How to Write a Career Change Cover Letter at 50
There are several reasons you may consider changing your career. However, no matter the reason, an important part of your success will be convincing hiring managers you’re the right person for the role – even if you have limited experience in that industry. Writing a career change cover letter later in your career can be a daunting and confusing process. But, it can also give you the competitive edge and opportunity to stand out!
In a job market that is highly competitive, it’s already hard for job seekers to get their resumes noticed by employees. If you are changing to a different career after 30, it is much more difficult to convince managers to employ you. Your cover letter is just as important as your resume in translating all your transferable skills. While changing to a different career, it is particularly important that you outline your value to a potential employer.
Your Career Change Cover Letter should have:
- Your transferable skills
- Your passion for the company you’re applying to
- Your best performance in previous positions
Now, let’s go a bit deeper.
Your transferable skills
The first thing you should focus on while writing a career change cover letter is the skills you can use in the new position, rather than those skills you have that are related to your present position. Since you are going through a career change, it may not be pertinent to elaborate on your years of experience in your former career. Focus instead on precise transferable skills important to the job. Take time to analyze the job description for the position you are interested in, and look at the skills required. Select those that match your experience, then, use particular anecdotes from your academic history or work to show some of these strengths.
Your passion for the company you’re applying to
Secondly, your cover letter should include the passions you have towards that company. This will give you an upper hand over other candidates. Hiring managers may be interested in an applicant that is excited about their company and the job opportunity, over someone who doesn’t care much and just needs the job. In your cover letter, specify that you know much about the organization and show enthusiasm for the job opportunity.
Your best performance in previous positions
Finally, ensure you include your previous experience. Other candidates may have the required experience that cannot be backed by strong references or good achievements. You can stand out by doing your best to explain how you succeeded in previous positions, and connect it to how you will add value to the new position you’re applying for. Make sure your references will agree with your statements.
Format of the Cover Letter
The cover letter for a career change is divided into three parts:
- Opening paragraph
Your opening paragraph should be straightforward. It doesn’t need to be much different from that of a standard cover letter. Address your letter to a particular person if possible. If a name is not included in the job advertisement, carry out some research on the website of the organization.
In the first paragraph of the letter, indicate the position you’re applying for, and where you saw the advertisement. If you were referred by a personal contact, you can mention them by name, so as it can personalize the letter and show you have contacts in the company. In the opening paragraph, you can also mention a key qualification you have that makes you suitable for the job. This can be something that is indicated in the job advertisement.
- Body of the letter
In this section, you will show the skills and experience you have that makes you suitable for the job. First, it will be a good idea to explain why you decided to move into the field of the employer. Write one sentence that explains your interest in the new industry and how your past job experience will help you succeed there. Moving on, give particular examples from your career history. Don’t use general phrases, rather provide information that is relevant to the new career.
Explain why you are looking for a career change to the employer’s particular field. It will most likely come up as your resume is evaluated. For example, you may say, “I’m very interested in transitioning into the publishing industry following a successful 15-year career in technical writing. I have always had a strong sense of mission to communicate complex topics through writing. I believe this is an opportunity where my writing experience and technical knowledge would be a significant help to this organization as it looks to expand into scientific textbook market.”
Also in the body of your cover letter, address any question the recruiter might have about you. Apart from wanting to know why you are changing careers at 50, he/she might also want to know how you will deliver results for the organization. Put yourself in the position of the employer and make a list of all questions you thing they might ask, and then write your cover letter in a way that address most of those questions.
The conclusion of your cover letter should include an appreciation to the recruiter for taking the time to go through your application. You can also mention the next step, for example, you can write that you are available for communication if they have any question or need more information. Use appropriate words while signing off, like “Sincerely” and your full name.
When you’re done writing, go through the letter and edit any unnecessary information. It is best to keep the letter in a single page. Make sure the letter is free from grammatical errors, typos and slang!