Career transitions can be daunting in today’s market where hiring managers expect to immediately see how you are a perfect fit for the position they need filled.
Although challenging, a career change is not insurmountable. When paired with a persuasive resume, a compelling cover letter will help set the stage to get you noticed.
Paragraph #1 Sell the Connection that You Are the Perfect Fit
The first paragraph must set the stage for how you are ideally suited for the role. This can be accomplished by weaving language from the job description with strengths and traits unique to you.
For example – let’s say your career has been in IT sales and you are trying to transition to another industry. The first paragraph might read something like:
From C-suite relationship building to top-tier account management, prospecting to closing—I love the challenge of solving a complex problem by delivering a high-impact solution.
In this case, the phrasing related to C-level relationships and Top-Tier accounts are unique to you, while the part related to full-lifecycle sales speaks directly to the job posting requirements.
Paragraph #2: Elaborate and Set the Stage for Achievements
The second paragraph must provide the reader with additional details about you that showcase your value proposition and pave the way for hard-hitting examples that back up your words.
To continue with the example of the IT sales professional hoping to transition to another arena, Paragraph 2 might look like this:
“Below are examples that showcase my talent for stabilization and account growth, establishing a channel presence, building pipelines and negotiating complex multimillion-dollar deals.
Select three career achievements sure to impress decision makers in the industry you are targeting. Remember that numbers often speak louder than words, so wherever possible include measurable achievements as highlights.
In the case of the IT sales professional aiming to transition elsewhere, be sure to select highlights relevant to the new industry being targeted.
Wherever possible substitute industry-specific lingo with language used in the targeted industry, or at the very least with industry-neutral language as follows:
- IMPACTFUL DISRUPTION: Negotiated and delivered highly complex $5M-$15M deals; these full-service solutions drove change that transformed the operations of leading industry corporations.
- TERRITORY GROWTH: Turned around underperforming territory across DC, MD and VA and grew it 1500% in 11 months.
- NEW BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Built a $4M pipeline from the ground up and closed $6500K sales in 17 months as a trusted C-level advisor.
Paragraph #4: Close, Thank and Rehash
The purpose of a cover letter’s fourth and final paragraph is to thank the reader for reading, and remind them of why they should want you.
Just as with Paragraphs 1 and 2, this closing paragraph should repurpose your talents into a package that appeals to the readers of the industry you target. Here’s an example for the IT sales pro looking to shop his talents outside his industry:
I am confident I can leverage my executive level network built across the Mid-Atlantic to penetrate untapped markets and drive sales. I will follow up to coordinate a time to speak further and thank you for your consideration.