Why not mentioning the reason for a career change is often the best approach

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Samantha Nolan is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer with a graduate degree in Marketing and Communication, and owner of Ladybug Design, a full-service résumé writing and interview coaching firm. For more information, call 1-888-9-LADYBUG or visit http://www.ladybug-design.com

Dear Sam: I am in my mid 40's and have driven a tractor-trailer for most of my career, however, due to a recent accident with my hand, I have been forced to look for another occupation. How do I create a cover letter explaining why I am changing careers? Thanks - Tim

Dear Tim: That's a really great question. You didn't mention whether you knew what career you were interested in at this time, but identifying that is the first step to take before you can begin writing your résumé or cover letter.

When you are embarking upon a career change, you first have to define your purpose and identify your transferable skills. This is much more important than explaining the reason for the transition, because if your résumé and cover letter do not make a strong case for your ability to perform within the new occupation, then you probably won't get the interview in the first place. Additionally, explaining that you had an accident, without going into too much detail as to the limitations it has now presented, may make a hiring manager question your ability to perform other job functions. Therefore, the best approach is to market your transferable skills and not mention the reason for the career change. I always tell clients that it typically never serves them to highlight a disqualifying factor, unless by not doing so you just won't get the call for an interview. In your case, an explanation as to the impetus for the move will do nothing but highlight the lack of experience in your newly desired profession. It will also tell the hiring manager that it was not your choice to change fields, and could make them think that you might be less than enthusiastic to do so. Stick with making a case for how well you can perform within your desired profession based on your past experiences, skills, and education. All the best.

If you would like Dear Sam's résumé writing firm to write your résumé, please visit www.ladybug-design.com or call 1-888-9-LADYBUG (1-888-952-3928).

To send your question to Dear Sam, please write to dearsam@ladybug-design.com.