You aren’t alone. If you feel bored, unfulfilled, or otherwise dissatisfied at your job, you are in good company. In 2017, some 17,000 U.S. workers across 19 industries were asked about their job satisfaction. Over seven in ten admitted they were so miserable they were ready to switch employers. Fast forward a few years and those numbers have improved a bit. Why? Most workers weren’t actually in the office in 2020. Remote workers were happier and more satisfied with their jobs than their in-office counterparts.
Still, if you are one of the dissatisfied majority, be prepared. Unemployment is high. Less than 30% of workers aren’t job hunting. Some are casual career site surfers. Others are actively interviewing and networking. With so much competition, anyone contemplating a drastic change needs to be diligent. If you’re not only seeking new employment but hoping to enter a new field, your task is tougher. It all starts with a well-composed career switch cover letter.
Career switching can feel like entering uncharted lands without a map or a compass while clutching a phone with a dying battery and no signal. Do you go back to the hell of the familiar or keep trekking forward? The hard truth is no transition is easy –– if you don’t believe me, feel free to ask a new parent or the recently retired. As you contemplate career switching, Accept What Is. It’s not easy trusting that this transition serves your highest good. Yet by accepting what IS while not taking your change in circumstances personally you can locate your North Star and venture into the unknown.
According to a 2019 Indeed survey, 13% of job hunters hope to enter a different field. Some wanted a beefier paycheck or improved career progress. Others wanted more meaningful work. To succeed, they need more than hope. Career switchers are asking prospective employers to choose them over someone with experience in the field. They are also asking those same possible bosses to ignore the fact that the job hunter is abandoning a career in which they were trained. How do you get that employer to consider you? Two words: transferable skills.
Twenty-first century job hunters are blessed because so many employers care about “soft skills.” Effective communication, problem solving talents, and creativity are welcome in any field. So put these transferable skills front and center in your career switch cover letter. You may also possess hard skills like familiarity with certain software programs or a talent for accounting that are transferable as well. Explain in your first paragraph how you utilized those skills in your present role and how you can apply them to the new position.
If you’ve worked in the same position for a few years, you’ve likely forgotten how much you learned on the job. Career switchers need to gain expertise on their own. This could mean online seminars or classes. It definitely means research. Whether your cover letter’s recipient is a friend of a friend, someone from a careers site or a Craig’s List, posting do your due diligence. Spend time reading up on the company and the department. if you have a name, connect through Linked In or Twitter [ED PLEASE LINK TO” “How To Network On Twitter (Without Looking Like A Creep)”). Incorporate that knowledge into your cover letter.
Personable and Enthusiastic
You are asking the boss to bring you on despite lacking specific experience. Clearly represent how much you want to do this job and why it strikes your fancy. Some of us are naturally reticent, worried that excessive enthusiasm comes across as fake. Remember your goal from a career switch cover letter is an interview. Make yourself someone the hiring manager wants to meet.
Start at the Bottom
A friend of mine was financially successful and completely unhappy working in marketing and real estate. He’d moved to Los Angeles in his 20s with dreams of being an actor. In his 40s, he became an unpaid intern at a theatrical agency. He loved the work, was eventually promoted to agent and opened his own shop. It wasn’t easy. Name one worthwhile thing that is. Your age is not a detriment. People are going to law school at an age when many were contemplating retirement just two generations ago. If you’re in your thirties it’s going to be hard when your boss is 24 and your parents question the value of your six-figure degree. Yet you are the one who has to live with your decisions. Don’t let self doubt or other’s opinions derail your passion.