How to Write a Career Change Cover Letter: 50+ Year Olds
Cover Letter = Important
The cover letter to your career change resume acts as a personal introduction to your potential employer. How you present yourself has the ability to either put you on the short-list of potential candidates or ensure you’ll never be contacted by the company.
Your cover letter requires considerable effort to strike an effective balance of personal yet professional, while highlighting how your age and experience (no matter how seemingly unrelated it may be to your dream role) makes you the best person for the job.
Your Career Change Cover Letter Template
The first paragraph of your career change cover letter should be positive and to the point. Introduce yourself and express your interest in the role you’re applying for. If a professional contact has referred you, ensure you mention this industry connection within the first few sentences.
Clearly state your interest in pursuing a career change while acknowledging your current role. Be excited and confident about your capabilities to thrive in this new position. For example:
“While I’ve spent the last five years working as an executive assistant developing exceptional time-management, communication skills and professional discretion, I believe my background will provide valuable and diverse skills to your HR department. Pursuing a role within HR is a professional goal of mine, and I believe the role of Human Resources Officer is a great opportunity to begin my career path in this new field.”
There are four main things to highlight in the body of your career change cover letter.
Why is this company and this role perfect for your pursuit of a career change?
In the body of your cover letter, it’s essential to tailor your choice of words and overall tone to the company you’re applying to work for. By personalising your cover letter to the business, you will demonstrate your understanding of the specific role and the company’s overall mission, and values.
To do this, you need to do some research and careful reading:
- Read through the company’s website and any other related materials.
- Take note of any significant projects they’ve been involved with; their client demographic, etc.
- Thoroughly read through the job description and pick out keywords to use in your writing – these are often found in the ‘Selection Criteria’ section of a job listing.
- Try to mimic the tone of the company – are they excitable? Modern? More conservative in their approach? Do they exude professionalism, or do they have a more laid-back vibe?
How does your past work experience prepare you for this role?
Even if your previous work seems completely unrelated to the role you’re applying for, this is often not the case. Acknowledging your previous experience is important. However, how you frame this experience is essential.
Consider your past roles and what specific skills may be transferable to your new role. These are called transferable skills. Often, these skills are soft skills – non-technical personal attributes that make you invaluable within a work environment (more about these later!).
Lastly, if you’ve completed any work experience or further education to support your career change, ensure to mention this explicitly. This will demonstrate to the recruiter your willingness to learn and your commitment to your dream job.
Why is your age an asset?
Towards the end of the body, it may be worth directly stating why your age could be a positive addition to the company (we can help to articulate this with tips below!). This section may be helpful to frame your circumstance as a career changer in a light the hiring manager may not have previously considered.
Explain any resume gaps
If you have any large resume gaps, it’s worth quickly explaining these gaps here. If you need some quick tips on how to do that, this is how to explain a resume gap.
To conclude, write a short paragraph reiterating your excitement to be considered for this job opportunity. Thank the reader and suggest the next point of communication. For example:
I would like to thank you for reading my application, and I look forward to hearing from you. I am available for a phone call or meeting any time to answer any questions you may have for me.
Why Your Age Makes You Valuable
Ageism is unfortunately still an issue, and it’s an understandable concern for those looking to change careers later in their professional journey. However, the economic and business benefits of encouraging older workers to continue or return to work are increasingly becoming public knowledge.
The benefits of an older workforce include lowering the $10.8 billion economic loss Australia experiences due to not utilising the skills and experience an older workforce can provide.
Older workers greatly benefit businesses and organisations by:
- Providing a skillset only developed through years of experience
- Demonstrating a strong commitment to work, fostering similar attitudes in the workplace among younger employees
- Providing a more relatable presence for a business’ older demographic of customers and clients
- Promoting collaborative diversity within the workplace by encouraging the sharing of skills and experience between older and younger work colleagues
Some Transferable Skills
As mentioned in our step-by-step cover letter, it’s important to highlight your transferable skills! Some of these skills may include:
You may realise that some of your more technical skills are an asset to your new role as well, such as:
- General computer skills
- Data collection and analysis
- Report writing and presentation
Professional versus Personal
Your cover letter can’t be a list of dry facts, nor should it be long prose of personal reflection. Carefully choose the most relevant skills and experiences to the position you’re applying for, that also reflect your passion and excitement. Write about these with a personal touch, and your personality will naturally carry throughout the letter.
Want to beef up your resume?
Ready and determined to step into your desired new industry? Want to feel confident about your application? You may be considering further education options to help you prepare for your dream role. Explore a range of short and longer courses available to you!
In this guide we’ve compiled everything you need to know about changing careers as an older adult.
If you’d like to learn more about starting your career change, what it’s like to be a mature age student, picking a career path, or even writing career change cover letters, all the information you need is here.
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