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Difference Between Cover Letter and Resume (With Table)

Cover Letter vs Resume

Cover Letters and Resumes are one of the most important and vital documents that are required during the process of seeking jobs. These documents showcase the personality, talent, experience, and skillsets of applying individuals.

Cover Letters briefly introduces who you are, 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 important details required for the post.

Cover Letters are usually written in three-four paragraphs and are more subjective and friendly in tone. While Resumes contain multiple headings and bullet points instead of paragraphs.

The main difference between a 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, while resumes are the most important documents required for applying to a job and it is not at all optional.


 

Comparison Table Between Cover Letter and Resume (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonCover LetterResume
MeaningA cover letter is an addressing document that gives a brief introduction and specifies how a person is fit for the specified job and complements the resume.A Resume is a summary of all the education, work experience, certifications, skills, and talents possessed by a person in detail, necessary for the specific job.
LengthCover letters usually address the recruiter and briefs about the applicant and hence is 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 bullets points under them and are formal in nature.
Addressed toCover letters are addressed to the recruiters like managers, HR Departments, etc.A resume contains statements about your personal information and education, etc, and is not directly addressed to a particular person.
ReasonCover letters are subjective in nature and highlight key and relevant points and are used to grab the recruiters' attention so that he goes ahead and reads your resume.Resumes have the sole intention to provide the reader with in-depth details of your education, work experience, skills, merits, etc for the recruiter to decide whether you are fit for the job or not.
Tone of addressingCover letters are usually written in a conversational tone.Resumes are comparatively written in a more professional tone.

 

What is Cover Letter?

A Cover letter is usually 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 it to go ahead and read your resume.

Cover letters are usually 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, but 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 act as a start point before the employer reads the resume.

Cover Letters usually contain bits of the information that are included in the resume. Hence, sending a cover letter alongside your resume could project the eagerness that a person has in getting the specified job.

An exception to this could be that if the employer or the organization specifically demands not to include a cover letter then, it is important to follow the rules. A cover letter should be written with an assumption that the employer will try to match it with the details in the resume and hence must include nothing more than stated in the resume.

Cover letters help the employers form an attitude or impression about the candidate, which may or may not, lead him to decide whether to open the resume. Always, a good study needs to be made about the requirements of the position you are applying for, and the cover letter needs to be drafted accordingly.

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Cover letters are more subjective in nature and hence allows 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 also why he chose to apply to that particular organization or company.

 

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 certain job. Resumes are generally summaries of work experiences that tell the recruiter how experienced you are.

Resumes start with personal information like contact details, 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 common 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 usually is of one-two pages of an A-4 size or letter-size pages. 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 a descending order starting from the latest.
  2. Functional resume: Contains work experience and skills that are 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

  • 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. While a resume is a summary of personal and educational qualifications and work experiences.
  • 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 out through bullets.
  • Cover letters are usually written in three-four paragraphs while resumes are as long as one-two pages and are written in bullet points.
  • The tone of writing a cover letter is rather more conversational and friendly, unlike a resume where the tone is formal and professional.
  • Cover Letters are addressed to specific persons like the recruiters, while resumes are statements and are not specifically addressed to a particular person.


 

Conclusion

Both Cover Letter and Resume are an important part of the process of the job application. Cover Letters give a brief idea of what the applicant desires and why he is applying for the job, while a resume indicates in detail all the information about his educational as well as work-related experience.

While cover letters are usually friendly in nature, resumes are formal and have a professional tone. Cover letters are usually written in the first person, while resumes are written in bullet points rather than sentences and hence preferably in the third person.


 

Word Cloud for Difference Between Cover Letter and Resume

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Cover Letter and Resume. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.