How do you write a transition cover letter when you want to change careers or jobs?
At some point in your career, you might want to move to another industry or a different type of job that’s more exciting and fulfilling. So, how do you get the attention of a recruiter or a hiring manager when your background is not an exact match for what a job posting says?
Your aim should be to write a cover letter that explains why you’re looking for this shift of career trajectory, and why you would be successful doing so.
There are 3 things to consider to write this type of transition cover letter:
1) Similar Industry
If you worked at three separate nonprofits, then you understand the challenges of those types of organizations. They all partly depend on grants, donations, and volunteers, with different kinds of government reporting requirements.
If you wanted to work for a professional symphony orchestra, it is also a nonprofit organization. Your background with other nonprofits will be more relevant compared to someone who comes from manufacturing or aviation. Your transition cover letter can address some of those similarities.
2) Relevant Job Experience
If you were a Controller in one industry, and your target job is for Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in another industry, there are similarities as they are both executive-level finance roles. If you were in Human Resources, that role is needed in every type of company. You always want to discuss how your particularly functional experience is relevant for your targeted job.
3) Personal Connection with the Mission of the Organization
Your personal life can connect with your professional life in a meaningful way. Maybe that is why you want to make a change.
I had one client who was just out of school and intended to enter into medical research as a career. I asked her why. Both of her grandparents had diabetes, which, of course, also put her more at risk. The funny thing is that she was working at an ice cream manufacturing plant at the time, so there was a big disconnect between her job and her personal and family situation.
If you want to make a big career change, it is up to you to write a transition cover letter that clearly explains your intent and what will make you valuable as an employee. This can be easier said than done, which is why I offer my writing services to create cover letters, resumes, and other professional career documents. I was a recruiter for many years, so I know exactly what they look for in a cover letter!
If you want a more detailed look at how I do this, I invite you to check out this video! In it, I’m going to look a bit closer at the “Professional Symphony Orchestra” example above and how someone with nonprofit experience could be the perfect fit for their Chief Financial Officer.