Nearly ten years ago I was working as a Tyre Shop Manager for Frank Allen Tyres in Mt Roskill. During the day I would be getting down and dirty selling tyres, fitting tyres, fixing puncture repairs and doing Wheel Alignments. For me this was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, I was nearly 30 years old and had been doing this type of work since I left school at 16.
Because of my desire to change industries, for the last few years of my Tyre career, I had been taking a computer course at Manukau Tech. It was almost time to break the chains and take a big leap. There was one HUGE obstacle that I needed to overcome however and that was getting that first job in my new industry.
This time I was planning to work in an industry of my choice, not one I fell into because of dropping out of school at an early age.
When it comes to getting a new job/career there are two steps once you have completed your training and are rearing to go..
- The cover letter/Application
- The First Interview
If you don’t do the first one properly you will never even make it to step two. This article looks at step one, the career change cover letter.
Tip 1 – A mistake many job applicants make is that they tend to write the letter with themselves in mind. What I mean by this is they will mention how this position they are applying for will help them to grow or gain better skills etc. An employer is likely to be more concerned with how you can help their company out rather than yourself! Make the letter about how you can help out your prospective employer with the unique skills and experiences that you have.
Tip 2 – Often when changing careers you need to be prepared to take a step backward in salary. It may be hard at first however believe me it can pay off in the long run. You really need that foot in the door. Don’t make the letter about financial reward, express your desire to be given a chance and your willingness to accept what perhaps may be seen as a low position in the industry you are trying to break into.
Tip 3 – Don’t write that cold impersonal letter that you then copy off 100 times and fire off everywhere. Make out your application letter to the person directly you are wanting to be hired by, and include something about the company to show you have done your homework.
Tip 4 – It takes a great deal of commitment to change careers both financially and personally. Remember that most people don’t have the drive or the ambition to ever make it happen. Talk about the commitments you have made to show how serious you are about changing careers, The training and time you have invested to achieve your goals.
Lastly you need to differentiate yourself even more from the other applicants, and thats why our final tip is…
Tip 5 – Follow up – most people give up when they don’t hear anything back from a job application. Don’t be one of those people. There are a lot of different opinions of the time frames involved with a follow up letter however we recommend between 1 and 2 weeks.
If you have changed careers please share your experiences with our candidates in the comment form below.