Cover Letter vs Resume: Difference and Comparison

Cover Letters and Resumes are one of the most vital documents that are required during the process of seeking jobs.


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These documents showcase the personality, talent, experience, and skillsets of applying individuals.

Key Takeaways

  1. Cover letters are introductory documents highlighting an applicant’s interest in a position; resumes summarize work experience, education, and skills.
  2. Cover letters allow for personalization and tailored messaging for a specific role; resumes provide a broader overview of an applicant’s qualifications.
  3. Cover letters should be customized for each application; resumes can remain consistent across multiple job applications.

Cover Letter vs Resume

The difference between Cover Letter and Resume is that a Cover Letter is a kind of introduction or greeting before your actual resume appears and is an optional document unless specified. In contrast, resumes are the most important documents required for applying for a job, and it is not at all optional.

Cover letter vs Resume

Cover Letters briefly introduce who you are and the position you want to apply to and gives a good reason why you think you are fit for the post.

While a resume is a detailed document which shows your complete work experience, education, skills, and other essential details required for the post.

Cover Letters are written in three-four paragraphs and are more subjective and friendly in tone.

While Resumes contain multiple headings and bullet points instead of paragraphs.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonCover LetterResume
MeaningA cover letter is an addressing document that gives a brief introduction, specifies how a person fits the selected job and complements the resume.A resume summarises all the education, work experience, certifications, skills, and talents a person possesses in detail, necessary for the specific job.
LengthCover letters address the recruiter and brief about the applicant and hence are written in not more than three-four paragraphs and a friendly tone.Resumes have multiple headings and sections like education, work experience, skills, certifications, etc., with various bullet points under them and are formal.
Addressed toCover letters are addressed to the recruiters like managers, HR Departments, etc.A resume contains statements about your personal information and education and is not directly addressed to a particular person.
ReasonCover letters are subjective and highlight crucial and relevant points and are used to grab the recruiter’s attention so that he goes ahead and reads your resume.Resumes are intended to provide the reader with in-depth details of your education, work experience, skills, merits, etc., for the recruiter to decide whether you fit the job.
Tone of addressingCover letters are written in a conversational tone.Resumes are comparatively written in a more professional tone.


What is Cover Letter?

A Cover letter is a single-page letter containing three-four paragraphs written to a recruiter, who may be a manager or the HR Department, or to the organization or company offering job vacancies.

Good cover letters encourage the person reading them to go ahead and read your resume.

Cover letters are formatted like business letters but have a more friendly tone.

They explain a person’s interest in a specific job and that he has the qualifications required to fill that post.

Usually, people send a cover letter as a part of their resume by default. Still, cover letters are an optional part of the job application process or could even be required as a part of the job application, depending on the recruiter.

Cover letters often give a chance to the applicant to demonstrate his personality through his words before showcasing his talents and skillsets through the resume.

Hence, cover letters are a starting point before the employer reads the resume.

Cover Letters contain bits of the information included in the resume.

Hence, sending a cover letter alongside your resume could project a person’s eagerness to get the specified job.

An exception could be that if the employer or the organization explicitly demands not to include a cover letter, then it is essential to follow the rules.

A cover letter should be written assuming that the employer will try to match it with the details in the resume and hence must include nothing more than stated.

Cover letters help employers form an attitude or impression about the candidate, which may or may not lead them to decide whether to open the resume.

A good study needs to be made about the position requirements you are applying for, and the cover letter needs to be drafted accordingly.

Cover letters are more subjective and allow the applicant to write his views on why he thinks he is fit for the position, what his values are, why he should be given a chance, and why he chose to apply to that particular organization or company.

cover letter

What is Resume?

A Resume is a brief document that gives an idea about a person’s educational information, skills, talents, certifications, and qualifications for a specific job.

Resumes generally summarise work experiences that tell the recruiter how experienced you are.

Resumes start with personal information like contact details and educational qualifications and then give a full view of the work experience and skills.

But, unlike cover letters, they are written in the third person and are mostly in bullet points rather than complete sentences.

The standard headings under a resume are:

  1. Personal Information
  2. Educational history
  3. Work experiences
  4. Certifications
  5. Other skills
  6. Professional skills

All the bullets under specific headings are written in reverse chronological order so that the recent ones are projected on the top.

Resumes are commonly known as biodata and Curriculum Vitae also.

The word ‘resume’ means ‘summary’ in French and is of one-two pages of an A-4 size or letter-size page.

Resumes are to be drafted keeping in mind the exact requirements the organization offering the job needs and should not include information that is insignificant to that post.

Resumes can be drafted in various formats. Some of the common ones are:

  1. Reverse Chronological resume: The bullet points are listed in descending order starting from the latest.
  2. Functional resume: Contains work experience and skills sorted according to the requirements of the skill area and job function.
  3. Online Resume: Recent development and a cost-effective method instead of stacking papers.

Main Differences Between Cover Letter and Resume

  1. Cover Letters are greetings or introduction letters that suggest who and what a person is, why he is interested in the job, and why he is qualified for it. At the same time, a resume summarises personal and educational qualifications and work experiences.
  2. The main difference between a cover letter and a resume is that a cover letter describes the qualifications in detail through sentences, while resumes list them through bullets.
  3. Cover letters are written in three to four paragraphs, while resumes are as long as one to two pages and are registered in bullet points.
  4. Writing a cover letter is more conversational and friendly, unlike a resume, where the tone is formal and professional.
  5. Cover Letters are addressed to specific persons like recruiters, while resumes are statements and are not explicitly addressed to a particular person.
Difference Between Cover Letter and Resume
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