Cover Letter VS. Resume –What's The Difference?
What is a cover letter?
- Cover letters vs. resumes - what's the difference?
Now that you know
In today’s ultra-competitive job market, one major way to get employers’ attention is by building an exemplary resume and cover letter. You must learn how to craft each document without any disqualifying errors.
In this article, you will learn the difference between a cover letter and a resume. These include the differences between the two in:
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A cover letter (also known as a letter of motivation) is a document sent alongside your resume. It provides additional information that you did not or could not include in your resume and gives you the opportunity to show more of your credentials to employers.
Cover letters vs. resumes - what's the difference?
A cover letter is an additional document, first and foremost. Unlike a resume, it is often optional, though some applications require an attached cover letter. It is a letter in which you provide detailed descriptions of your skills and previous work experience and explain why they make you the perfect fit for the position.
A resume is a primary document you will send to potential employers. It is a one to two-page list of your previous work experience, skills, accomplishments, education, etc.
It is advisable to customize your resume and cover letter to fit the requirements of each specific job description: in short, no form letters.
Cover letters have a different format
Formatting a cover letter correctly is vital. It is not just a list but a letter to a potential employer, with greetings, an introductory paragraph, one to two body paragraphs, a conclusion, and a signature. It is typically only one page.
A resume’s format is narrower. Resumes are a concise record of your background and qualifications, containing only essential information. Its presentation and visual appeal are especially important. It is typically one to two pages.
the tone of voice is different
A cover letter is you directly addressing your future employer. Unlike in your resume, in which you are clinically listing off your background and qualifications, you can feel free to inject more of your personality into a cover letter.
This helps the employer get to know you as well as your skills before you ever meet face to face. Imagine you are speaking to them at your job interview already: be friendly and confident, but remain professional as well.
Cover letters complement your resume.
If you have constructed it correctly, a finished resume can technically be all you need to apply to a job. However, you want to show potential employers that you will go the extra mile for them and ensure that they know just how better suited you are to the position than your competition.
A cover letter expands on the most important information provided in your resume and strengthens it. If your resume already has a strong layout , it is a good outline for your cover letter.
The most important information to keep in mind is the purpose of each document. A resume is an essential document that concisely lists your background and qualifications. A cover letter is an additional document that complements your resume by providing detailed explanations of the most relevant parts of your resume.
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What Is the Difference Between a Resume and a Cover Letter?
- Resume vs. Cover Letter
What a Resume Includes
What a cover letter includes.
- Use a Cover Letter to be Subjective
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What's the difference between a resume and a cover letter? Both a cover letter and a resume share the common purpose of proving that you have the right skills to excel at the job for which you are applying.
However, there are clear distinctions between the structure and intent of the two documents. Job seekers should view their cover letter and resume as a complementary but unique pair of documents. That is, your cover letter should be more than just bullet points regurgitated from the resume.
Many employers require that a resume is submitted with a job application.
A cover letter may not be required. But, including one when you apply for a job can help your chances of getting selected for an interview.
The Difference Between a Resume and a Cover Letter
You can think of your resume as a general summary of your work experience and your cover letter as a summary of your work experience as it relates to the job at hand.
A resume is a document that itemizes your employment history. It summarizes the jobs you have held, the education you have attained, certifications, skills, and other quantifiable information about your background and work experience.
The most common resume format is a list with your contact information, and experience section that includes job titles, position descriptions, dates of employment, an education section, and other relevant information.
Typically, a resume is written in the third person and uses as few words as possible to summarize the experience. So, instead of writing "I supervised the large buying team at XYZ company" a resume would have a bullet point that says, "Supervised 19-person buying team."
Whenever possible, you'll want to use numbers on your resume, such as the number of people you supervised, percent sales increased, the number of customers helped, etc.
A cover letter is written to highlight the qualifications you have for the job for which you are applying. It is used to provide the employer with additional information as to why you are a good candidate for the job. The main function of your cover letter is to show off how your qualification makes you a match for the job.
A cover letter is written in a letter format including a salutation, several paragraphs, and a closing. Unlike a resume, you should use the first-person to write your cover letter . (That said, avoid using "I" too much.)
Your resume should provide employers with a detailed list of your work experience and education. The skills and accomplishments associated with each job you have held should be described in enough detail to show employers how you have added value in those specific roles.
Often, resumes provide information in bulleted lists; this helps make the document concise and allows recruiters to scan through it quickly.
A cover letter is a short three or four paragraph document. It should be written with the assumption that employers will consult your resume to match it to the statement you are making in the letter about your qualifications.
A cover letter will help employers to interpret your background as represented on the resume and will help prove how your previous experiences qualify you for a job.
When you are writing a cover letter for a job, first review the job requirements that are detailed in the job posting. Use your cover letter to explain how you meet those criteria.
Use a Cover Letter to Convey Subjective Information
A resume states the facts – who, what, when, and how. In contrast, a cover letter provides an opportunity to explain why you are qualified for the job. This document adds a bit of color and personality and is intended to persuade employers that you're a good fit for the position at hand.
A cover letter is a better vehicle than a resume to convey more subjective information like the basis of your interest in a position, how your values motivate you to pursue a job, or why the culture of a company appeals to you.
Your cover letters will help you sell your qualifications to prospective employers while your resume provides the details to back up the information included in your letters.
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21+ Cover Letter Examples in 2023 [For All Professions]
No matter where you are in your career, or what job you’re applying for, submitting a cover letter with your resume is a must .
Done right, a cover letter will effectively complement your resume and explain to the hiring manager in more detail why you’re the right person for the job.
Writing a cover letter, however, is easier said than done.
You have to effectively demonstrate that you’ll be able to perform the responsibilities listed in the job description and that you’d be a better fit for the company compared to other candidates.
And unless you’re a professional writer, this can be a very hard task.
Fortunately, we created these cover letter examples to inspire you and help you get started with your own cover letter!
Let’s dive in!
21 Cover Letter Examples
#1. career change cover letter example .
Here’s what this cover letter does right:
- Has an ideal length. This cover letter includes all the relevant information for the hiring manager without getting into too much detail.
- Relevant introduction. The candidate explains that they’re changing careers and why they want to work in this new field from the get-go.
- Explains their related experience. The candidate explains how their previous experience in retail sales can help them succeed in PR.
Check out our guide video guide to learn how to write a Cover Letter that gets you HIRED!
#2. Recent Graduate Cover Letter Example
- Personally greets the hiring manager. The candidate has taken the time to find the hiring manager’s name and address them by it, which makes the opening of the cover letter much more personal.
- Wraps up with a call to action. The candidate wraps up the cover letter by suggesting a meeting with the hiring manager, which makes them more memorable.
- Explains why the candidate is the right person for the internship. In this cover letter for an internship , the candidate explains how they’ve previously interned in a different firm, which gives them the experience to succeed in this role.
Have you just graduated from college? Make sure to check out our guide on writing an entry-level cover letter from start to finish!
#3. Middle Management Cover Letter Example
- Use of bullet points. The candidate presents the information in a concise and reader-friendly way, making it easy for the hiring manager to find their key achievements.
- Formal closing. The candidate has used a formal and polite tone to conclude their cover letter, which combined with a call to action makes them look professional and passionate about getting the job.
- Explains how the company would benefit from hiring them. The candidate outlines exactly what they could do for the company, which not only highlights their skills but also shows they’ve done their research on the company’s needs.
#4. Business Manager Cover Letter Example
- Detailed header. In addition to the must-have contact details, this candidate has also included their professional Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, making it easy for the hiring manager to look more closely into their career.
- Concise and to the point. This candidate has used short paragraphs and bullet points to make the cover letter easy to skim through.
- Wraps up with a call to action. By letting the hiring manager know they’ll be contacting them soon, they’re more likely to make an impression.
Check out this article for a complete writing guide and an inspiring business manager resume sample.
#5. Ph.D. Cover Letter Example
Here’s what this cover letter does right:
- Attention-grabbing introduction. In the opening paragraph, this candidate explains why they’re passionate about pursuing a Ph.D. in great detail.
- Explains the candidate’s qualifications in detail. The candidate builds on their passion by explaining how they’re also qualified for the degree because of their education history and academic achievements.
#6. Senior Executive Cover Letter Example
- Professional and minimalistic template. This senior executive has used a professional but minimalistic template that lets their work experience do the talking.
- Achievement-oriented opening paragraph. Right from the get-go, this candidate explains what makes them so good at their job, effectively grabbing the hiring manager’s attention.
- Wraps up with a call to action. By suggesting to have a meeting and discussing how they can help the company meet its goals, the candidate stands more chance to make a positive lasting impression.
#7. Architect Cover Letter Example
- Modern resume template. This architect has picked a template that perfectly matches his industry, as it is professional and modern at the same time.
- A personal greeting to the HR. They address the hiring manager by their first name, which helps make a better first impression.
- Measurable achievements. By quantifying their achievements, the candidate proves their achievements instead of just claiming them.
Struggling with your architect resume ? Check out our full guide!
#8. Business Analyst Cover Letter Example
- Detailed contact information. The candidate has listed both their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, providing the HR manager an opportunity to learn more about the candidate.
- Mentions what the candidate can do for the company. This cover letter doesn’t just explain why the job would be great for the candidate, but also how the candidate would benefit the company. Win-win, right?
- Error-free and reader-friendly. It’s super important for the cover letter to have no spelling or grammatical errors and be reader-friendly. This candidate made sure they did both.
Need a resume alongside your cover letter? Check out our guide on how to write a business analyst resume .
#9. Consultant Cover Letter Example
- Professional cover letter template. Being an experienced consultant, this candidate has picked a professional template that doesn’t steal the spotlight from their achievements.
- Experience and achievement-oriented. The candidate has effectively elaborated on their top achievements relevant to the job.
- Highlights the candidate’s passion. To show they want the job, this candidate has also explained how passionate they are about their profession.
For more advice on landing a job as a consultant, check out our guide to writing a consultant resume .
#10. Digital Marketing Cover Letter Example
- Creative cover letter template. This digital marketer highlights their originality by picking a creative cover letter template.
- Lists the candidate’s awards. The candidate has taken advantage of the cover letter to list their most noteworthy awards in the industry.
- Concludes with a call to action. As they used a call to action to conclude their cover letter, the HR manager will be more likely to remember them.
Want to take your digital marketing resume to the next level? Check out our guide!
#11. Graphic Designer Cover Letter Example
- Detailed contact information. The candidate has included additional contact information such as their website link, as well as their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
- Ideal length. This cover letter is concise, which means that the HR manager is more likely to read it from start to finish.
- Draws attention to the candidate’s strong points. Although this candidate is a recent college graduate, they’ve managed to effectively show that they have enough knowledge and experience to do the job right.
Read this guide to write a graphic designer resume that’s just as good as your cover letter!
#12. Administrative Assistant Cover Letter Example
- Minimalistic cover letter template. The candidate picked a well-designed but minimalistic template for their cover letter.
- Focused on skills and achievements. This cover letter is packed with the candidate’s skills and achievements, proving he can be an excellent employee.
- Formal closing. Politeness can go a long way and the candidate has used this to their advantage to make an impression.
Our article on how to write an administrative assistant resume can help you take your job application to the next level.
#13. Front Desk Cover Letter Example
- Modern cover letter template. This template incorporates memorable colors and clear lines, which make the cover letter very visually appealing.
- Attention-grabbing introduction. Using an attention-grabbing intro, the candidate is more likely to make an impression.
- Calls the HR to action. By including a call to action, the candidate is reminding the HR of their immediate availability.
#14. Human Resources Cover Letter Example
- It is concise and to the point. The candidate doesn’t dwell on unimportant details the HR won’t be interested in.
- Uses a traditional cover letter template. The cover letter design is more on the conventional side, which fits the industry better.
- Highlights the candidate’s strong points. The candidate has rich work experience and they use the cover letter to elaborate on it.
This HR resume guide can help you get your resume just right.
#15. Sales Agent Cover Letter Example
- Attention-grabbing cover letter template. As a salesperson, this candidate knows how important first impressions are, so they’ve picked a catchy cover letter template.
- Has an ideal length. At the same time, they’ve also made sure to keep their cover letter at just the right length.
- Lists the candidate’s career highlights. The candidate has made perfect use of the space by mentioning their most impressive professional achievements.
Check out this sales agent resume guide to create an attention-grabbing sales resume .
#16. Receptionist Cover Letter Example
- Modern but minimalistic cover letter template. The template’s design hints the candidate is creative but professional at the same time.
- Uses a catchy introduction. The candidate has used an attention-grabbing opening paragraph to catch HR’s attention.
- Concludes the cover letter formally. The candidate proves that they’re polite and well-spoken, a quality very much important for the role they’re applying for.
Take your receptionist resume to the next level with this receptionist resume guide .
#17. Information Technology Cover Letter Example
- Mentions measurable achievements. Numbers make an impact, which is why this candidate has included measurable achievements.
- Lists both soft and hard skills. The candidate has mentioned a great mix of soft and hard skills, showing how well-rounded they are.
- Contains relevant contact information. The candidate’s GitHub, website name, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles are all great additions to the resume.
Looking for tips to help you write a great IT resume ? Check out our guide!
#18. Real Estate Cover Letter Example
- Ideal length. Short and to the point, this cover letter is bound to get noticed by the HR manager.
- Wraps up with a call to action. This candidate reinforces the HR to call them back through a final call to action.
- Mentions the right skills. On top of their sales accomplishments, the candidate touch upon important soft skills such as customer service and communication .
This real estate resume guide will help you take your resume from good to great.
#19. Teacher Cover Letter Example
- Mentions relevant contact information details. This candidate has included optional (but relevant) contact information details, such as their LinkedIn, Quora, and Medium profiles.
- Achievement-oriented. The candidate has elaborated on their achievements in more detail throughout their cover letter.
- Highlights the candidate’s passion. For some jobs, being passionate is much more important than for others. Teaching is one of these jobs, which is why this candidate explains their passion for the job.
Our guide on how to write a teacher resume has all the tips you need to land the job.
#20. Project Manager Cover Letter Example
- Leverages a catchy introduction. Through a catchy introductory paragraph, this candidate is sure to grab the HR’s attention and get them to read the rest of their cover letter.
- Lists measurable accomplishments. This candidate explains exactly what they’ve achieved using numbers and hard data.
- Personally greets the HR. A personal greeting sounds much better than “Dear Sir/Madam,” and the candidate knows this.
This guide on how to write a project manager resume can help you perfect your appication.
#21. Paralegal Cover Letter Example
- Minimalistic cover letter template. This cover letter design looks good but doesn’t steal the show from the candidate’s abilities.
- Mentions the candidate’s academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Although the candidate is a recent graduate, they’ve used the cover letter to explain they have enough skills and achievements to do the job.
- Lists measurable achievements. The candidate proves they did well in their internship by mentioning quantifiable achievements.
Check out this paralegal resume guide to perfect yours.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a one-page document that you submit as part of your job application, alongside your resume .
Its purpose is to introduce you and briefly summarize your professional background. On average, your cover letter should be from 250 to 400 words long .
A good cover letter can give the hiring manager more insight into what makes you a good candidate and help them make up their mind about whether they should invite you for an interview. A bad cover letter, though, will get ignored (at best) and lose you the job (at worst).
So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s essential to know how to write a convincing cover letter.
The first thing to remember is that a cover letter is a supplement to your resume, not a replacement. Meaning, you shouldn’t just repeat whatever is mentioned in your resume and call it a day.
Optimally, you should use your cover letter to shed more light on your skills and qualifications, as well as explain anything you didn’t have space for in your resume (e.g. a career gap or why you’re changing careers).
If you’re writing a cover letter for the first time, though, putting all this together might seem pretty tough.
Fortunately, you can follow our tried-and-tested format to make the experience much easier:
- Header - Input your contact information.
- Greeting the hiring manager - Open the cover letter with a “Dear Sir or Madam,” or use the hiring manager’s name if you know what that is.
- Opening paragraph - Grab the hiring manager’s attention by getting straight to the point. Mention what your professional experiences are, and what role you’re applying for.
- The second paragraph - Explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Mention your top 2-3 achievements, your top skills, why you want to work in that specific industry, and whatever else is relevant.
- The third paragraph - End your cover letter with a call to action. E.g. “I would love to meet personally and discuss how I can help Company X.”
- Formal closing - Something like this: “Thank you for your consideration. Best, John Doe.”
Here’s what this looks like in practice:
9 Tips to Write a Cover Letter (the Right Way)
Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about cover letter tips . Below, we'll give you all the knowledge you need to take your cover letter from "OK" to "great."
#1. Pick the right template
A good cover letter is all about leaving the right first impression.
And what’s a better way to leave a good impression than through a professional, well-formatted, and visual template?
You can simply pick one of our tried-and-tested cover letter templates and you’ll be all set!
#2. Add your contact details on the header
The best way to start your cover letter is through a header.
Here’s what you want to include there:
- Phone Number
- Name of the hiring manager / their professional title
- Name of the company you’re applying to
Optionally, you can also include the following:
- Social Media Profiles - Any type of profile that’s relevant to your field. Social Profiles on websites like LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), etc.
- Personal Website - If you have a personal website that somehow adds value to your application, you can mention it. Let’s say you’re a professional writer. In that case, you’d want to link to your content portfolio site or blog.
#3. Greet the hiring manager the right way
Once you’ve listed all your relevant contact information, it’s time to address the hiring manager reading your cover letter.
A good practice here is to find the hiring manager’s name and address them directly instead of using the traditional “dear sir or madam.” This shows that you’re really invested in the company and that you took your time to do some research about the job.
So, how can you find out the hiring manager’s name?
One way to do this is by looking up the head of the company’s relevant department on LinkedIn. Let’s say you’re applying for the position of Communication Specialist at Novoresume. The hiring manager is probably the Head of Communications or the Chief Communications Office.
Or let’s say you’re applying for the position of server at a restaurant. In that case, you’d be looking to find out who the restaurant manager is.
If this doesn’t work, you can also check out the “Team” page on the company website; there’s a good chance you’ll at least find the right person there.
If you still can’t find out the hiring manager’s name, here are several other greetings you can use:
- Dear [Department] Hiring Manager
- Dear Hiring Manager
- To whom it may concern
- Dear [Department] Team
#4. Create an attention-grabbing introduction
Recruiters get hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of applications. Chances are, they’re not going to be reading every single cover letter end-to-end.
So, it’s essential to catch their attention from the very first paragraph.
The problem with most cover letter opening paragraphs, though, is that they’re usually extremely generic, often looking something like this:
Hey, my name is Jonathan and I’d like to work as a Sales Manager at XYZ Inc. I’ve worked as a sales manager at MadeUpCompany Inc. for 5+ years, so I believe that I’d be a good fit for the position.
As you can probably tell, this opening paragraph doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything other than that you’ve worked the job before - and that’s not really helpful in setting you apart from other candidates.
What you want to do, instead, is start off with 2-3 of your top achievements to really grab the reader’s attention. Preferably, the achievements should be as relevant as possible to the position.
My name’s Michael and I’d like to help XYZ Inc. hit and exceed its sales goals as a Sales Manager. I’ve worked with Company X, a fin-tech company, for 3+ years. As a Sales Representative, I generated an average of $30,000+ in sales per month (beating the KPIs by around 40%). I believe that my previous industry experience, as well as my excellence in sales, makes me the right candidate for the role of X at Company Y.
The second example shows how the candidate is a top performer. The first just shows that they’ve worked a sales job before.
Which one are YOU more likely to invite for an interview?
#5. Show you’re the perfect person for the job
One great thing about cover letters is that they allow you to expand more on the top achievements from your resume and really show the hiring manager that you’re the right person for the job.
A good way to do that is to first read the job ad and really understand what skills/experiences are required, and then to ensure that your cover letter touches upon the said skills or experiences.
In my previous role as a Facebook Marketing Expert at XYZ Inc. I handled customer acquisition through ads, managing a monthly Facebook ad budget of $20,000+. As the sole digital marketer at the company, I managed the ad creation and management process end-to-end. This means I created the ad copy and images, as well as picked the targeting, ran optimization trials, and so on.
Other than Facebook advertising, I’ve also delved into other online PPC channels, including:
- Google Search
#6. Explain why you’re a great company fit
The HR manager doesn’t only look at whether you’ll be good at the job or not. They’re looking for someone that’s also a good fit for the company culture.
After all, employees that don’t fit in are bound to quit, sooner or later. This ends up costing the company a ton of money, up to 50% of the employee’s annual salary .
To convince the hiring manager that you’re a great company fit, do some research on the company and find out what it is you like about them, or about working there. You want to know things like:
- What’s the company’s business model?
- What’s the company's product or service? Have you used it?
- What’s the culture like? Will someone micro-manage your work, or will you have autonomy on how you get things done?
Then, turn your top reasons for liking to work there into text and add them to your cover letter!
#7. Wrap up with a call to action
To make the end of your cover letter as memorable as possible, you want to:
- Wrap up any points you couldn't in the previous paragraphs. Mention anything you’ve left out that you think could help the hiring manager make up your mind.
- Thank the hiring manager for their time. After all, it never hurts to be polite.
- Finish the cover letter with a call to action. A call to action is a great way to make your cover letter ending as memorable as possible.
#8. Write a formal closing
Once you’re done with the final paragraph, all you have to do is write down a formal “goodbye” and you’re good to go.
Feel free to use one of the most popular conclusions in a cover letter:
- Best Regards,
- Kind Regards,
#9. Proofread your cover letter
Last but not least, make sure to always proofread each and every document that you’ll be including in your job application - cover letter included.
The last thing you want is to be claiming you’re a great candidate for the job with a cover letter full of typos!
For an even more comprehensive guide on how to write an impactful cover letter , check out our article !
Cover Letter Writing Checklist
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you still have some questions about cover letters? Check out the answers below:
1. How do I write a simple cover letter?
To write a cover letter that’s simple but also professional, make sure to include a header with your personal information, a formal greeting to the hiring manager, an attention-grabbing opening paragraph, a second paragraph explaining why you’re a good candidate for the job, and a formal closing (preferably with a call to action).
2. What are the 3 parts of a cover letter?
The three parts of a cover letter are:
- The introduction , namely the header, the greeting to the hiring manager, and the opening paragraph.
- The sales pitch is usually the body of the cover letter.
- The conclusion involves a formal closing and a signature line.
3. What makes a great cover letter?
A great cover letter should be personalized for each job you’re applying for, instead of being overly generic. It’s also preferable to address the hiring manager by their name and not use the overly-used “Dear Sir/Madam.”
To make a great first impression, you should mention 1-2 of your top achievements in your opening paragraph - the more job-specific they are, the better. Also, don’t stop at showing the hiring manager why you’re a great candidate for the job. Make sure to also talk about how you’re a good culture fit for the company.
Last but not least, wrap up your closing paragraph with a call to action to give the hiring manager a little extra something to remember you by.
4. When is a cover letter necessary?
Unless the job ad specifically states otherwise, you should always include a cover letter with your job application .
Even if the hiring manager doesn’t read it, you will look more professional simply by including one.
And that’s a wrap! We hope our cover letter examples and writing tips will inspire you to write a cover letter that will land you your next job.
If you’re looking for more invaluable career advice and articles, make sure to check out our career blog , or any of these related articles:
- How to Make a Resume in 2023
- Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs
- Cover Letter Format (w/ Examples & Free Templates)
Resume vs. Cover Letter - What you need to know
If you’re in the job market or applying to go to college or university, you’ll have heard about resumes and cover letters ; they’re key to the process. They go hand in hand because what you include in one is likely to be mirrored in the other, but they are very much different beasts and need to be treated as such.
You need to know what the key differences between the documents are so that you can get both of them on point.
Things can get baffling real quick when you enter the job market for the first time or are applying for work after a long career break. Don’t worry, we’re here to answer the burning questions, like:
- What is a resume vs a cover letter?
- Should a resume or a cover letter go first?
- What are the resume and cover letter differences?
- What are the resume and the cover letter purposes?
And finally, should you choose to use a resume, cover letter, or both?
Let’s get into this! We’ll start with a table that puts the basics together to keep things simple, read on the get to the full lowdown.
Want to get into specifics? Here we go…
Define a Resume
Resumes and CVs are quite the same things: a document that you write about yourself and your skills and experience that you send out when looking for a job in a company.
In your résumé, you need to include a detailed list of your past employers and what you did for them, as well as your education and qualifications. Point out the great stuff you achieved in your past roles, often this is the best tool to boast and show how you can add value in a role.
Pro-Tip Bulleted lists are a great way to keep your resume slick and concise, it also makes it more readable to potential employers - no sifting through long paragraphs. Feel like it’s going to take forever? In five minutes our resume builder will have you off to a flying start.
So Then, a Cover Letter is…?
Also, something that you use to help get a job, it’s a letter that you use to give your future employer more detailed information about yourself by way of an introduction. You normally attach it along with your resume, giving an overview of what’s in there that’s relevant to the role and giving them a reason to read the resume through.
It should only last three to four paragraphs, giving brief information so the employer can get to grips with your background and understand how you’d fit into the organization. Besides, you have to show your interest and motivation to work in this particular company.
Pro-Tip Make sure you pay attention to the job requirements for the role you’re applying for and tailor your cover letter to highlight your skills, qualifications, and experience that make you perfect for the job.
Resume and Cover Letter - Key Differences
Often, the easiest way to understand the difference between a resume and a cover letter is to get to grips with what you actually need them for:
A resume is a summary of your previous jobs, education, and training and shows the hiring manager reading it who you are as a professional. Think of it like the “product”.
A cover letter is the sales pitch for your resume, giving the recruiter reasons why what you’ve done in the past makes you a perfect hire for the role. Tell them why you want to work for them and how you’re going to help develop their business.
A resume is typically written in a formal style, using the third person and you should use as few words as you can to get your experience across, keep it short and simple. Most resumes you see will have: a list of contact deets; a collection of your past experience with your job title, your key responsibilities, and achievements, and the dates you worked in each role; a list of your education and professional qualifications; and any other relevant information like volunteering or professional association memberships.
Your cover letter is there to pull out exactly what is in your resume that will make you the perfect hire. You’re writing a letter rather than a factual list so format it properly, with an appropriate greeting - ideally with the name of the recruiter - using paragraphs and a polite sign-off. Your cover letter needs to be in the first person, but don’t overuse “I”, focus on the reader instead.
Pro-Tip When you’ve got facts to boast about, use them. Include details like how many people you supervised, how you raised the productivity levels, and how much you exceeded your targets; details give you credibility.
Are There Any Similarities Between Resumes and Cover Letters?
Absolutely! The main job of a resume and a cover letter is to help you get an interview invitation.
Reading this, you’re probably thinking whether a resume and cover letter need to be prepared and handled differently. As much as these documents have two very different functions, which are important to know about, there are things that are needed in both to get you ready to make it big in the role of your dreams.
Some of the main tips are: both of them need to be accurate, focus on the key activities and actions that you did, and of course, your spelling and grammar need to be on fleek.
Pro-Tip Both in your cover letter and your résumé, use definites when talking about you and your skills, rather than “I believe” and “I think” use assertive words like “I achieved”.
Look at your resume as an overall picture of your career until now and see your cover letter as a summary of why your experience is related to the job that you’re actually applying for. Here’s a rundown of the important bits you need to remember when looking at the differences between a cover letter and a resume:
- Your resume is a historical account of your work until now, using bullet points and broken down into sections.
- In your cover letter, you go into more detail, giving insight into your work history in a personalized letter.
- A resume is a list of qualifications and achievements - a cover letter describes them.
- Keep a resume formal and direct; make your cover letter personal to the reader.
- Cover letters are a complement to a resume and are standard practice to send out - hiring managers to expect them.
Hopefully, with the tips given above, we’ve helped you navigate your way through choosing the right document for the right purpose when you want to apply for a job and introduce yourself as a perfect candidate for the desired position. We’ve got classic resume templates for you to try out and make your curriculum vitae look professional, the perfect one is waiting for you!
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Not sure whether you need a CV or a resume? Wondering are resumes and CVs the same thing? We’ve got a detailed guide and useful tips ready for you!
Need ideas for what to include in a resume? Go through our full guide, packed with pro-tips and insider tricks to get you into that job you’ve been dreaming about!
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Put your best qualities on display with professional, customizable resume and cv templates. no matter your line of work or length of professional history, you'll find resume and cv templates that'll help you get the gig..
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There are also a variety of free CV (Curriculum Vitae) templates to choose from. A CV is often longer than a resume and contains an in-depth look at your education and professional accomplishments. Like our resume templates, these CV templates are also customizable in Word.
Remember, your next job is only a template away! Once you've customized your resume, explore free cover letter templates to help you land the job.