Most job applicants over the age of 50 know about cover letters but may find quite a few people saying that cover letter are no longer relevant. This is mostly because companies tend to ask job applicants to send their resumes via email more than ever. However, this does not mean that cover letters are dead.
In fact, cover letters are especially important for job seekers who are 50 years or older because of the particular challenges they face. These letters are very effective communication tools that help make a connection between the accomplishments in your career and the specific needs of the prospective employer. If done properly, you can get one step closer to a personal interview.
For this reason, most experts still recommend cover letters or cover emails in cases of electronic resume submissions for introducing yourself professionally, demonstrating your communication skills, and setting the base for a good interview. You can also use your cover letter to skillfully address challenges in your career like resume gaps and salary history requests. Given below are some tips that especially focus on job applicants over 50 years of age.
Customize your cover letter
A customized cover letter is very important, especially for older applicants who have a lot to gain with the cover letter. Most recruiters can easily identify generic cover letters that are copied and sent to every position the applicant applies for, and they do not take kindly to such applications.
Ideally, you should start your cover letter with a reference from a colleague who can connect you to the potential employer. If you choose the right connection to lead your cover letter, you will increase your chances of your resume getting shortlisted significantly.
Your cover letter has to be written in a way that communicates the most important qualifications for that specific job opening. You may be tempted to showcase the decades of experience and knowledge you have had in various industries, but it is best to focus on the most recent accomplishments that are specific to the position you are applying for.
You should also use your cover letter for showcasing your writing skills and your familiarity with writing about your occupation or industry. Most 50 plus job applicants have a good grasp of English and business writing, so show that in your cover letter.
Mention issues and resolve them in your cover letter
The older the career, the greater are the chances of certain issues in your resume like job gaps. If there are some elements in your resume that could cause recruiters and HR executives to raise questions about you, it is best to address them in your cover letter itself. Most experts feel that such issues need to be resolved as soon as possible, and the best place to do that is in a cover letter, where you can carefully write your response.
For instance, if an application for a job opening requires your salary history, it is best to address it in your cover letter without being superficial or deceptive. Older applicants may not wish to emphasize on the high salary in their recent years, so they can write something like, ‘Over the course of my career, I have earned salaries in the following range’.