What Is the Difference Between a Resume and a Cover Letter?

What Is the Difference Between
a Resume and a Cover Letter?

Around 40 million Americans are now unemployed following the Covid-19 crisis.

Unless a job asks you to submit an online application, you’ll send both a cover letter and a resume. At first glance, they both seem to cover the same content.

Image by Coffee Bean from Pixabay

So, what is the difference between a resume and a cover letter? Read on to find out.

What Does a Resume Do?

This is your in-depth list of work history and educational background. You can lay out where you’ve worked, what you’ve done, and what qualifications you’ve earned on your resume.

It’s important to focus on your achievements in a given role. That way, recruiters can see what skills you brought to the job.

You should also make space to list any valuable skills or other information a recruiter may need to know.

List what IT software you can use, or specific programs for the industry you work in. You can also include ‘soft’ skills like communication, interpersonal skills, or even empathy.

Use sections and bullet points to make your resume easy to navigate as a reader.

What Is the Role of a Cover Letter?

Think of your cover letter as your introduction. This is your chance to tailor your application to the vacancy (and the company).

Introduce who you are, and why you’re a good choice for the position. Highlight any specific experience that supports your application.

Cover letters will and should vary from application to application. You’ll be able to change the details depending on the job you want.

As a result, they can be more subjective than a resume. They’re the personalized part of your application.

The cover letter takes the format of an actual letter, so be sure to set yours out in the right way.

What Is the Difference Between a Resume and a Cover Letter?

One of the main differences is that your resume is largely impersonal. It’s like an advert about you. Think of it as your factsheet of ‘product features’ that you might download from a website.

Your cover letter is your chance to speak to the recruiter. You’re addressing them so you can cover the points you want to highlight.

In marketing speak, your cover letter is more like a sales page. You may even use it to address any objections they may have.

For example, if you’re a recent graduate, your resume may show you don’t have years of experience. Instead, use your cover letter to show how other experience you have is still relevant.

If you’re still unsure, consider using executive resume writing services to craft both of them for you.

Use the Right Document for the Right Purpose

If you’ve been asking “what is the difference between a resume and a cover letter?” Now you know.

Treat your resume as your factual list of achievements and qualifications. Use your cover letter to provide a tailored, more personal approach.

Each document should ‘speak’ to the other. That way, they give the best overall picture of your skills and why you’re a good fit for the job.