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  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • Resume vs Cover Letter: How...

Resume vs Cover Letter: How They're Different

8 min read · Updated on January 25, 2024

Ronda Suder

Knowing how a resume and cover letter work together can increase your chances of standing out

A resume and cover letter are essential job marketing tools that allow you to grab the attention of prospective employers and make a solid first impression. Where a resume provides an objective and concise overview of your work history, knowledge, skills, and overall qualifications, a cover letter formally introduces you to the employer and summarizes your work experiences related to your resume. It also discusses why you're interested in the position and why you're a suitable candidate. 

These two complementary documents are similar in a few ways and very different in others. In this post, we'll cover the following to provide clarity around cover letters vs resumes:

Cover letter vs resume: what are the similarities?

Cover letter vs resume: what are the differences?

What can a cover letter convey that a resume can't?

What's the difference between a cover letter, a resume, and an application letter? 

Cover letter vs resume: what are the similarities? 

As noted, a cover letter and resume are both career marketing tools, provided to prospective employers, that give the opportunity to make a strong first impression. Here are a few additional similarities between the two:

Both are meant to sell your skills and experience to entice employers to bring you in for an interview

The heading and contact information provided in a cover letter should match what's provided in a resume

When both a cover letter and resume are submitted as part of a job application, they're submitted together

Each document should use a similar style in terms of colors, font type , and font size to provide a cohesive package

Both documents should be tailored to each job you apply to

Both your cover letter and resume should include keywords from the job description.

These few points are where the similarities between a cover letter and a resume end. 

When considering a cover letter vs resume, there are five significant differences between them. They are

Layout and structure

Tonality , tense and orientation.

A resume is a requirement and necessity for virtually all job applications. A cover letter, on the other hand, is highly recommended but isn't necessarily required unless the job application specifically requests the inclusion of a cover letter. It's also possible to come across some job postings that specifically ask you not to include a cover letter. If you come across such an instance, even if you're tempted, don't include it unless you want to risk immediately going into the “no” pile. 

Unless specifically asked not to, in most instances it's in your best interest to include a cover letter with your resume. It shows you care about the position and can help to make your application stand out from the competition. 

The purpose of a resume is to provide the employer with a concise overview of your relevant work history, skills, and other qualifications. It focuses on your past and how it applies to your potential to succeed in a new job. 

Your cover letter should focus only on the job you're applying to - it serves as an introduction to you and your resume. With your cover letter, you have the opportunity to showcase a bit of your personality, further summarize your resume, and emphasize why you're interested in, and the right fit for, the job. 

In a nutshell, a resume shows the employer how your experience fits the role and a cover letter tells them why it does. 

Another main difference between a cover letter vs resume is the layout and structure of each. A resume typically uses bullet points without paragraphs or large chunks of text. There are also standard resume formats to choose from. A cover letter is written in paragraph form, with a layout similar to any professional business letter you might write.

Resume layout and structure

A resume uses one of three resume formats - reverse chronological, functional, or hybrid - with specific sections that are required within each format. The most commonly used is the chronological format, which includes the following sections:

Contact Information

Resume Headline

Resume Summary

Core Competencies

Work Experience 

Additional optional sections sometimes included on a resume are IT Skills, Volunteer Experience, Special Projects, Certifications, Training, Awards, Publications, and Hobbies & Interests. 

For more tips on how to write an effective resume with several resume examples to review, refer to “ How to Make a Resume: Beginner's Writing Guide with Examples .”

Cover letter layout and structure

A cover letter ranges from 300 to 500 words and should be written using the same format as any professional business letter. The key sections of a cover letter include:

The header with the date, the employer's address, and your contact information

A salutation directed to a specific individual when possible

An introduction paragraph where you introduce yourself, share why you're interested, and emphasize why you're an ideal candidate

The body paragraphs - the most crucial section of your cover letter - where you summarize your qualifications and how they make you an ideal candidate to meet the job requirements and demands, in one to two paragraphs

A conclusion paragraph , where you'll conclude with appreciation and a call to action

The closing , with a professional closing salutation and your name

For more detailed information on how to write a cover letter with a cover letter example, refer to “ How to Write a Cover Letter (With Example) .” 

Your cover letter, unlike your resume, addresses the employer directly and with a tone that's more personable than a resume. The exact tone you go with for your cover letter should reflect the industry and organization to which you're applying, though it's still good to showcase some personality. When doing so, ensure you still keep it professional and don't be too personal to the point that it distracts from the letter's overall goal and ability to leave a positive impression. 

The tone of a resume is straightforward and objective. It offers the reader specific details about your past work history, key qualifications, and skills. 

A resume is mostly past-oriented, meaning that it focuses largely on your past work history and experiences. Much of a resume is written in the past tense, as well. 

A cover letter is written primarily in the present tense. The focus of a cover letter is more on the present and future, including mentioning current and future objectives. 

What can a cover letter explain that a resume cannot?

As noted, where a resume shows how you're a good fit for the job, a cover letter can discuss why you're a good fit. Also, a cover letter can explain details about your resume that you might not have had space for on the resume. For example, if you listed a work experience bullet point with a great accomplishment, yet you weren't able to highlight the challenges you overcame for that significant achievement, that might be something to include in the cover letter if it adds value and is relevant. 

Cover letter vs resume vs application letter

In addition to a cover letter and resume being part of your arsenal of career marketing tools, you might also be wondering where an application letter fits in - especially since some confuse an application letter with a cover letter. 

What is the difference between a resume and an application letter?

As mentioned, a resume is a document required for job applications and provides a succinct overview of your work history and credentials. An application letter provides a detailed overview of your work history and credentials in a letter format and is typically not used in conjunction with a resume.

What is the difference between a cover letter and an application letter?

Though a cover letter and application letter share similar features, they're different in content and purpose. A cover letter complements a resume and provides an introduction to yourself and an overview as to why your qualifications make you a good fit for the job. It's sent with the resume as part of the application process. 

An application letter is more detailed and dives deeper into an applicant's work history and qualifications. It's common to send an application letter to an employer of interest, even if they don't have any job openings at the time. In other words, it's sent outside of the application process and often expresses interest in working for the organization. 

The structure is similar to a cover letter, because they're both professional business letters. However, since the intent of a cover letter and application letter differs, the content focus is different between the two. 

Cover letter vs resume: yes, you need both (with rare exceptions)

Now you know the similarities and differences between a cover letter vs resume and the purpose of each. You also know that, in most instances, it's best to submit a cover letter with your resume when applying for jobs. Including both helps you to set yourself apart from others in a tough job market and make a positive first impression on hiring teams! 

Wondering if your resume and cover letter complement each other the way they should? Our team of TopResume experts can help you to ensure that both showcase the correct elements to help you land the interviews you desire. You can even submit your resume for a free review   to get started!

Recommended reading: 

How to List Certifications on a Resume (with Examples)

How to Start a Cover Letter that Grabs Attention

How to Include Relevant Coursework on a Resume (with Examples)

Related Articles:

Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

How to Create a Resume With No Education

Why You Lose When You Lie on Your Resume: Learning From Mina Chang

See how your resume stacks up.

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More From Forbes

Cover letter vs resume: here are the key differences.

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As a job seeker you need to be ready with both a resume and a cover letter.

You need both a resume and cover letter in your job search.

Most job applications require a resume right away, and the best resumes are matched to the jobs you are targeting. Some jobs posted on LinkedIn allow you to “Easy Apply” with just your LinkedIn profile (so you should optimize your LinkedIn profile too) but even with these jobs you often have the opportunity to attach a resume in addition to your LinkedIn profile. If your resume has more details (or different details) than your LinkedIn profile, you’ll want your application to include both.

Not every job posting requests or even allows a cover letter, but sometimes it’s required to move forward. Even when it’s optional, submitting a cover letter puts an additional piece of marketing yourself in front of prospective employers, so take that opportunity (and do what you can to maximize the chance that employers will read your cover letter ). The cover letter is not redundant to your resume. Here are the key differences:

1 - Structure of a resume vs cover letter

The most obvious difference is that the cover letter looks different than the resume. The cover letter is a business letter, or even if it’s the shorter, more casual email version, it’s still structured like a letter. On the other hand, the resume is structured like an outline of your career trajectory. Sections include your contact information, a summary of highlights, experience, education and additional information, such as technical skills, volunteer work and interests.

2 - Voice of a resume vs cover letter

Since the cover letter and resume are structured differently, your voice (i.e., how you express yourself) comes across differently with each tool. The resume is written in bullet points, which is sufficient for getting the information across, but not so much your personality. Don’t be cute with your resume in an effort to show your personality – it just looks unprofessional. I once received a resume printed on a page with a banana (yes, the fruit) in the background. The resume header said, “I’m ripening”. Perhaps, the resume writer wanted to different enough to be remembered. I do remember that resume, but not for the right reasons!

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Your personality has more of a chance to shine through in your cover letter. The cover letter is written in prose, so even though it also shares information like the resume, the details unfold in complete sentences – ideally like a story, if you write a compelling cover letter. You are not bound to specific sections like the resume, with experience in one place, education in another, etc. Unlike the resume, you are also not restricted to reverse chronological order. You can decide to group information differently and to jump around in time, depending on what details you want to highlight. The choices you make reflect your voice and message.

3 - How employers use the resume vs cover letter

Given the different ways a cover letter and resume dispense information, employers use these tools differently. Recruiters skim resumes in second, looking at your career chronology – is there a clear progression of increasing responsibility? Are there long employment gaps or short job tenures that need further explanation? Do the skills and experience listed on the resume match what the job requires?

The cover letter showcases your communication skills and style. If the job opening requires writing ability, the cover letter is the first proof point employers see. The cover letter also can highlight things that aren’t obvious from the resume or anticipate and explain potential objections to your candidacy. For example, if you have employment gaps or short job tenures that an employer will see from your resume, you can explain what you accomplished during your unemployed time, or that your short job tenures were because you followed your mentor from job-to-job. If your relevant skills and experience is from school or other non-work activity, your cover letter can highlight these in a way that may get overlooked in the resume.

4 - How you should use your resume vs cover letter

Since the cover letter and resume have such different structures, voice and impact on the employer, you need to differentiate how you are using these tools. Do you thoughtfully choose what to include in your cover letter and not just summarize what’s already in your resume? Does your cover letter highlight the skills and experience that match your dream job? Does your cover letter explain away any red flags from your resume?

Your resume can serve as an audit of your career. Does your experience section show progress over time? Are the results and responsibilities you elaborate on in each job tangible and translatable to the jobs you are targeting? Does your education reflect continuous learning (or are you at least learning new skills on the job)? Is your Summary right at the top of the resume a reflection of your range of experience and expertise, as well as directly relevant to the level and scope of job you want?

A strong resume and cover letter are just one part of your job search kit

You need both a resume and a cover letter. You also need a strong LinkedIn profile, not just for Easy Apply jobs, but also because, when you network during your job search, people will look you up online. Then, since you’ll be networking, you need a strong networking pitch to introduce yourself. If these marketing tools get you in the door, you’ll need strong interviewing skills (e.g., starting strong , not rambling , answering difficult questions ) to land the job.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine

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Resume VS Cover Letter in 2024 [Detailed Guide & Examples!]

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Navigating the job market in 2024 can be tricky, with every detail in your job application making a huge difference. 

In such a situation, you might find yourself wondering about the roles of resumes and cover letters and how each can help your job hunt. 

While a resume showcases your skills and experiences, a cover letter adds a personal touch, explaining why you're the perfect fit. But blending these two effectively isn't always straightforward.

But worry not! 

This guide will show you how to create a spotless application by telling you all about resumes vs cover letters, including:

  • Resume Vs Cover Letter: 3 Key Differences 

Resume Vs Cover Letter: 3 Key Similarities

  • What to Include in Your Resume and Cover Letter
  • Resume and Cover Letter Examples

Let’s dive in!  

Resume Vs Cover Letter: 3 Key Differences

When you're on the hunt for a new job, understanding the difference between a resume and a cover letter is crucial. 

They might seem like they serve the same purpose at first glance, but they're actually quite different in terms of format, tone, and purpose. 

Let's break down these key differences to help you leverage each one effectively in your job application: 

#1. Format 

The main difference between a resume and a cover letter is how they’re formatted. A resume’s format is structured, almost like a database of your professional life. It's a concise, bullet-pointed list showcasing your work experience, skills, and educational background. 

The idea is to make it easy for the employer to scan through your qualifications quickly. Think of it as a highlight reel of your career, with each point clear and to the point.

On the other hand, a cover letter has a more narrative style. It's your chance to tell a story about your professional journey. Here, you're not just listing your achievements and skills; you're explaining them. 

You can dive into details about key experiences, how you tackled challenges, and why you're a great fit for the role. While your resume is factual and to the point, your cover letter allows your personality and enthusiasm to shine through.

What you include in a cover letter is also different from a resume. In your cover letter , you're linking your skills and experiences directly to what the job requires, using examples and anecdotes. Meanwhile, your resume serves as a straightforward record of your professional path and competencies.

resume formats

The tone is where you see the difference between a resume and a cover letter. 

A resume is all about being professional and straightforward. You're sticking to the facts: your past job titles , the skills you've mastered, and your educational background. It's like a formal report about you, so there's not much room for personal flair or storytelling.

In contrast, your cover letter is where you can be a bit more relaxed and personal. 

This doesn't mean you should be overly casual, but it's definitely the place to add a bit of your personality. You can write in the first person, share your enthusiasm for the job, and talk about why you're excited about the opportunity. It's like having a conversation with the hiring manager, telling them why you'd be a great fit for the job.

So, while your resume is the straight-to-the-point , no-nonsense part of your application, your cover letter is where you get to be more expressive. 

#3. Purpose

When it comes to the purpose of a resume and a cover letter, it's all about showing different sides of your professional story. 

Your resume is the backbone of your job application; it's essential. It gives a clear, concise rundown of your professional journey. Basically, it's your way of saying, "Here's what I've done and what I'm good at." You can apply for a job with just a resume, but it's just a part of the whole picture.

The cover letter is what fills that picture. It complements your resume by filling in the gaps and adding context to your experiences. This is your space to explain why you're interested in the job and how your background makes you a great fit. It's like adding color to a black-and-white photo. 

By writing a cover letter , you're showing hiring managers that you're not just tossing your resume into every job opening you see. You're taking the time to present a complete, well-thought-out application.

So, while your resume is key, including a cover letter can be a game-changer. It shows you're a dedicated job seeker who understands the value of presenting a full picture. Hiring managers often look for this effort as it demonstrates you’re serious about the role. In a stack of many resumes, a well-crafted cover letter can be the thing that makes you stand out .

If navigating the world of job applications can be tricky, it helps to know that both resumes and cover letters also share some common ground.

While they have their differences, they also have key similarities like length, the need to be tailored to the job, and using matching templates. 

Understanding these similarities can help you create a cohesive and compelling job application package:

#1. Length 

First up, let's talk about length. Both your resume and cover letter should be pretty brief . 

The recommended resume length is usually one page long . You can have a two-page resume , but that's only if you have tons of experience and are applying for an executive position. 

As a rule of thumb, though, your resume should be all about being concise and to the point. You want to make sure every word counts, especially since hiring managers don't spend a lot of time on each resume.

Your cover letter should also be short and sweet. Aim for about three to four paragraphs , and don’t go over one page. You're not writing your autobiography here; you're giving a snapshot of why you're the right fit for the job. It's your chance to highlight the most important parts of your resume and add a bit of personality, but remember, brevity is key.

So, whether it's your resume or cover letter, keep it tight. You want to give just enough to spark interest and make them say, "Let's call this person for an interview."

#2. Tailoring it to the Job

Now, let's talk about tailoring these documents to the job. 

This is super important for both your resume and cover letter. You can't just send the same version to every job opening; it needs to feel like it was made just for that specific role. For your resume, this means highlighting the experience and skills that are most relevant to the job you're applying for. You've got to show them that what you've done lines up with what they need.

Your cover letter needs this custom touch, too. It's your chance to draw a clear line between your skills and experiences and the job's requirements. Here, you're telling them, "Hey, see these things on my resume? This is how they make me a great fit for your job." It's about making the connection between you and the role crystal clear.

So, whether it's tweaking your resume to highlight certain experiences or writing a cover letter that speaks directly to the job ad, tailoring each document is key. It shows that you're not just looking for any job; you're interested in this job.

Looking for a new job? Be sure to read the ultimate guide to the job hunt for help along the way!

#3. Matching Templates 

Lastly, there's the visual aspect – using matching templates for your resume and cover letter. When these two pieces of your application match, it gives everything a cohesive and professional look. 

Think of it like wearing a matching outfit to an interview; it just looks more put together. Using the same design, colors, and font style in both documents creates a strong, unified brand for you as a professional. It's a subtle touch, but it can make your application stand out.

Having a matching set also shows attention to detail. It tells the hiring manager that you've put thought and effort into your application. It's not just about the content; it's also about presenting it in a way that's pleasing to the eye and easy to read.

If you're not a design whiz, don't worry. There are tools out there that can help.

matching resume and cover letter

For example, Novorésumé offers matching templates for resumes and cover letters. This makes it super easy to create a professional and stylish-looking application package. 

With a few clicks, you can have a resume and cover letter that look like they were made to go together, because, well, they were!

What to Include in Your Resume

Your resume is your professional story on a page. It's crucial to include the right information to showcase your skills and experiences effectively. Here's a breakdown of what to include:

  • Contact Information : Start with the basics - your name, phone number, email, and LinkedIn profile. Make sure your email sounds professional and not like something you came up with in high school (e.g.: [email protected]). 
  • Resume Summary or Objective : This is a brief statement at the top of your resume. It should highlight your career achievements and aspirations. Tailor it to reflect how you're a great fit for the specific job you're applying for.
  • Professional Experience: List your past jobs in reverse chronological order. Include your title, the company name, dates of employment, and a brief description of your responsibilities and achievements in each role.
  • Skills (Hard and Soft): Highlight both your technical skills (like programming languages or marketing tools) and soft skills (like communication or problem-solving ). Tailor these to match the job description.
  • Education : Include your most recent and relevant educational experiences. List the degree, the institution, and the year of graduation. You can also mention academic honors or extracurricular activities if they're relevant (I.e.: if you’re a recent graduate or entry-level professional).
  • Optional Sections : If you have leftover space on your resume, you can include optional sections such as any languages you speak, any volunteer work you’ve done, your certifications or personal projects, as well as your hobbies and interests .

Are you wondering if you should write a CV or resume ? Read our article to find out what the differences are!

What to Include in Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is your chance to make a personal connection with the employer. It complements your resume by bringing your experiences to life. Here’s what you should include:

  • Contact Information: Just like your resume, start with your name, phone number, and email. No need for your address, but including your LinkedIn profile could be a nice touch.
  • Addressing the Hiring Manager: It's important to address your cover letter to the right person. If you can, find out the name of the hiring manager and address them directly (like "Dear Ms. Smith"). This personal touch shows you've put in the extra effort and makes your letter feel more tailored and respectful.
  • Introduction: Grab their attention. Start with a concise introduction about who you are and why you're interested in the role. A compelling opener can make a big difference.
  • Why You’re Interested in the Role: Explain what drew you to the job. Be specific about why the company or the role excites you. This shows you've done your homework.
  • Your Relevant Experience and Skills: Here's where you match your skills to the job description. Use specific examples from your past to show how you've used these skills effectively to show the hiring manager why they should hire you.
  • Conclusion and Call to Action : Wrap it up by reiterating your interest and thank the reader for their time. A proactive closing, like mentioning your eagerness to discuss your application in an interview, leaves a strong final impression.

cover letter structure

13 Resume Examples

Are you wondering what a great resume looks like? Here are 13 resumes for different professions to inspire you:

#1. Business Analyst Resume Example

Business Analyst Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a business analyst resume here.

#2. Digital Marketing Resume Example

Digital Marketing Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a digital marketing resume here.

#3. Software Engineer Resume Example

Software Engineer Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a software engineer resume here.

#4. Construction Project Manager Resume Example

Construction Project Manager Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a construction project manager resume here.

#5. Customer Service Resume Example

Customer Service Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a customer service resume here.

#6. High School Resume Example

High School Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a high school resume here.

#7. Student Resume Example

Student Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a student resume here.

#8. Server Resume Example

Server Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a server resume here.

#9. Actor Resume Example

Actor Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing an actor resume here.

#10. Web Developer Resume Example

Web Developer Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a web developer resume here.

#11. Engineering Resume Example

Engineering Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing an engineering resume here.

#12. Computer Science Resume Example

Computer Science Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing a computer science resume here.

#13. Architect Resume Example 

Architect Resume Example

Check out our full guide to writing an architect resume here.

13 Cover Letter Examples

And here are some cover letter examples to take your application from great to perfect:

#1. Customer Service Cover Letter

Customer Service Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a customer service cover letter here.

#2. Marketing Executive Cover Letter

Marketing Executive Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a marketing executive cover letter here.

#3. Medical Assistant Cover Letter

Medical Assistant Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a medical assistant cover letter here.

#4. Consultant Cover Letter

Consultant Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a consultant cover letter here.

#5. College Student Cover Letter

College Student Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a college student cover letter here.

#6. Retail Cover Letter

Retail Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a retail cover letter here.

#7. Team Leader Cover Letter

Team Leader Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a team leader cover letter here.

#8. Actor Cover Letter

Actor Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing an actor cover letter here.

#9. Digital Marketing Cover Letter

Digital Marketing Cover Letter

#10. Executive Assistant Cover Letter

Executive Assistant Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing an executive assistant cover letter here.

#11. Finance Cover Letter

Finance Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a finance cover letter here.

#12. Graphic Designer Cover Letter

Graphic Designer Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing a graphic designer cover letter here.

#13. IT Cover Letter

IT Cover Letter

Check out our full guide to writing an IT cover letter here.

Key Takeaways 

And that’s a wrap on everything you need to know about cover letters and resumes. 

Before you go and perfect your application based on what you just read, here’s a rundown of the main points we covered in this article:

  • Resumes and cover letters differ in the way you format them, the tone you use when writing them, and the purpose they serve. 
  • On the other hand, they also have similarities. For example, they’re typically the same length and need to be tailored to the job you’re applying for. 
  • On your resume, make sure to include your contact information, resume summary, work experience, education, skills, and other optional sections. 
  • Meanwhile, in your cover letter, you should first include a header with both your and the hiring manager’s contact information. Then you should address the hiring manager, write a captivating introduction, talk about your achievements and skills, and wrap up with a call to action and a professional signature line. 

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Cover Letter vs Resume: 7 Key Differences and the Art of Writing Them (+Examples)

  • Nikoleta Kuhejda , 
  • Updated November 10, 2023 7 min read

Here's an idea: the resume vs cover letter is a lot like salt vs pepper. Let me explain.

Your resume is like salt — it's a key ingredient required to prepare any dish. Or in this case, to score a job.

The cover letter, on the other hand, is like pepper — you use it to give your dish (your resume) a bit more flavor.

But in the end, salt and pepper work best when used together.  Because of that, it might seem a bit silly to compare the two. Let's do it anyway!

Let’s start with an infographic that shows the key differences between the two.  

What is a resume?

Resume is the most common career document that job seekers use. If you’re going to apply for a job, you'll be required to provide one.

In the simplest terms, the resume is  a concise summary of your education, work history, skills, credentials and achievements . It gives hiring managers a rough idea about who you are as a professional, what’s your work history and your key achievements.

It’s usually one page long and written in chronological order.

But in general, you have three options to choose from — besides chronological, there’s also functional or hybrid resume format . It’s up to you to figure out which one works the best for you.

What should a resume include?

  • Contact information: Your resume should begin with your contact details. Add your full name, title, address (optional), email address and phone number. In some countries, it's also common to include birthdate, nationality and photo.
  • Professional summary or resume objective : Describe yourself in three sentences. Open with your job title and highlight your key skills and qualifications.
  • Work experience: The most important part of your resume. List relevant work history in reverse chronological order. Add 3-5 bullet points under each entry to describe your key achievements.
  • Education: If you’re a seasoned professional, it’s enough for you to mention your highest degree and school name. If you’re a student or a fresh graduate, feel free to include more details like relevant coursework, grants, or extracurricular activities.
  • Skills: Pick relevant skills and divide them into several subsections like computer skills, soft skills, languages, and others.
  • Additional sections: Certifications, courses, awards, strengths, publications, conferences, hobbies, social media, references, etc. All of these are voluntary.

If you're not sure what to write in specific sections of your resume, you can just check our step-by-step resume guide .

But if you prefer watching videos to reading, you might also like this 5-minute video guide to writing the perfect resume. 

What is a cover letter?

Also something that you use to help you get a job… But!

Firstly, it's not always required.

Secondly, even if it is, it only provides additional information to your resume and should never repeat the same content.

I t allows you to explain other things that are impossible to express through the resume, such as :

  • explanation why you’re applying for the position
  • supporting evidence to why you’d make a good fit
  • examples how you can be beneficial to the company
  • details about employment gap or less work experience
  • your personal story
  • your motivation and ambitions

You normally attach it along with your resume and it serves as your introduction to a hiring manager. The ideal cover letter length is 3-4 paragraphs.

What should a cover letter include?

  • Date and contact information: List your contact details such as full name, title, email, phone number, address (optional), and the date at the top of the page. Also, add company’s information such as name of the company, department and address.
  • Headline: Use numbers, questions, or interesting adjectives. Something like "5 Ways I Can Help You Improve Your Company’s Marketing."
  • Personalized greeting: Research the hiring manager's name online — LinkedIn is the perfect tool for this. If you fail to find it, use “ Dear Sir/Madam” .
  • 1st Paragraph: Introduction: Use this space to introduce yourself in more detail and explain why this job is exciting to you.
  • 2nd Paragraph: Why you’re a great fit: Write a short summary of your career and skills, and tailor it to fit the company's needs.
  • 3rd Paragraph: Why the company is a great fit for you: Let them know why do they appeal to you. What excites you about working there? What do you want to learn?
  • Closing paragraph: Finish strong and repeat why you’re a great fit (points 5 and 6). Also, explain how and when you’re going to contact them.
  • Signature: Use a formal sign-off like " Yours faithfully" (US English) or " Yours sincerely"  (British English) + your full name.

Take the readers on an exciting journey, don't tell them what they already know! Just try to answer the basic questions: Why you? Why this company? Why this role? 

7 differences between the cover letter and resume

 
compulsoryeither optional or required
provide information about your work history and qualificationsintroduce yourself and convince the hiring manager you’re the right fit for the position
summary of skills, work experience, education and accomplishmentskey qualifications you have for the specific job, background info
objective factssubjective interests, motivations and ambitions
multiple sections with bullet pointsletter with 3-4 full paragraphs
professionalmore conversational
usually 1-2 pagesusually 1/2 page

Type of document: When you’re applying for a job, you're normally asked to provide a resume. That’s a basic document hiring managers use to filter job candidates. On the other hand, cover letters, while often required, are sometimes optional. This depends on the requirements for the specific job.

Purpose: The purpose of your resume is to summarize your work history and qualifications. Whereas the main purpose of your cover letter is to sell those qualifications. It should introduce yourself to the hiring manager and show how your experience and skills make you a great match for the job.

Content: Your resume should contain key information about your work history and professional background. A cover letter should help the hiring manager to interpret that information. For instance, you may have an employment gap on your resume and in your cover letter, you can explain why.

Information:  Any resume is mostly about facts. In contrast, your cover letter should contain more subjective information, such as reasons for applying for that job, why you’re passionate about your industry or why you’d make a good fit. It’s a place where you can show a bit of your personality.

Format: A resume is divided into multiple sections like Work history , Education , Skills , etc. and should use bullet points under each section. On the other hand, a cover letter is written in a letter format and consists of 3-4 full paragraphs. It includes heading, salutation, introduction, body content, conclusion, and your signature.

Tone: Resumes have more professional and formal tone. In your cover letter, you can use a more conversational tone and give it a more personal touch. This goes hand in hand with the fact that resumes are rather objective and cover letters subjective.

Length: Your resume should be one page long. This of course, depends on where you are in your career. But your cover letter should never go past 3/4 of a page (no matter what your career level is).

Christy's word of advice

Even if the cover letter is not always read, it’s still considered a courtesy to include one, particular by smaller companies who are more likely to manually review each application. Some online applications only allow you to upload one document, so in that case you can either merge your cover letter and resume into one file, or just submit the resume (avoid merging both into one file otherwise, as they serve different purposes and are weighted differently by ATS). If the ad just asks for a resume, you can probably get away with no cover letter.

Christy Morgan, Resident HR Expert

How cover letter and resume complement each other

Although there are multiple differences between the two, they complement each other.

Simply put —  think of your resume as an outline for your cover letter story.

Along the similar lines, you can also think of your  cover letter  as a handbook to your resume. It allows you to translate raw data from your resume into an easy-to-read letter demonstrating your key skills and abilities. Ultimately, the purpose of your cover letter is to get your resume read.

They should also complement each other in the terms of design. Make sure your cover letter template matches the resume template you chose. It makes you look more professional. (For instance, Kickresume allows you to do that.)

In the end, both documents will give you a chance to deliver your “elevator pitch” and help you score a job interview.

Cover letter and resume examples

Let’s now take a look at how it should be done in practice. Below you can find a resume and cover letter example written by a real job seeker who scored a real job in a real company (it's all very real, true story). 

These examples can teach you a bit about content and style of your resume and cover letter. You can even use them as your first drafts to help you get started.

Marketing and Brand Manager at American Eagle Outfitters (Resume Example)

This resume sample was contributed by a real person who got hired with Kickresume’s help.

Marketing and Brand Manager at American Eagle Outfitters (Cover Letter Example)

This cover letter sample was provided by a real person who got hired with Kickresume’s help.

Still need some more inspiration? Visit our resume examples and cover letter examples libraries.

Resumes? Cover letters?

Our AI writer can do it all.

You can even transform your LinkedIn profile into a polished, professional resume . Our tool streamlines the process, helping you create a compelling document that perfectly showcases your skills and experience.

A journalist by trade, a writer by fate. Nikoleta went from writing for media outlets to exploring the world of content creation with Kickresume and helping people get closer to the job of their dreams. Her insights and career guides have been published by The Female Lead, College Recruiter, and ISIC, among others. Nikoleta holds a Master's degree in Journalism from the Comenius University in Bratislava. When she’s not writing or (enthusiastically) pestering people with questions, you can find her traveling or sipping on a cup of coffee.

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

is a resume and cover letter the same

  • Resume vs. Cover Letter

What a Resume Includes

What a cover letter includes.

  • Use a Cover Letter to be Subjective

 Prostock-Studio / iStock / Getty Images Plus

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.

Cover Letter Vs. Resume: Which Should You Use?

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In This Guide:

Cover letter vs resume: what's the difference?

Three major differences between a cover letter and a resume

Resumes and cover letters go hand in hand, 3 expert tips on writing a cover letter vs. a resume, example resume and cover letter.

Resume image 1

Applying for a job can be scary; trust us – we know.

But that doesn’t mean it needs to be confusing, too.

However, there’s this one uneasy thought that puzzles job-seekers, especially first-timers.

“Resumes? Cover letters? Aren’t they the same thing? How am I supposed to know what goes where?”

We get that a lot.

So, to help you cut down on confusion and get your job application right, we’re going to talk about cover letters vs resumes and settle on the difference once and for all.

In this guide, you’ll find out:

  • What the difference between a resume and a cover letter is;
  • What should be included in each document;
  • How to make sure your cover letter makes it to the top of the pile.

Let’s dive right in!

Cover letter vs resume: what's the difference?

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So, how are a resume and a cover letter different?

While the purpose of both is to prove to the hiring manager that you have what it takes to get the job, they do so in two very different ways.

Basically, you can consider your resume to be a summary of your work and education experience, while your cover letter focuses on how this experience relates to this specific job.

Have you heard that saying in the beauty community that says your eyebrows should be sisters, not twins?

You can apply that same logic to your cover letter and resume.

These two documents should complement each other, not copy each other exactly.

One big difference we can name right off the bat is that pretty much every employer requires a resume for a job application, but not a cover letter.

However, including one always boosts your chances of success (unless the posting specifies that you shouldn’t send one, of course).

Now then, to really understand what the difference between a cover letter and a resume is, we will take a quick look at what each of them is at its core.

What is a resume? What does a resume include?

In short, a resume summarizes your work experience and educational background.

It’s a detailed account of the jobs you’ve had, the schools you’ve attended and the degrees you got, any awards and certifications you might have, your skills, etc.

Most commonly, a resume is formatted as a list with bullet points. This makes the document easily scannable and eliminates fluff, which is perfect for a busy hiring manager.

Usually, you should write your resume in the third-person and be as clear and concise as possible, using few words and not going into too much unnecessary detail.

Enhancv Cover Letter Vs. Resume: Which Should You Use?

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So, here’s a list of what your resume should include:

  • Contact information
  • Summary, or objective
  • Work experience
  • Dates of employment
  • Additional information, such as certificates, spoken languages, etc.

But what about cover letters?

What is a cover letter? What does a cover letter include?

A cover letter adds relevant context to your resume.

It highlights what your qualifications are and how they relate to the particular job you’re applying for.

Basically, what a cover letter does is give the employer all the reasons why you are the best candidate for the position.

It shows off your skills and gives examples from your experiences to back them up.

You write a cover letter in a letter format, unsurprisingly. It consists of a greeting, three or four body paragraphs, and a closing. And, as opposed to the resume, you should use the first-person.

When writing your cover letter, keep in mind that employers are likely to refer to your resume to make the connection between the person and the job applicant.

So, seeing how they’re probably going to be reading them at the same time, don’t make your cover letter a carbon copy of your resume.

Rather, it should expand on the points you’ve made in your resume, giving real-life examples that showcase your skills and letting the employer know just how perfect you are for the job.

Enhancv Cover Letter Vs. Resume: Which Should You Use?

SEE MORE EXAMPLES

But what should you include in your cover letter ?

  • Professional heading
  • Address section
  • Formal salutation
  • Show-stopping introduction
  • Your reasons for applying for this particular company and position
  • Your skills as they relate to the job
  • Closing words on your excitement to join the company
  • A call to action

Oh, and don’t forget to read the job offer carefully and include some keywords in your letter!

So, now you know what a cover letter and a resume are, and what they should include.

Let’s move on and cover the main differences between the two.

Knowing what each of these documents does is not always enough.

You need to understand how they differ.

So, in this section, we’ll go over three of the most important distinctions between a cover letter and a resume.

Resumes and cover letters differ in importance

We’ll make a wild guess here and say that you probably haven’t come across a position in your job search that didn’t require a resume.

Now, how many postings have you read that didn’t need a cover letter?

Enough to notice, we’re sure.

That’s because resumes and cover letters aren’t equally important.

The internet is rife with information about which one is more important with various arguments supporting both sides.

However, we think that, unless the job posting specifies that a cover letter is not to be submitted, you should absolutely include one in your application.

You can’t skip out on the resume, though.

Cover letters and resumes use different structures

As you may have already noticed, one of the main differences in the “cover letter vs resume” battle is the structure.

A resume is usually one or two pages long and contains specific sections, bullet points, and other graphs used to represent a candidate’s professional skills.

A cover letter, on the other hand, has 3-4 structured paragraphs, an introduction, and a closing paragraph, and is usually no more than 300-500 words.

The goal of a cover letter vs a resume is different

Another crucial difference between the two documents is their purpose.

A resume’s goal is to provide the hiring manager with lots of varying information, but in a brief format – just a page or two.

They’ll use your resume to quickly decide if you’re qualified for a particular job (at least on paper – the proof comes with your cover letter).

The purpose of a cover letter is to let you tell a story about yourself as a person, not just an employee.

It helps you expand on the points you made in your resume and give some much-needed context to the employer.

So, there you have it – these documents are different in many ways, however…

We already mentioned this above, but cover letters and resumes complement each other well, so they should be used accordingly.

While a resume is quickly scannable, a hiring manager might struggle to make sense of all the data you’re throwing at them, especially if your resume is on the longer side.

That’s why a cover letter is a good addition to a resume, as it helps translate that information into paragraphs, making it easier to read and take in.

But that’s not all – a cover letter and a resume, as different as they are, should stick to the same design .

There’s not a single recruiter out there that wants to spend their valuable time trying to match a resume to a cover letter like it’s a puzzle.

Cover letters are also a great way to make sure your resume doesn’t end up in the trash.

Lots of employers read the cover letter first to help them decide if the resume is worth reading at all.

So, boost your chances and type up that cover letter.

Are you struggling to separate your cover letter from your resume, wondering how to make them complementing, yet different, or you just want some tips on how to write a stellar cover letter?

Well, then read on!

We’ve got three pieces of advice for you, coming straight from the professionals.

Don't make your cover letter repetitive

We already said this before, but we’ll say it again – do not make your cover letter an exact copy of your resume!

Nobody wants to read the same thing twice.

You wouldn’t, so why should your employer?

Don’t be afraid to let loose a little bit and use a more conversational tone than you would on your resume.

Your cover letter should show the hiring manager your qualifications, but also your personality and your passion.

Don’t go into too much job or education detail. Mention them briefly and talk about how they shaped you into the perfect candidate and what you learned from the experience.

Keep it short and sweet

You wouldn’t want the recruiter to fall asleep halfway through your cover letter, would you?

So, keep it short, clear, and straight to the point. Leave all the unnecessary details out, talk about relevant experiences only, and most importantly, make it captivating.

As for the specific length, aim for three or four paragraphs and try not to fill more than 3/4 of a page.

Use a subjective tone

A cover letter allows you to talk about things you wouldn’t mention on a resume.

No resume contains a section about how you found the position, how passionate you are about it, or how each skill you’ve mentioned relates to the job.

Yet, these are all important aspects to a hiring manager.

So, you can afford to use more subjective information when writing a cover letter.

Let them know why you are certain you’d make a good fit. After all, you’re the one that knows what you can bring to the table, right?

And there you go – you’re now ready to craft that perfect resume and throw on a stellar cover letter for good measure.

If you’d like a little extra help, take a look at these great resume and cover letter examples .

Hopefully, they’ll help you get on the right track!

Enhancv Cover Letter Vs. Resume: Which Should You Use?

BUILD A MATCHING COVER LETTER

And, if you’re looking for an even easier way out, take our resume builder for a spin and save yourself the headache.

Yes, a resume and a cover letter are two separate worlds. But they really are two sides of the same coin.

To summarize, here are the most important differences in the battle of cover letter vs resume:

  • A resume is always required for a job application, while a cover letter can be optional.
  • Resumes are formatted as a one or two-page document with bullets and sections, while a cover letter uses a letter format and has the standard introduction, 3-4 body paragraphs, and a closing.
  • Cover letters are often what helps resumes get read.
  • A resume and a cover letter should complement each other, while still being different.
  • A resume is written in the third-person and is more objective; a cover letter uses a subjective tone and is written in the first-person.
  • Resumes outline your work and educational background, achievements, certificates, and skills. Cover letters focus on how those skills and experiences relate to the job at hand.

Was this information helpful to you? Do you feel ready to tackle your resume and cover letter? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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Cover Letter vs Resume – What is the Difference?

A job-winning resume and cover letter can set you apart from other job candidates. However, it’s important to know that these two job documents are very different from one another. Learn the differences between the two to maximize your hireability.

Cover Letter vs Resume – What is the Difference?

At first, the answer to, “What’s the difference between a cover letter and a resume?” seems obvious. But once we get past the fact that a cover letter is clearly a letter – and a resume is not – most job seekers run out of ideas.

Is a cover letter just a resume, written like an essay?

Is it a personal statement about our feelings and beliefs?

Is it something I can skip entirely?

An applicant who doesn’t understand what a cover letter is, or how it differs from other job search materials, will struggle to write one successfully. And, since your cover letter will provide the first impression your prospective employer will have of your interests and abilities, you definitely want to get it right.

This article will explore how a cover letter differs from, and even enhances, other job search materials, such as resumes and CVs.

Equipped with this information, you will be on your way to making an excellent first impression, and landing the job interview you deserve.

To understand the difference between a cover letter and a resume, let’s look closely at what each document is designed to do, how it is created, and how it helps advance your job search.

Resumes vs. Cover Letters: What Do They Do?

What is a cover letter and what does it do.

Imagine that you are a hiring manager, sitting at a desk surrounded by stacks of resumes – impersonal, bullet-pointed documents listing the names of companies of which you may have never heard. Some may have more bullet points, some may have more color, but they all start to look the same.

Then, you pull a resume with a cover letter from the pile. It addresses you by name and outlines the personal journey of the candidate – their passion for the industry, their supporting experience, and the research they’ve done on your company.

Intrigued, you read their attached resume more carefully and, concluding that they are the type of go-getter your company needs, you add the candidate to the interview list, before returning to your stack of nearly identical resumes.

That story illustrates why a cover letter matters. More than just “a letter you include with your resume,” a cover letter lends depth and personality to your resume, by allowing you to sell your skills and enthusiasm, while making your resume stand out from the crowd.

To this end, a cover letter is a concise – often one page – introduction of who you are, your interest in the position, how your top skills and experiences have prepared you for the position, and a closing “call to action,” typically a politely-worded request for an interview.

What a Cover Letter Doesn’t Do:

A cover letter is not simply a retelling of your resume.

With that in mind, do not provide a long-winded overview of all the skills or positions listed on your resume, and refrain from repeating, “as you can see in my resume” before discussing your credentials.

Furthermore, if you have included any language pulled directly from your resume in your cover letter, such as a cut-and-paste of bullet points or of your objectives statement, remove it. Instead, think of what fresh clarity or perspective you could bring to that information to show your skills at their best.

Remember, even if you wrote your resume and cover letter days apart, your hiring manager will review them together, back-to-back. Any cutting and pasting you’ve done will make you look lazy or disinterested, not efficient.

Instead, think of your resume like an appetizer – it should make the hiring manager hungry to read your resume and to meet you in person – not stuff them full of repetition and redundancy.

With that said, let’s look at the main course of your job application, your resume.

What is a Resume and What Does it Do?:

A resume is a document of 1-2 pages that provides a summary of your professional experience, relevant skills, education, and accomplishments. This document rarely extends back more than 10 – 15 years in the past, and often lists jobs in reverse chronological order, with the most recent opportunities presented first.

Formatted for clarity and simplicity, often using headers and bullet points, a resume is designed to provide an easy-to-scan comparison between you and other candidates, as well as your qualifications and those outlined in the position.

The goal of a resume is to present as much information related to relevant professional experience as possible, with a particular focus on specific responsibilities, measurable achievements and transferable skills.

Both the nuances of writing a resume and CV are hard to master. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, consider seeking professional help from resume writing services

What a Resume Doesn’t Do:

A resume is not intended to tell your life story.

In fact, the word resume derives from a French word meaning “summary” – and that is exactly what it is.

Resumes are not the place for dense blocks of text, inspirational quotes, or discussions of role models. Furthermore, while soft skills, such as communication and dependability can be listed in specific sections, resumes don’t usually allow much room to explain context.

Instead, a resume presents a concise overview of all the measurable reasons why you are prepared to excel at the position, with a focus on current and recent experiences. With this in mind, resumes rarely allow for a sense of the “whole person,” thereby requiring candidates to find another means by which to share that information.

Resumes vs. Cover Letters: How Are They Formatted?

Format of a cover letter.

First and foremost, a cover letter is a business letter, and you will want to follow those formatting conventions as much as possible.

While there are a number of cover letter templates available online, or through Microsoft Word, at no cost, there are still some basic formatting guidelines that will help you on your way:

  • Use one-inch margins on all sides of the document
  • Left-align all contents
  • Pick a standard business font, like Times New Roman or Calibri, in size 11 or 12
  • Use single spacing overall, and double spaces between paragraphs
  • Don’t indent your paragraphs
  • If possible, include an inserted image of your actual signature in your closing, creating the visual impression of a signed document
  • Save your cover letter as a PDF before submitting electronically. This preserves the layout, keeping a professional appearance regardless of the device on which the document is viewed

Taking these tips into consideration, it is still good to keep in mind that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to create a cover letter. The goal is simply to explore the story behind your resume through the vehicle of a professional document.

Format of a Resume

There are many different ways to format a resume, depending on the experience and skills you wish to highlight.

For example, a chronological resume presents a list of recently held job experiences in reverse chronological order.

While this format may be a great choice for candidates with relevant work history, candidates who are switching industries, or returning to work after a hiatus, may want to consider a functional resume, which emphasizes skills over positions held.

There is even a hybrid resume format that allows candidates to include the best parts of functional and chronological resumes – using both bullet-pointed skill lists and a chronological job listing.

With so many options, it can be challenging to provide guidelines specific to all formats. However, there are some pointers you should always consider when creating a professional resume, regardless of the specific template your choose:

  • Use single spacing, with an added space before and after each section heading
  • Left-align content, with the possible exception of your header section
  • Choose a tasteful resume header format for your contact information. A little color can be nice, but unless you’re in graphic design, don’t get too creative
  • Divide your resume into resume sections, including: Contact Information, Education, Work Experience, Skills, References, etc. But, remember, the order of the sections will depend on your overall goal for the document
  • Use bullet points to list specific job accomplishments and professional skills
  • Be consistent with your resume formatting
  • Consider adding a second page. Contrary to previous assumptions, research suggests that hiring managers are more likely to select resumes that present two pages of experience, as opposed to just one.

These formatting tips should help you create a clean, well-organized document. But the most important part of a resume is the skills and experiences it showcases, so don’t become so focused on formatting that you forget to let your talents shine.

Difference in Cover Letter Tone vs. Resume Tone

As previously discussed, resumes and cover letters are different, but complimentary documents. When used together, they enhance each other, with the cover letter providing depth and character to the list of experiences provided by a resume.

Taking this into consideration, the tone of the documents is different as well.

Examples of Resume Tone – Objective

Resumes typically adopt an objective, matter-of-fact tone, citing data and measurable achievements whenever possible.

This is because a resume is intended to be easily scanned visually, allowing for quick comparison between two competing resumes, or between a resume and a job description. Simple, objective wording makes it easier for a hiring manager to establish your skillset, and as a result recommend you for an interview.

Some examples of the objective resume tone are as follows:

Increased sales in the home furnishings division by 110% in year one Managed team of 12 sales associates Developed training program for new sales managers Exceeded customer retention goal by 45% in year two

Notice that resumes language also omits the use of pronouns. For instance, instead of saying, “I sold medical equipment to large physician practices,” you would simply say, “Sold medical equipment to large physician practices.”

Examples of Cover Letter Tone – Subjective

The strength of your cover letter is found in how it allows you to tell the story of your career, highlight your strengths and showcase your personality. In conjunction with your resume, this provides a sense of the “whole person,” behind the application, and makes a hiring manager eager to meet you.

While resumes focus on bullet points, data and objective, language, cover letters allow you to write subjectively, and in the first person.

Examples of the subjective cover letter tone are as follows:

Having researched your company’s culture, I’m inspired by X Corporation’s commitment to diversity and inclusion A first-generation college graduate, I believe I could contribute a unique perspective to W Brand’s employee mentorship program I have followed your social media content for years, and the excitement and humor you bring to your marketing is impressive Since I rescued my first stray kitten at the age of 8, I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian. And it’s my dream to fulfill that calling at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Science.

It is important to remember that, even though a cover letter can be subjective, and may even contain quotes or brief personal stories, you should avoid hyperbole, dramatic language, or flowery speech as much as possible.

Since a cover letter is still a professional document, exaggerative statements like “giving 110%” or “your company is the most exciting business in the world,” will seem silly and immature.

Example of a Cover Letter

Now that we’ve discussed what a cover letter is, and how it differs from a resume, let’s look at an example:

June 16, 2020/ Stephanie Williams Sales Coordinator Y Brands 847-846-4201 [email protected] / Jamal Martin Hiring Manager Walters Communications [email protected] Dear Mr. Martin, With over 11 years of experience in high-level sales, I’m excited to apply for the position of Sales Manager for Walters Communications. Since I first began my career in sales, I have been promoted six times, receiving increased responsibility, exceeding sales goals, and spearheading new customer outreach initiatives. This advancement has strengthened my sales skills and prepared me for a leadership role with a fast-paced, consumer driven company. In my current role as Sales Coordinator, I helped plan the launch of three new product lines, developing sales and marketing strategies to ensure their success. With the support of my team of five sales associates, we attracted over 50 new corporate clients to our portfolio, and exceeded all sales goals associated with these new lines. Sales is my passion and connecting clients with exciting new products brings me joy. It is my dream to immerse myself in a company culture that is results-oriented and prioritizes cutting edge sales techniques. I’ve researched the culture of Walters Communications, and I know it is a company in which I could learn and grow. While I’m grateful for my current position, I believe that my experience has equipped me to excel in an opportunity with greater challenges, such as the chance to serve as the Sales Manager for Walters Communications. And the commitment I would bring would advance your company mission. I’m confident that I possess the skills required to succeed in this new role, and to help take the Sales Department to new heights. I appreciate your time and consideration and look forward to discussing this opportunity with you at your convenience. Sincerely, Stephanie Williams The fictional cover letter above is effective because it helps communicate the candidate’s enthusiasm and experience, while providing a glimpse into her personality. She concisely demonstrates that she has conducted research into her prospective company, and links her experience with the needs of the position. If a cover letter is effective, the hiring manager’s next step will be to read the candidate’s resume to learn more.

Example of a Resume

Below is a sample resume for the fictional applicant from our previous example:

123 Adams Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90001

Home: (123) 456-7890 | Cell: (123) 456-7890

[email protected]

An MBA with over 11 years of experience in competitive sales environments, seeking the role of Sales Manager with Walters Communications with the goal of exceeding sales goals, and spearheading company initiatives.

  • Account Management
  • Written and Verbal Communication
  • Team Leadership
  • Strategic Planning
  • Client Retention
  • Recipient of the 2018 and 2019 Y Brands Top Sales Award
  • Launched three new product lines
  • Led a team of associates
  • Exceeded 2018 sales goal by 25%
  • Exceeded 2019 sales goal by 35%
  • Screened job applicants during the early stages of the hiring process
  • Answered, screened, and directed incoming phone calls while providing basic information as needed
  • Managed Corporate Sales Accounts $10,000 and above
  • Increased Client Portfolio by 15% in year three
  • Increased Client Portfolio by 30% in year four
  • Exceeded Customer Retention Goals by an average of 10% annually
  • Cold Called 35-45 Businesses Daily
  • Highest Call to Sale Conversion Rate for Three Consecutive Years
  • Organized XYZ Media’s 1st Client Recognition Day

Since resumes are usually data-driven, this document provides significant information about the candidate that wouldn’t necessary be included in a cover letter. While the cover letter highlights her enthusiasm and passion, her resume shows a measurable track record of high performance.

When the documents are reviewed together, it becomes clear that the candidate has both the drive, and the personality, required to succeed.

The Curriculum Vitae

Before we conclude with a summary of the differences between cover letters and resumes, there is one question left to address: “How does a curriculum vitae fit into the discussion?”

A curriculum vitae, also known as a CV, is a job application document that is often confused with a resume – though key differences exist.

While most resumes are position based, outlining the roles and skills related to the desired position, a curriculum vitae focuses more on education, research / publications, teaching experience, awards, professional affiliations, public presentations, conference attendance and credentials.

Given their concentration on educational attainment and scholarship, curriculum vitae often serve as a substitute for traditional resumes for those pursuing academic careers or medical careers.

Furthermore, considering the amount of information they convey, it is common for a CV to be significantly longer than a resume

With this in mind, employers in fields that frequently use CVs may request that a CV summary be included, or even sent in place of the full CV, for the initial round of consideration. This summary rarely exceeds two pages in length, and provides an overview of the major achievements outlines in the longer curriculum vitae.

It is important to note, however, that while a CV is a much longer document than a standard resume, this does not mean that a candidate should forgo the inclusion of a cover letter. Ultimately, just like a resume, a curriculum vitae is still a list of relevant qualifications. Though its focus may be different, it does not provide the “big picture” context that can be provided by an effective cover letter.

Conclusion: Cover Letter vs. Resume. What’s the Difference?

Cover letters and resumes, though very different, serve the same goal – to make the candidate stand out from a crowd. That said, they both accomplish this objective by drawing upon unique perspectives.

A resume is a summary of the work experience, education and skills that prepare a candidate to succeed in a position. It should be easy to read, and organized using a format that prioritizes the best the candidate has to offer.

The advantage of a resume is that, even with a glance, it can leave no question about a candidate’s experience and qualifications.

The disadvantage of a resume is that it doesn’t convey the humanity behind the information. No amount of bullet points can help a hiring manager understand why a candidate is determined to succeed, inspired by their industry or interested in the company. By itself, a resume can be dry, or even boring.

A cover letter can provide an applicant with a chance to tell their story – the background, humor, motivation, and journey that make them unique.

When paired effectively, these documents provide a big picture view into an applicant’s life, allowing a hiring manager to truly see them in the role.

At the end of the day, a hiring manager isn’t hiring a list of achievements, they are hiring you, and all of what you bring to the position.

Using a resume and cover letter together, you can showcase the full range of your abilities, and let your talent shine from all possible angles.

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Resume vs Cover Letter: How and When to Use Each

By Katie Duncan Posted on January 8, 2024

is a resume and cover letter the same

Batman has Robin. Mario has Luigi. Simon has Garfunkel. 

And resumes? They have cover letters.

They may not have the star power of the other duos on our list, but they do go hand in hand to create a strong job application. And, like every famous pair, they share this common goal despite bringing different things to the table. 

We’re here to break down resumes and cover letters— how they’re the same, how they’re different, and how you can use each one to land the job you want.

Resume vs cover letter: How they are the same

Though they are different in many ways, resumes and cover letters have several similarities worth noting:

  • They should both be catered to the job you’re applying for. 
  • Both should be no more than one page, unless otherwise stated by an employer or you’re applying for a job in a field where more detailed applications are commonplace.

Perhaps most of all, they share a common overarching goal: Help you secure an interview by demonstrating your suitability for a job.

RELATED: Letter of Introduction vs. Cover Letter: What’s the Difference

Resume vs Cover Letter: Comparison Chart

Resume vs cover letter: The big differences

That said, resumes and cover letters are not substitutes for one another. Though they share a common goal, they each have different purposes, unique content, and different formats.

A resume provides a concise and structured summary of your qualifications and skills to help prospective employers assess your suitability for a job.

A cover letter provides more context to your resume. It can be used to introduce yourself, express your interest in a specific job or company, highlight how your experiences align with the job requirements, and more.

Resumes are focused on past and present experiences.They typically contain:

  • Contact info
  • Professional work experience
  • Achievements
  • Certifications

Cover letters, on the other hand, may contain a combination of the following:

  • Introduction of who you are
  • Explanation of why you’re interested in the position
  • Highlight of key experiences and how they connect to the job requirements
  • Notes about any gaps or possible concerns with your resume
  • Enthusiasm for the role
  • Aspirations for your career journey

Cover letters are focused more on how your past experiences have prepared you for your future— both at the company you’re applying for and your career as a whole.

Resumes are structured and concise. They use bullet points for clarity and rarely, if ever, contain paragraphs. Recruiters spend an average of six to seven seconds looking at a resume, so you want to give them the major points that showcase why you’re qualified for the job in an easy-to-digest format. 

Cover letters are narrative and personal. This is the time to let your personality shine through with paragraphs that contain more details and anecdotes. A cover letter typically contains an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. 

When to use a resume vs cover letter

A resume will almost always be required when applying for a job. 

Cover letters will not always be required. Sometimes they will be optional. Other times, employers may not want you to submit one at all. 

When to Use a Cover Letter

How to cater a resume to a job application

Catering your resume to a job application is a crucial step in the job search process. Here are some tips to help you tailor your resume effectively:

  • Analyze the job description : Carefully read the job listing and take note of key skills, responsibilities, and qualifications to understand what the employer is looking for.
  • Match your skills and experiences : Align your resume with the job description by touching on your relevant experiences and skills in the resume. For instance, if the job requires leadership skills, be sure to showcase your leadership experiences.
  • Use keywords : Incorporate industry-specific keywords and buzzwords from the job description. This is especially important for resumes that will be scanned by Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).
  • Prioritize relevant experience : Go into more detail for job experiences that are more relevant to the job you’re applying for. 
  • Showcase transferable skills : If you are changing industries or roles, emphasize transferable skills that can be beneficial in the new position.
  • Keep it concise and relevant : Avoid including experiences or skills that are not relevant to the job. A concise, tailored resume is more effective than a lengthy, generic one.

Remember, the goal of tailoring your resume is to make it as relevant as possible to the job you are applying for. While extraneous skills and experiences can help your case and show that you’re well-rounded, employers are really looking for what will help you succeed in that particular role.

How to cater a cover letter to a job application

Catering your cover letter to a specific job application is as crucial as tailoring your resume. 

While the resume focuses on your qualifications and past experiences, the cover letter is your opportunity to make a more personal connection with the employer and further highlight why you’re a great fit for the job. 

Here are some strategies to cater a cover letter to a company:

  • Research the company : Understand the company’s values, culture, and recent developments. Use this information to demonstrate how your background and interests align with the company’s ethos. You can also mention a recent company achievement or a specific aspect of the company’s culture or mission that resonates with you.
  • Address the letter specifically : Whenever possible, address the letter to a specific person, such as the hiring manager. Avoid generic salutations like “To Whom It May Concern” if you know names.
  • Start strong: Open your cover letter with a compelling statement that grabs the reader’s attention. For instance, you might start by explaining why you are particularly excited about the job or the company.
  • Relate your experience to the job description : Use the job description as a guide. Discuss specific experiences or skills that directly relate to the key responsibilities and qualifications listed.
  • Tell a story : Unlike the resume, a cover letter gives you space to tell a story. Share a brief anecdote that demonstrates how you’ve successfully applied relevant skills or how you’ve overcome challenges similar to what you might face in the new role.
  • Explain any gaps or transitions : If there are gaps in your resume or you’re making a career transition, the cover letter is a good place to briefly explain these.
  • Highlight soft skills: Emphasize soft skills that are critical to the job but harder to convey on a resume.

A cover letter is your chance to make a memorable first impression and to provide context for your application. A well-crafted cover letter that speaks directly to the needs of the employer can significantly boost your chances of landing an interview.

Use your resume and cover letter to your advantage

Together, a resume and cover letter can be used to tell the complete story of your experience, skills, and ambitions. Your resume provides a concise look at your experience, while your cover letter fills in the gaps and adds a personal touch to your application. Always be sure to tailor both documents to the job that you’re applying for to show hiring managers that you’re the best fit for the job.

The difference between a cover letter vs resumé

Job seeking is exciting, but it also has its challenges. Once you have found a great role to apply for, you’re faced with the prospect of competing against your peers and standing out against other talented applicants. As such, your cover letter and resumé are pivotal tools.

When preparing your job applications, it’s essential to know the difference between a cover letter and a resumé. In this article, we explore their formats, the type of information they should contain, and how they complement each other to create an extensive picture of your skills, experiences and personal attributes. 

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is the first point of contact between you and a potential employer. Unlike a resumé , which provides a bullet-pointed summary of your skills and experiences, a cover letter allows you to directly address the employer and explain to them in your own words why you think you’re the ideal person for the job. As tricky as they can be to write, it’s always good practice to include a cover letter with a job application.

Components of a cover letter

A well-structured cover letter typically includes the following elements:

  • Date and contact information : at the top, include the date of writing and your contact information.
  • Salutation: if possible, address the letter to a specific person. Using “Dear [Name]” is more personal than generic greetings like “To whom it may concern”.
  • Opening paragraph: start with a strong statement, briefly mentioning the position you’re applying for and how you learned about it.
  • Body paragraphs: discuss your relevant experiences, skills and achievements. Tailor this section to the job description , demonstrating how well you match their specific criteria.
  • Closing paragraph: conclude by reiterating your enthusiasm for the role and the company. Mention any attachments, like your resumé or portfolio, and indicate your availability for an interview.
  • Closing: end with a professional closing like “Yours sincerely,” or “Best regards,” followed by your typed name.

Formatting a cover letter

Cover letters are typically formatted as traditional business letters. They should be concise and well-formatted – no more than one page and typed up in a professional-looking font, like Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial. 

What is a resumé?

Your resumé  is a bulleted summary of your education, experience, skills and achievements. It acts as a snapshot of your professional background and forms the foundation of any job application. It’s the ideal tool to show off your skills and qualifications at a glance, highlighting your most relevant jobs and responsibilities.

Components of a resumé

A standard resumé typically includes the following sections:

  • Contact information: at the top, include your name, phone number, email address, SEEK profile and professional website. 
  • Objective statement: this should outline your career goals and highlight your most relevant skills and experiences.
  • Professional history: list your work experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. Include the job title, company name, location, and dates of employment. Under each role, provide bullet points of your key responsibilities and achievements.
  • Educational history: detail your educational background, starting with the highest level of education. Include the name of the institution, degree and graduation date.
  • Skills and abilities: highlight specific skills relevant to the job you’re applying for, like soft skills and hard skills . 

Formatting a resumé

Resumés should be formatted so that the information is clear and easy to scan. They should be no more than two pages long, depending on your experience. Use a professional-looking, easy-to-read font , with clear headings and bullet points for easy navigation. 

What is the difference between a cover letter and a resumé?

While both a cover letter and a resumé are important parts of a job application, they serve different purposes. Once you know the differences between these two documents, you’ll be able to use them effectively in your job hunt, so that you stand out against other job seekers.

Differences between a cover letter and a resumé

A cover letter is a personalised letter addressed to the employer explaining why you are the right fit for the position. It is a chance to address any selection criteria outlined in the job post, as well as any relevant experience you have, to show why you think you’re the ideal candidate. Cover letters are typically typed up in letter format and saved as a PDF no longer than one page.

A resumé offers a quick summary of your professional qualifications and achievements. Resumés are formatted as lists with bullet points that detail your professional history and highlight your skills. They are also generally kept to one or two pages, depending on your experience.

While both documents should be tailored to the job you are applying for, a cover letter offers more scope for personalisation. It's an opportunity to directly address the employer and convince them to give you a callback, with reasons why you’re a good fit for the role and the company. 

Does a CV include a cover letter?

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a cover letter complement each other in a job application, but they are separate documents. A CV is similar to a resumé, but they are actually different types of documents. A CV is typically more detailed and often used in applications for academic, scientific or research positions.

While a CV or resumé provides an in-depth look at your career, a cover letter adds a personal touch. It allows you to explain your interest in the position and how you meet the criteria listed in the job description. Together, they present a full picture of your professional abilities and enthusiasm for the role.

Cover letter example

This sample cover letter demonstrates the structure and content that can help you stand out to potential employers. Remember, this is just a template and it’s important to personalise your cover letter to each job application.

[Your name] [Your address] [Your email] [Your phone number] [Date] [Company name] [Company address]

Dear [employer's name],

I am writing to express my interest in the [job title] position listed on [where you found the job posting]. With a [degree] in [your field of study] and [number] years of experience in [your industry/field], I am confident in my ability to contribute effectively to [company name].

In my previous role at [previous company], I [describe a key achievement or experience that relates to the job, e.g., "led a team of X in developing a new product that resulted in a 20% increase in overall sales"]. This experience honed my skills in [mention relevant skills, e.g., "project management and strategic planning"].

I am particularly drawn to this opportunity at [company name] because [mention something about the company or role that appeals to you, e.g., "I admire your commitment to innovation and excellence, and I am excited about the prospect of contributing to such a dynamic team"].

I have attached my resumé which further outlines my qualifications. I look forward to the possibility of discussing this exciting opportunity with you. Thank you for considering my application. 

Yours sincerely,

[Your name]

Resumé example

This resumé example highlights the key components and formatting you should consider when crafting your own. Again, this is just a template to guide you and should be tailored to reflect your unique professional background.

[Your name] [Your address] [Your email] [Your phone number]

Professional Summary Dynamic and results-oriented [Your profession, e.g., Marketing Specialist] with over [number] years of experience in [industry/field, e.g., digital marketing and campaign management]. Proven track record of driving revenue growth through strategic marketing initiatives. Skilled at [a couple of key skills or areas of expertise, e.g., social media strategy and content creation]. Professional Experience [Most recent job title] [Company name], [city] [Month/year started] – Present

  • [Describe a key responsibility or achievement, e.g., "Led a team in designing and implementing a digital marketing strategy that increased online engagement by 30%."]
  • [Another responsibility or achievement, e.g., "Managed a budget of $X and oversaw the successful launch of several online campaigns."]

Education [Degree, e.g., Bachelor of Arts in Marketing] [University name], [city] [Month/year graduated]

  • [Skill 1, e.g., SEO and SEM techniques]
  • [Skill 2, e.g., Proficient in Google Analytics]
  • [Skill 3, e.g., Excellent communication skills]
  • [Additional relevant skills outlined in job selection criteria]

Certifications (if applicable)

  • [Certification name, e.g., Certified Digital Marketing Professional]
  • [Certification name, if applicable]

Tips for crafting a cover letter

A well-written cover letter can get you noticed and increase your chances of landing an interview. It's your opportunity to make a memorable first impression. Here are some tips to stand out:

  • Tailor it to the job: customise your cover letter for each job application. Connect your experience to the criteria in the job description. Highlight how your skills, experiences and values fit with the company’s culture.
  • Keep it to one page: your cover letter should be concise and to the point. 
  • Address it to the right person: address the cover letter to a specific person whenever possible. This shows that you've taken the time to research the company.
  • Expand on information from your resumé: rather than just repeating what's on your resumé, tailor your skills and education to address the job description and provide more context about your work experience.
  • Show your enthusiasm: employers want to know why you're interested in the role and their company. 
  • Use a professional tone and format: while it's important to let your personality shine through, maintain a professional tone throughout the letter. 
  • Call to action: end your cover letter with a call to action, such as inviting the reader to reach out for more information or to set up an interview. 

Tips for writing an effective resumé

Your resumé is often the first impression a potential employer has of you. A well-crafted resumé can open doors to interviews and opportunities. Here are some tips to help you write an effective resumé:

  • Tailor it to the job : analyse the job description and identify the key skills and experiences the employer is seeking. Make sure these are reflected in your resumé.
  • Keep it to one page: unless you have extensive experience or are applying for senior-level positions, aim to keep your resumé to one page. This forces you to include only the most relevant information.
  • Use action verbs: start your bullet points with strong action verbs like ‘managed’, ‘developed’, ‘increased’, ‘implemented’, or ‘led’. This makes your resumé more impactful.
  • Quantifying data: wherever possible, quantify your achievements with numbers, percentages, or other measures. For example, instead of saying “increased sales”, say “increased sales by 25% over six months”. 
  • Proofreading: proofread your resumé multiple times, and consider having someone else review it as well.
  • Include keywords: Many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen resumés. Include keywords from the job description to ensure your resumé passes through these systems.

Common mistakes to avoid

When preparing for your job application, it's just as important to know what to avoid as it is to know what to include. Here are some common mistakes to steer clear of when writing your cover letter and resumé:

  • Only using one: relying solely on a resumé or a cover letter is a common mistake. Applying with both allows you to present a well-rounded picture of your skills and qualifications.
  • Not personalising to the job: generic cover letters and resumés are easy for employers to spot. Tailor both documents to each specific job application by highlighting the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job description. 
  • Not proofreading: typos, grammatical errors and formatting inconsistencies suggest a lack of attention to detail and professionalism. Always proofread your documents multiple times.
  • Repeating information on both: while your cover letter and resumé should complement each other, they should not be repetitive. Use your cover letter to expand on specific experiences or skills and to explain how they make you a good fit for the role.
  • Including irrelevant information: don’t clutter your resumé with irrelevant job experiences or personal information that does not add value to your application for the specific role you are applying for.

Landing the job you want is a process that involves standing out against other candidates and getting noticed for your unique attributes. Understanding the key differences between a cover letter and a resumé – and optimising both – is vitally important to getting a callback. 

A cover letter is your personalised introduction that highlights your enthusiasm for the role and explains why you are the ideal candidate. On the other hand, a resumé is a concise, factual summary of your professional journey , outlining your skills, experiences and achievements. With the above insights and tips, you can craft a job application that will get you noticed.

Is a cover letter better than a resumé?

No, a cover letter is not better than a resumé – they are different documents that serve different purposes. A cover letter provides a personal touch, allowing you to explain your interest in the role and how your experiences align with the job description. A resumé offers a factual summary of your professional qualifications. 

When should I use a cover letter versus a resumé?

You should use both a cover letter and a resumé in most job applications. A resumé is always necessary as it provides an overview of your professional background. A cover letter adds context to your resumé, explaining your interest in the role and detailing specific experiences. 

Is a cover letter separate from a resumé?

Yes, a cover letter is a separate document from a resumé. While a resumé is a summary of your professional experiences and skills, a cover letter is a more personal letter, addressed to the employer.

Do you need a resumé summary if you have a cover letter?

Yes, it still helps to have a resumé summary even if you have a cover letter. It's particularly useful for recruiters and hiring managers who may skim through your resumé before reading your cover letter.

What is the difference between a resumé and an application letter?

The biggest differences between a resumé and an application letter (or cover letter) are purpose and content. A resumé is a detailed document that lists your professional experience, education, skills and achievements. An application letter is a written pitch explaining why you are interested in and qualified for a specific job.

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Jobscan > Cover Letter Writing Guide

How To Write A Cover Letter in 2024 (Expert Tips and Examples)

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to write a cover letter that will get you noticed by recruiters.

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A survey revealed that 77% of recruiters prefer candidates who send in a cover letter, even if submitting it is optional. Additionally, 90% of executives consider cover letters invaluable when assessing job candidates.

So, if you think cover letters are no longer important and necessary in 2024, think again.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you write a cover letter that effectively sells your skills and professional experience, increases your chances of getting interviews, and gets your foot in the door.

Table of Contents

What is a cover letter and do you still need one in 2024?

A cover letter is a letter of introduction accompanying your resume that paints why you are the best person for the job, what you bring to the table, and how you can help move the company forward.

Is the cover letter dead? No! In fact, a recent study by ResumeLab revealed that 64% of job vacancies still require that you include a cover letter in your application and 83% of HR pros said that cover letters are important for their hiring decision.

The bottom line is that a cover letter is still a valuable piece of your job search collateral. Nail your cover letter and you could end up getting that dream job.

So what exactly do you need to accomplish in your cover letter?

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

According to 49% of HR managers , your cover letter is the second best way to call attention to your resume and distinguish yourself from other applicants.

So the main purpose of your cover letter is to compel the recruiter to read more about you on your resume and move you to the next part of the hiring process.

Further, according to award-winning resume expert Melanie Denny , your cover letter is your value proposition letter. It proves why you are the best candidate to address the company’s needs with the professional skills and qualifications to succeed in the job.

Here’s an example of a great cover letter:

cover-letter-writing-guide

Now let’s get into the details of what your cover letter needs to include.

Cover Letter Structure Checklist

Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to include in your cover letter.

  • Contact Details Name Address (or City, State with zip code) Phone number Email address
  • Greeting Whenever possible, address the hiring manager by name.
  • Opening Who are you? What are your relevant skills and accomplishments?
  • Body (1-2 paragraphs) What do you know about the company? Why are you applying for this job? What value can you bring to the company? Include measurable results when possible.
  • Closing Reiterate your interest. Add a Call to Action. Mention any attachments. Use a professional sign-off like “Best” or “Sincerely” before your full name.

Here’s an example for the visual learners out there:

cover-letter-writing-guide

Now that you know the basics of what to include in your cover letter, let’s go through the process from start to finish to see how you can write a cover letter that will make you stand out from the rest of the candidates.

How to write a cover letter in 9 steps

It can be intimidating to try to parse down all your best qualities into a few quick paragraphs for your cover letter.

Here are 9 steps you can take to make sure you’re headed in the right direction:

Step 1. Do your research

Before writing your cover letter, thoroughly read the job description and the requirements for the job.

Melanie Denny , award-winning resume expert, likens the job description to your cover letter cheat sheet. And when checking the job description, she says you need to consider the following:

  • What are the company’s priorities?
  • What are their goals for the role?
  • What outcomes and accomplishments in your previous roles match the goals?
  • What are the key phrases and verbiage the company uses?

This will help you customize your cover letter, angle yourself and your narrative to fit the role better, and impress the hiring manager.

Try reaching out to the recruiter, hiring manager, or someone working in the company if you want more in-depth information about the company and the position you are applying for.

Step 2. Customize your cover letter for every job

Make sure your cover letter matches the job you are applying for. Writing a generic cover letter is a missed opportunity as this will not appeal to the recruiter or hiring manager. According to research from ResumeGo , 81% of HR professionals value job-specific cover letters over generic ones. Jobseekers who had tailored cover letters received a 53% higher callback rate compared to those who had no cover letter.

Remember, your cover letter is your chance to prove that you are passionate about working for a given company, so take the time to write a tailored cover letter for each position . You can do this by mentioning your skills and experience that are directly related to what’s mentioned in the job description. If you’re applying for a data analyst role that requires expertise in Microsoft Power BI, cite an example of a Power BI dashboard you built and how it helped the company.

Read our full guide: How to Optimize Your Cover Letter

Step 3. Include all of your contact info

You should make it easy for the hiring manager to reach you. In your cover letter, list these three things:

  • Address (including zip code– for ATS purposes )
  • Phone number with area code
  • Email address
  • Name of the Hiring Manager
  • Name of the Company
  • Address of the Company

Traditionally, your contact information is included in the upper left corner of your cover letter if you’re writing in a document. If you’re writing an email, this can be included beneath your signature at the end of the message.

Cover Letter Header Example:

Jane Jobscan Seattle, WA 98101 (555) 555-5555 • [email protected] linkedin.com/in/jane-jobscan

February 25, 2024

Lavinia Smith Hiring Manager Media Raven, Inc. Plantersville, MS 38862

Step 4. Address your cover letter to a real person

According to Melanie Denny, resume expert and President of Resume-Evolution, addressing your cover letter to a real person and addressing them by their name feels more personal and shows recruiters and hiring managers that you took time and did the research.

You can usually find the hiring manager’s name by searching the company website or LinkedIn profile, or by calling the company and asking which hiring manager is assigned to the particular position.

Once you learn the name, a simple greeting of “John” or “Hello John” is all you need.

If you can’t find the hiring manager’s name, you can use any of the following:

  • Dear Hiring Manager
  • Dear (Department) Team
  • To whom it may concern

Read our full guide: How to Address a Cover Letter

Step 5. Write a strong opening statement

Melanie Denny suggests that you start your cover letter with a bang. This will hook the hiring manager’s interest and show them how you can be a valuable addition to the team.

Here are things you can do:

  • Open with a thought-provoking question
  • Make a big claim about what you can do for the company
  • Say something relevant and specific to the company

For example,

“I want to bring the marketing department of Media Raven Inc. to the next level and help the company exceed goals and reach more customers as Marketing Manager.”

Step 6. Prove how your professional background and skills help the company in the body of your cover letter

Take advantage of this real estate and prove to the prospective employer how your background, values, and professional experiences position you as the best fit for what the role requires.

This is especially important if you are switching careers. Highlight your relevant accomplishments in your cover letter, showcase your transferable skills, and explain how you can help the company address its challenges and succeed.

For example:

“As the Director of Marketing at ABC Company since 2018, I directed all phases of both the creative and technical elements of marketing initiatives, including data mining, brand creation, print/web collateral development, lead generation, channel partner cultivation, customer segmentation/profiling, as well as CRM and acquisition strategies.

Perhaps most importantly, I offer a history of proven results, as evidenced by the following marketing accomplishments for my current employer:

  • Captured a 28% expansion in customer base since 2018, achieved during a period of overall decline in the retail industry.
  • Led national marketing campaign (comprised of trade shows, media, and PR initiatives) for my company’s newly launched technology services division
  • Developed and executed SEO strategy that achieved and sustained top 3 rankings on Google (organic, nonpaid results) for key product search terms.
  • Oversaw the creation of a new company logo and rebranded 100+ products to cement a cohesive corporate identity and support new company direction.”

Just like when writing a resume, your cover letter should only include the most relevant and positive information about you. To home in on the right skills and qualifications to mention, try scanning your cover letter .

Read our full guide: What Do You Put in a Cover Letter?

Step 7. Write a strong closing statement and a call to action

Use the closing of your cover letter to:

  • Thank the hiring manager for their time
  • Mention any attachments (resume, portfolio, samples)
  • Invite to schedule an interview
  • Let the hiring manager know that you will follow up

Keep the closing professional and try not to sound too eager since that can come off as desperate. You must also keep in mind the tone and personality of the company you’re communicating with.

“Given the opportunity, I’m confident I can achieve similar groundbreaking marketing results for Media Raven, Inc.

Ms. Smith, I would welcome the chance to discuss your marketing objectives and how I can help you attain them. Feel free to call me at (555) 555-5555 or email me at [email protected] to arrange a meeting. I look forward to speaking with you.”

Read our full guide: How to End a Cover Letter With a Call to Action

Step 8. End with a professional closing salutation

To finish out the closing , use a formal signature. You can use “Sincerely,” “Best,” “Regards,” “Yours,” or any other professional signoff.

Use your first and last name as your signature. If you’re sending your cover letter in the body of an email, make sure it’s your personal email account that does not list your current work signature beneath the email. Your other option is to write the cover letter in a word document, save it as a PDF, and attach it to your email.

Step 9. Optimize your cover letter for the ATS

The Applicant Tracking System or the ATS is a software that companies use to screen applications and shrink their pool of applicants. Through the ATS database, a recruiter or hiring manager can just search for specific skills and keywords and the ATS will return a list of the top candidates who match the search criteria.

To optimize your cover letter for ATS, you need to:

  • Carefully read the job description
  • Take note of skills and resume keywords frequently mentioned
  • Incorporate these keywords into your cover letter

Read our full guide: How to Optimize Your Cover Letter to Beat the ATS

Does your cover letter pass the test?

Scan your cover letter to see how well it matches the job you're applying for. Optimize your cover letter and resume with Jobscan to get more interviews.

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How to Format Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is a letter, but that doesn’t mean you should just plop everything onto the page in a stream-of-consciousness flow. After all, cover letter formats determine the order in which the hiring manager learns about you, which can significantly influence their first impression. Use the format order below as a guideline for building the structure of your cover letter.

cover-letter-writing-guide

Notice how the topics flow like a conversation? When you first meet someone, you introduce yourself, tell them your name and a little about yourself, and then leave the conversation open for future meetings.

Your cover letter is just a like having a conversation with someone for the first time. Keeping that in mind will help you to keep things simple and focus on the right information.

Below are some examples of how to format your cover letter for different types of applications.

How to format your cover letter for a job

  • State your name
  • Explain your work history
  • Tell them what you can do for their company
  • Say goodbye

How to format your cover letter for an internship

  • Explain your coursework history and education
  • Explain what you can gain professionally

How to format your cover letter with no experience

  • Explain your skillset and character qualities that make you well-suited for the role
  • Outline entry-level achievements

You can also check out our cover letter templates to help you as you write your own cover letter.

Do you want to save time and receive instant feedback on your cover letter? Check out Jobscan’s cover letter tool .

Read more : How to Write a Resume for Today’s Job Market

Cover Letter Examples

Here are some examples to help you create a cover letter that will make you stand out and give a strong first impression.

1. Internship Cover Letter Example

cover-letter-writing-guide

2. Career Change Cover Letter Example

cover-letter-writing-guide

3. Operations Manager Cover Letter Example

cover-letter-writing-guide

4. Communications Professional Cover Letter Example

cover-letter-writing-guide

5. Software Engineer Cover Letter Example

cover-letter-writing-guide

Cover Letter Do’s and Don’ts

Aside from the basic steps of how to write a cover letter, there are some things you definitely need to make sure you avoid – and things you can’t skip! Follow these do’s and don’ts for writing a cover letter, and you’ll end up with a much better result.

  • Use a cover letter unless one was requested.
  • Attach a cover letter directly to your resume unless requested to do so.
  • Use the same boilerplate cover letter for multiple job applications.
  • Over-explain your work history, employment gaps, or qualifications – save it for the interview.
  • Badmouth any of your past employers.
  • Use the cover letter to complain or tell about your job search journey.
  • Use non-standard formatting like tables, columns, or graphics. (ATS can’t read those and your cover letter copy might not be scannable by the system.)
  • Use long paragraphs.
  • Customize a cover letter for every job application that asks for one.
  • Incorporate the top skills or keywords from the job description in your cover letter.
  • Include the company name and address, the job title, and point of contact’s name on your cover letter.
  • Incorporate relevant and compelling measurable results in your cover letter.
  • Explain, briefly, any dramatic shifts in a career (i.e. you are changing industries or job titles).
  • Use company information to relate your interest in the job.
  • Keep your cover letter concise.
  • Convey WHY you are right for the position.

More Cover Letter Tips

  • When emailing your cover letter, be strategic with your subject line. Never leave the subject line blank, and double-check for specific instructions in the job posting. If possible, use the email subject line to sell yourself. For example: “Experienced Software Engineer Seeks Senior Level Mobile Position.”
  • Keep your cover letter brief and to the point. The hiring manager will be reading many cover letters. By carefully selecting your words and experiences to include, you can stand out from the crowd of applicants.
  • Be confident. Let the hiring manager know the reasons why you deserve this position, and make yourself believe them too!
  • Your cover letter should not be simply a rephrasing of your resume. Let your personality show and go into further detail about your most valuable skills and experiences.
  • Do your research on the company and position before writing the cover letter. It should be customized to that specific company’s values and needs. Hiring managers can spot a generic resume from a mile away.
  • Use the job posting as your guide for what topics, skills, and experience to focus on.
  • The best cover letters include keywords from the job posting. Applicant tracking systems may scan your cover letter along with your resume and will be using these keywords to sort through the applicants.
  • Check for spelling and grammar errors.
  • Send your cover letter as a PDF to avoid readability issues and to present the most professional application package.
  • Scan Your Cover Letter with Jobscan to make sure you’re checking all the boxes.

Optimize Your Cover Letter with Jobscan’s Cover Letter Scanner

In addition to resume scans, Jobscan Premium users can also scan their cover letters against a job description.

This generates a report of the top hard skills and soft skills found in the job description that should be included in your cover letter, plus additional checks for optimal length, contact information, measurable results, and more.

Here’s how it works:

Key Takeaways

Your cover letter gives recruiters, hiring managers, and prospective employers an overview of your professional qualifications and relevant accomplishments that position you as the best candidate for the job.

So you have to make your cover letter powerful and interesting enough to make the recruiter or hiring manager read your resume and move you to the next step of the hiring process.

Here are key pointers when writing your cover letter.

  • Make sure you’ve read the job description and done your research about the company.
  • Get to know the name of the recruiter or hiring manager so you can address your cover letter properly.
  • Include relevant and measurable accomplishments in the body of your cover letter to prove to the hiring manager that you have what it takes to succeed in the job.
  • Keep your cover letter short and concise.
  • Your cover letter is not a substitute for your resume so don’t just copy and paste whatever is in your resume into your cover letter.

One last important reminder!

Having a strong cover letter is not enough. You also need to create a killer resume to make sure you stand out and land job interviews.

Learn more about writing a cover letter

How to Address a Cover Letter-block

How to Address a Cover Letter

10 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter-block

10 Tips for Writing a Cover Letter

The Career Change Cover Letter: How to Get it Right-block

The Career Change Cover Letter: How to Get it Right

What Do You Put in a Cover Letter?-block

What Do You Put in a Cover Letter?

Is Your Cover Letter Robot-Approved?-block

Is Your Cover Letter Robot-Approved?

How to End a Cover Letter with a Call to Action-block

How to End a Cover Letter with a Call to Action

Frequently asked questions, what are the different types of cover letters.

There are four types of cover letters.

  • Application cover letter An application cover letter is what you send to the recruiter or hiring manager along with your resume.
  • Prospecting cover letter You send this when you want to inquire prospective employers about open positions in their company or put yourself top-of-mind when they do decide to hire.
  • Networking cover letter You will send this to professionals in your network in hopes of getting referrals, introductions, job search advice, and job opportunities.
  • Career change cover letter This is what you send when you are switching careers or industries.

What tense should I use when writing a cover letter?

It can be appropriate to change tenses throughout your cover letter.

For example, you can explain who you are in the present tense and explain important aspects of your work history in the past tense. You can switch to future perfect tense when discussing the ways you would perform if given the position.

Think of it like this, “I am ABC, I did XYZ previously, and I look forward to doing EFG in this position.”

What to include in a cover letter

Our cover letter guidelines above explain how to write a cover letter more deeply, but in summary, you should always include your name, relevant work experience, and reasons why you are right for the job in your cover letter.

When not to include a cover letter

  • When the job posting clearly states not to include a cover letter
  • When you don’t have the time and energy to customize your cover letter. It’s better not to send a cover letter than to send a half-baked and mediocre one.
  • When you are applying online and there is no field to upload your cover letter.
  • When your cover letter has a lot of typos and errors.

What should you send first: a cover letter or a resume?

Typically, your cover letter and resume will be sent as a pair, but your cover letter is meant to be an introduction to your resume. If it is an email, use the cover letter in the body and attach your resume, otherwise, attach both.

Pro Tip: Be sure to review all instructions in the job description to follow the hiring manager’s requests.

How long should a cover letter be?

According to 70% of recruiters, a cover letter should not exceed 250 to 300 words.

Although there is no hard and fast rule about this, the ideal cover letter length should be around half a page to one full page in length to keep your message concise, clear, and easy to digest.

Should a cover letter be sent as a file attachment?

If it is not specified in the job posting, a cover letter can be sent either as an attachment (PDF is best) or in the body of an application email with your resume attached.

How to share a cover letter with a potential employer

There are several methods of sharing a cover letter with potential employers, depending on their application process.

Cover letters can be written on a document and turned into a PDF to be uploaded to a job application website or attached to an email along with your resume.

In other cases, your cover letter can simply be written in the email message to a hiring manager, with your resume attached.

How to title and save your cover letter

The key in every aspect of job applications is to make yourself an easy “yes” for your potential employer. That means making it easy for the hiring manager to keep track of your application materials for later review. With this in mind, make sure your full name and the phrase “cover letter” are included in the file label. Other helpful details might include the job title you’re applying for or the year of your application.

Here are a few examples:

  • Your Name_Cover Letter_Job Title.pdf
  • Cover Letter_Your Name_Job Title.pdf
  • Job Title_Your Name_Cover Letter.pdf
  • Your Name_Cover Letter_2024.pdf
  • Cover Letter_Your Name_2024.pdf

Explore more cover letter resources

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Cover Letter Formats

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ATS-Optimized Cover Letter

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Cover Letter Templates

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Free cover letter templates

Stand out and get hired faster with our collection of free professional cover letter templates expertly-designed to land you the perfect position.

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General cover letter template.

A general cover letter template is the perfect starting point for writing your next job-winning cover letter. In the example below, you’ll find a cover letter that can be modified to suit just about any position or industry. 

Make sure to update it to include key examples from your own experience and education. Each cover letter is a chance to convince the employer that you’re the best candidate for their role, so make it count!

You’ve developed an excellent resume. What a relief! But you’re not finished with your job application package. It’s time to write a stellar cover letter. That blank page can be scary, but the tips below will help you grab that interview.

General cover letter example

Why use our cover letter templates

Resume.io’s cover letter templates offer several advantages when it comes to completing your application and landing your next great position. We take pride in creating fresh and professional designs that stand out and make a positive first impression in today’s competitive job market. 

Here are a few reasons why our free cover letter templates are a cut above the rest:

  • Expertly crafted templates: Our team of professional graphic designers is constantly creating and updating our templates to make sure they meet the needs of today’s job seekers. Our collection of templates ranges from minimalist and modern to bold and creative to ensure that we offer the perfect cover letter template for every candidate.
  • Approved by recruiters: We work with career HR and recruitment professionals to make sure our cover letter templates meet the strict standards of today’s employers. We follow the latest hiring trends to update and adapt our cover letter templates for the needs of modern job seekers.
  • Customize with ease: Not only do we provide expertly designed free cover letter templates, but we also offer an intuitive cover letter builder to help job seekers customize their application letters with ease. Our cover letter builder is easy-to-use and full of helpful features and advice to help you craft a cover letter that’s a cut above the rest.
  • AI-powered tools: Even the best writers could use a hand sometimes. That’s why we’ve introduced AI-powered sample sentences that can be inserted directly within the cover letter builder and updated for your own experience. Our powerful spelling and grammar checker also helps to eliminate costly cover letter errors.

Most job applications specify whether they’d like to receive your cover letter as a PDF or Word Docx format. We’ve made it easy to download either option within our cover letter builder.

Choosing the right cover letter template

Every candidate and every position is unique, meaning the same cover letter won’t work for everyone. That’s why we’ve created an extensive collection of cover letter templates with designs ranging from clean and classic to modern and attention-grabbing. 

Within our cover letter builder, you can also easily switch from one template to another, meaning the perfect cover letter design is always within reach. Our free cover letter templates are divided into four categories:

  • Simple: Our simple cover letter templates are go-to classics that can work for a wide variety of positions and applicants. These templates are best-suited for students and first-time job seekers, along with applicants working in fields like hospitality, transportation, logistics, and retail. Our simple templates are highly versatile and can serve as a great starting point for any cover letter.
  • Modern: If fresh ideas and innovation are the keys to your industry, our modern cover letter templates are the right choice. These designs feature minimalistic lines, clean fonts, and a refreshing balance of white space to text. Our modern cover letter templates are perfect for candidates in IT, marketing, administration, and sales.
  • Creative: If your industry or job title calls for a bold approach, look no further than our collection of creative cover letter templates . These designs feature bright colors, striking fonts, and larger-than-life headers to draw attention to your cover letter. Our creative cover letter templates are perfect for candidates in fields like film and television, design, photography, art, architecture, content creation, and any job where your personality should be in the spotlight.
  • Professional: Sometimes, tried-and-true is the only option, and that’s where our professional templates come into play. These are classic designs with traditional font choices and the organized sections recruiters expect to see. When in doubt, a professional cover letter template is the way to go, especially in fields like business, medicine, education, engineering, accounting, and finance.

What makes a good cover letter template?

A good cover letter template is a combination of elements that work together to highlight and emphasize a candidate’s experience and qualifications for the role. 

Here are a few factors that make a good cover letter template:

Header: An excellent cover letter template features a header that draws attention to the applicant’s name and contact information. The header may be located at the top or on the side of the page, but it must contain key details like a phone number, email address, and LinkedIn profile or portfolio website.

Balance of white space to text: A great cover letter template is easy to read and carefully balances the amount of white space in the text to avoid visual fatigue for the reader. Paragraphs should be divided in a logical way, and margins should not be shrunk to cram in more text.

Font choice: The best cover letters use font styles and sizes that are both legible and appropriate for the industry or job title. A good cover letter builder eliminates the guesswork by automatically choosing the right font and size for the cover letter template.

Color or design elements: While not appropriate for every industry, a touch of color or a dividing line can help create a more attractive page design and make the candidate stand out in a crowded applicant pool. Resume.io’s cover letter templates that feature color give several options so that you can choose the hue that works best for your application.

Different jobs can require different cover letter formats , which is why we’ve made it easy to switch colors, line spacing, or even whole templates directly inside our cover letter builder.

Cover letter template frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is a good format for a cover letter.

A good format for a cover letter is one that catches the hiring manager’s attention with an attractive layout, easy-to-read font, and clear and concise information about the candidate’s experience and qualifications.

What are the three parts of a cover letter?

The four parts of a cover letter are as follows:

  • The greeting: The way the hiring manager is addressed at the start of the cover letter.  
  • Introduction: The first one or two sentences that introduce the candidate and the role they are applying for.  
  • Body: The main paragraphs of the cover letter where the candidate discusses their experience and the reasons why they’re right for the job.  
  • Conclusion and sign-off: The final sentences that express interest for the role and include the candidate’s full name as a signature.

How long should a cover letter be?

A good cover letter should be around 300 words or within the range of 250-350 words. This equals roughly three paragraphs. Any shorter and the reader may not fully understand why you are qualified for the role. Any longer, and you risk losing the reader’s attention before they get to the end of your letter.

What are three do’s and three don’ts with a cover letter ?

  • Include a header that aligns with the design and information on your resume
  • Use numbers and concrete information to show your accomplishments
  • Leave a balance of white space to text to increase readability
  • Change the document margins to cram in more text or make your cover letter appear longer
  • Add a full street address to your cover letter
  • Go overboard with images, design elements, or colors

What are two things that should always be in a cover letter?

Two things that should always be in a cover letter are the name of the company and the role you are applying to. Hiring managers often look for candidates for multiple openings at once, so this helps the employer identify who you are and the job you are looking for.

Are cover letters necessary?

Cover letters are one of the best ways to increase your chances of landing your desired position. That’s because they give you the opportunity to expand on key experiences from your resume. 

While not every hiring manager reads cover letters, the ones that do can often use them to determine who is on the shortlist for an interview. We recommend every applicant write a cover letter to show their interest and qualifications for the position.

How to end a cover letter

We recommend always ending your cover letter with a call to action. This sentence expresses your enthusiasm for the position and politely suggests that the hiring manager get in touch with you for an interview. 

You can also leave your name and contact information in this section once again, space permitting. Then, sign off with a phrase like “Sincerely” or “Best regards” and your full name.

How do you address a cover letter without a name?

While using the hiring manager’s name on your cover letter is the best way to establish a personal connection, some companies do not share information about who will be reading your cover letter. In that case, a more general greeting like “Dear (Company Name) Hiring Team” or “Dear (Department Name) Team Lead” can do the trick.

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COMMENTS

  1. Resume vs. Cover Letter: What's the Difference?

    There are three main differences between resumes and cover letters: 1. Format. Your cover letter is a professional communication structured in full paragraphs, while your resume should have sections with bullet points that convey specific details like dates of employment and job duties. 2. Content.

  2. Cover Letter vs. Resume: How Are They Different?

    The difference between a cover letter and a resume. There are four key differences between a cover letter and a resume: 1. Importance. Resumes are a requirement when you apply for work. On the other hand, cover letters are often necessary, but optional when a company specifically says to not include one.

  3. Resume vs Cover Letter: How They're Different

    A resume is mostly past-oriented, meaning that it focuses largely on your past work history and experiences. Much of a resume is written in the past tense, as well. A cover letter is written primarily in the present tense. The focus of a cover letter is more on the present and future, including mentioning current and future objectives.

  4. Cover Letter Vs Resume: Here Are The Key Differences

    The cover letter is a business letter, or even if it's the shorter, more casual email version, it's still structured like a letter. On the other hand, the resume is structured like an outline ...

  5. Cover Letter VS. Resume

    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.

  6. What's the Difference Between a Cover Letter vs a Resume?

    A cover letter gives the recruiter a more in-depth insight into your work history in the form of a letter. Resumes list qualifications—cover letters describe them. A resume is a formalized document; a cover letter has a more personal touch. Cover letters complement resumes and are still expected by most hiring managers.

  7. Resume VS Cover Letter in 2024 [Detailed Guide & Examples!]

    Resume Vs Cover Letter: 3 Key Differences. When you're on the hunt for a new job, understanding the difference between a resume and a cover letter is crucial. They might seem like they serve the same purpose at first glance, but they're actually quite different in terms of format, tone, and purpose. Let's break down these key differences to ...

  8. Cover Letter vs Resume: Differences, Comparison, Examples

    Tone: Resumes have more professional and formal tone. In your cover letter, you can use a more conversational tone and give it a more personal touch. This goes hand in hand with the fact that resumes are rather objective and cover letters subjective. Length: Your resume should be one page long.

  9. The Difference Between a Cover Letter and a Resume

    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. ...

  10. Cover Letter Vs. Resume: Which Should You Use?

    A resume and a cover letter should complement each other, while still being different. A resume is written in the third-person and is more objective; a cover letter uses a subjective tone and is written in the first-person. Resumes outline your work and educational background, achievements, certificates, and skills.

  11. Cover Letter Format Should Match Your Resume

    The contact information shared in the headers of both your resume and cover letter must match. While it is acceptable for the header of your resume or cover letter to share more information than the other, the specific personal details shared between the two should be the same. Double-check that the name, phone number, email, and address you ...

  12. Cover Letter vs Resume

    Cover letters and resumes, though very different, serve the same goal - to make the candidate stand out from a crowd. That said, they both accomplish this objective by drawing upon unique perspectives. A resume is a summary of the work experience, education and skills that prepare a candidate to succeed in a position. It should be easy to ...

  13. What is a Cover Letter? Definition & Examples

    A great cover letter showcases your personality, argues why you're the best person for the role, and even explains unique circumstances (if you have any). These are the most common types of cover letters: Application cover letter. Cover letter for internal position. Referral cover letter. Scholarship cover letter.

  14. Resume vs Cover Letter: How and When to Use Each

    A resume provides a concise and structured summary of your qualifications and skills to help prospective employers assess your suitability for a job. A cover letter provides more context to your resume. It can be used to introduce yourself, express your interest in a specific job or company, highlight how your experiences align with the job ...

  15. How to Write a Resume for a Job in 2024

    Our free-to-use cover letter builder can make you a cover letter in as little as 5 minutes. Just pick the template you want, and our software will format everything for you. Your cover letter should use the same design and formatting as your resume, giving your job application a polished, cohesive look.

  16. The difference between a cover letter vs resumé

    A cover letter is the first point of contact between you and a potential employer. Unlike a resumé, which provides a bullet-pointed summary of your skills and experiences, a cover letter allows you to directly address the employer and explain to them in your own words why you think you're the ideal person for the job.

  17. How to Write a Cover Letter in 2024: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Attach a cover letter directly to your resume unless requested to do so. Use the same boilerplate cover letter for multiple job applications. Over-explain your work history, employment gaps, or qualifications - save it for the interview. Badmouth any of your past employers. Use the cover letter to complain or tell about your job search journey.

  18. CV vs Cover Letter: What's the Difference?

    A cover letter is brief while a CV is quite detailed and long. A CV includes detailed information about your work experience and academic background while a cover letter is a condensed document that explains why you're applying for the given job. But let's park that for a minute and break it down.

  19. How to Write a Cover Letter: Guide + Examples

    The best way to get inspired to write a good cover letter is by looking at solid examples written for the same role you're applying for. ... Don't write the exact phrases you have on your resume. In your cover letter, you need to expand on the details you list in your resume, not repeat them. Try to bring the details of your resume to life ...

  20. How to Write a Cover Letter

    A cover letter, also known as an application letter, is a personalized letter from you to the person overseeing the hiring process for the job you're applying for.. A cover letter is not the same as a résumé.While a résumé provides a clear, point-by-point map of your career thus far, a cover letter tells the personal side of your career story.

  21. Cover Letter Format: Examples & Formatting Tips [2024]

    A cover letter format is a framework that organizes information in a cover letter. The best format for most cover letters is the same as a standard one-page business letter. It should contain the following sections: a header with the applicant and hiring manager's contact information, a salutation, an opening paragraph, one or two short body ...

  22. How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job in 2024

    Respectfully, Kind regards, Best regards, Yours truly, Then, make two spaces below the salutation, and type your full name. For some professional (but optional) flair, sign your cover letter either with a scan of your signature or by using software like DocuSign. 8. Check your cover letter's content and formatting.

  23. Are Cover Letters Necessary in 2024? Do You Need One?

    A cover letter is important and required if the job offer requires a cover letter, the employer, hiring manager, or recruiter requests one, you're applying directly to a person and know their name, or someone has referred you for the position. So if you're wondering whether you should include a cover letter, the answer is yes in most cases.

  24. What to Write in an Email When Sending a Resume [+ Examples & Tips

    Examples of introduction when emailing a resume: "My name is Roger Jones. I'm writing this email to express my interest in the job vacancy at Valcor". "My name is Roger Jones, and I am submitting my application for the current job opening as Financial Analyst at Valcor.". "My name is Roger Jones. I came across Valcor's job ads on ...

  25. Free Cover Letter Templates (Try Now) 2024 · Resume.io

    Every candidate and every position is unique, meaning the same cover letter won't work for everyone. That's why we've created an extensive collection of cover letter templates with designs ranging from clean and classic to modern and attention-grabbing. ... Resume.io's cover letter templates that feature color give several options so ...