position requirements and consider how you meet them through your previous positions or education.
  • Think of on-the-job examples of how you’ve used the listed required skills.
  • Why did you become a nurse?
  • How do you handle stressful situations?
  • How do you react in an emergency?
  • How do you handle a difficult patient?

Nursing jobs are in demand nationwide. If you’re ready to kick off your nursing job search, Health eCareers has thousands of nursing jobs to explore.

Kate Houck, RN, BSN, is a L&D nurse with over nine years of experience in OB, lactation, school nursing, and pediatrics. She has a passion for taking care of families and helping new nurses be the best they can be.

Essential Job Search Tips for Nurses


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