The Difference Between a Cover Letter and a Resume 

Cover letters and resumes

When it comes to job hunting, there are two main weapons in your arsenal: cover letters and resumes. And while both of these documents are important, they serve very different purposes. Your resume is a highly detailed account of your professional experience, qualifications, and skills. It is meant to be a comprehensive overview of everything you have to offer a potential employer. In contrast, your cover letter is a more concise document to introduce you and highlight your most relevant qualifications for the job.

Think of your resume as the factual foundation of your job application and your best cover letter as the sales pitch that will convince a hiring manager to give you an interview. This article will discuss the key differences between a cover letter and a resume with cover letter examples so you can use them to your advantage when applying for jobs.

What Is A Resume

A resume is a chronological account of your professional experience, starting with your most recent job and working backward. It should include the names of the companies you have worked for, your job titles, and a brief description of your duties and responsibilities in each role.

A comprehensive overview of your qualifications, skills, and accomplishments. Your resume should include relevant education or training and any professional awards or recognition you have earned. It is also a good idea to include a list of skills related to the job you are applying for.

Because a resume is meant to be a concise overview of your professional experience, it should not exceed two pages. If you have a lot of experience, you may need to condense it to the most relevant and recent information.

What Is A Cover Letter

A great cover letter introduces you to a potential employer and highlights your most relevant qualifications for the job. Unlike a resume, which is primarily factual, a perfect cover letter allows you to tell a story about your professional journey and how it has prepared you for the role you are applying for.

A well-written cover letter will give a potential employer a glimpse of your communication style and ability to convey information succinctly. A cover letter sample is usually one page in length. Because a cover letter is meant to be a brief introduction, a successful cover letter should not exceed one page.

How Can I Use Each?

Now that we’ve gone over the key differences between a resume and a cover letter, let’s look at how job seekers can use them to their advantage when applying to a job ad.

When submitting a job application, you will usually be asked to provide a resume and a career change cover letter. In some cases, an employer may only ask for a resume. In this case, your cover letter would be unnecessary, and you should focus on your resume.

When submitting a job application, it is important to follow the instructions carefully. If an employer asks for a resume and a cover letter, be sure to submit both documents. If an employer only asks for a resume, only submit a resume.

Things To Avoid When Writing A Resume

When writing your resume,

  • Avoid using first-person pronouns like “I” or “me.” This document is meant to be a factual overview of your professional experience, so it should be written in the third person.
  • Avoid using jargon or abbreviations that a potential employer may not be familiar with. Use clear and concise language that can be easily understood.
  • Finally, avoid including personal information on your resumes, such as your age, marital status, or religion. This information is irrelevant to your professional experience and could discriminate against you.

Things To Avoid When Writing A Cover Letter

When writing your cover letter,

  • Avoid repeating the information from your resume. Your general cover letter should supplement your resume, not duplicate it.
  • Finally, avoid including personal information on your cover letters, such as your age, marital status, or religion. This information is irrelevant to your professional experience and could discriminate against you.

Best Practices

Now that we’ve covered what to include and avoid in your resume and cover letter, let’s look at some best practices for writing each document.

When writing your resume, be sure to:

  1. Include information on your professional experience, education, and skills
  2. Use clear and concise language
  3. Avoid using first-person pronouns
  4. Use reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent experience

When writing your cover letter, be sure to:

  1. Introduce yourself and explain why you are interested in the job title
  2. Highlight your most relevant qualifications for the job
  3. Use clear and concise language
  4. Avoid repeating information from your resume in your final paragraph

If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way to writing a strong resume and cover letter that will help you get the job you want.

Benefits of a well-written resume and cover letter

There are many benefits of having a well-written resume and cover letter.

  • A well-written resume will:
  • Highlight your most relevant qualifications and experience for the job
  • Help you to stand out from other candidates

A well-written cover letter will:

  • Introduce you to the employer and explain why you are interested in the position
  • Highlight your most relevant qualifications for the job
  • Convince the employer to read your resume

A well-written resume and cover letter will give you a better chance of getting your desired job. So, if you’re applying for jobs, take the time to write a strong resume and cover letter.

Conclusion

A well-written resume and cover letter are essential when applying for jobs. They can help you to stand out from other candidates and convince employers to read your resume. Following the tips in this article, you can write resumes and cover letters that impress potential employers.

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Arno Markus Resume Writer

About the author

Arno Markus ​BA, MSc., CPRW

Arno Markus Resume Writer

Arno Markus ​BA, MSc., CPRW
iCareerSolutions CEO and Founder
arno@icareersolutions.com
1-914-297-8807‬

Arno Markus is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and founder of iCareerSolutions. Arno has helped $50K to $2M salary employees through their entire job search, including creating a resume that got them noticed and landing interviews for the position they wanted. 

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