by Maureen Crawford HentzThe most effective technique career changers can use in their resumes and cover letters is TRANSFERABLE SKILLS, TRANSFERABLE SKILLS, TRANSFERABLE SKILLS. I recently gave a workshop specifically on this topic for career changers at the National Environmental Careers Conference. I was shocked at the number of competent, successful individuals who kept referring to themselves as “totally unqualified for a job in the environment.” These were adults with four to 12 years of experience as managers, editors and engineers.I recommend that career changers (and only career changers) have an objective on their resume. With my clients, I refer to these objectives as TRANSITIVE OBJECTIVES. Transitive objectives are those that help a potential employer understand which skills/experience the applicant thinks are transferable. Transitive objectives usually follow a format similar to these:
To use my —- years of experience as a ——-, —— and——— in an environmentally responsible research non-profit.
Seeking a —————– position that will effectively maximize my experience in ————————.For example, an accountant applying for a research position, could say:
“Seeking a biology research position that will effectively maximize my 10 years of experience as a manager with budget and supervisory responsibility.”
OR:”Seeking a biology research position that will effectively maximize my experience in program and personnel management.”The second strategy I recommend to career changers is to use a competency-based resume [Editor’s note: Also called a functional resume]. I recommend that career changers try to categorize prior jobs and volunteer positions as competencies so that the resume reviewer or potential employer can clearly see the transferable skills and experience.Similarly, I recommend that job seekers address the career-change issue directly in the cover letter. It’s not necessary to self-disclose your long struggle with a job you hate, but rather briefly describe:
- what compels you toward the new field and
- what skills you can offer that are transferable.
I’ve seen very effective resumes in which candidates say directly in the cover letter: “While at first glance I may not seem to fit your typical candidate profile, I confident that my skills in ——–, ——- and ——–, as well as my knowledge of ——— would indeed be an excellent match for this position.”
See also these articles:
Be sure to use all of our Job & Career Resources for Career Changers.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.Regular QuintZine contributor Maureen Crawford Hentz is manager of talent acquisition, development and compliance for OSRAM SYLVANIA Inc., a Siemens company. She is a nationally recognized expert on social networking and new media recruiting. With more than15 years of experience in the recruiting, consulting and employment areas, her interests include college student recruiting, disabilities in the workplace, business etiquette, and GLBT issues. Crawford Hentz has been quoted by The New York Times, NewsDay, The Boston Globe, and National Public Radio, among others. In addition to her work for QuintZine, she is a contributor to the Boston.com HR blog. She conducts workshops, keynotes and conference sessions nationally. Crawford Hentz holds a master of arts degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH, and a bachelor of arts degree in international studies from The American University, Washington, DC. She lives outside Boston, MA.
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Career Change Cover Letter Sample
This career change cover letter sample can be used when you are applying for a job opportunity in a different career field.
Focus on those transferable skills and competencies you have that are relevant to the new career opportunity. Use the job posting to identify the required competencies and articulate these clearly in your cover letter.
Adapt this sample cover letter to meet the needs of your specific situation. Convince the employer that you are able to do the new job and to do it well.
Cover Letter Sample
Your Contact details (phone and email)
Contact Job Title
Company City, State, Zip Code
Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Smith
It is with interest and enthusiasm that I respond to your job opening for position. I strongly believe that the skills and abilities I have gained during my career to date make me an excellent candidate for this opportunity. The key proficiencies I possess which relate directly to your job requirements include:
- Communication skills - successful in building strong co-operative relationships with key clients and decision-makers.
- Problem solving ability - regarded as a resourceful problem solver evident in the successful development and implementation of new policies and procedures.
- Planning and organizing - proven track record of effectively prioritizing multiple tasks and assignments in a fast-paced work environment to efficiently meet departmental and company objectives.
- Team player - a solid reputation as a competent team member who is always prepared to go the extra mile to achieve results.
- Self starter - considered a highly motivated employee with the capacity to learn quickly and take responsibility for my own development.
I am convinced that my broad experience in the career field of previous career field has equipped me with a strong set of valuable competencies that meet your needs. I am eager to combine my previous experience with my passion for new career field in order to work hard and make a meaningful contribution to your organization.
I would welcome the opportunity for a personal interview to discuss this further. Please contact me at your earliest convenience to set up a time and date for us to meet.
Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to speaking with you soon.
Get help with your cover letter at career change cover letter sample advice and tips.
Recommended Career Change Resources
Writing an objective for your resume as a career changer can be a challenge. Use these career change resume objective examples to help you.
To find out the skills and competencies required for different jobs and careers when writing a career change cover letter visit sample job descriptions.
The job skills list provides detailed information on the skills used in different career fields.
Know more about job-related competencies. View the 12 core competencies identified as critical for successful job performance across all career fields.
Find out how to identify your work-related strengths. Go to this comprehensive list of strengths and weaknesses
View these resume samples to get help with developing your own convincing resume.
Cover Letter Resources
Basic Cover Letter
Email Cover Letter
Cover Letter Template
Need a new career? Use this career cover letter sample to help you secure a new challenge.
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