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Cover Letter Vs Resume: What Is The Difference?

Often candidates compare cover letter vs. resume. A well-crafted cover letter paired with a resume is a guarantee card to get that job. If you are hunting for a job then you need to have both. These two documents differ and they do not hold the same meaning.

Although the purpose of both the cover letter for resume and resume are the same. Both serve for a single goal, i.e., to convey to the recruiter that the candidate is the right person for the job, he/she have the right skills, will be a perfect fit for the job, and excel at the job.

Despite all, there is a clear difference between the two documents. In this article, we shall discuss the resume, the cover letter, the major difference between cover letter vs resume, and some tips that every candidate must remember.

What is Resume?

A document created and used by an individual to present themselves in front of recruiters at the time of job interview. This document contains their educational background, skills, achievements, and work experiences if any.

A resume must include the following list:

1. Contact information

The very first and details information about the candidates which will contain

  • First and last name of the candidate
  • Email Address (personal, not current company email address)
  • Current Working Position
  • Physical Address (optional)
  • Phone Number
  • LinkedIn URL

2. Summary or objective for career

It will describe the candidates’ relevant experience, skills, and achievements.

3. Work experience

It is an experience an employee gains while working in a job, a certain field, or a profession. This is the section in the resume which can be of very importance.

4. Education background

It is another section that shows the credibility of the candidate. It can put either before or after the work experience section. The entries in this section must follow the reverse chronological order.

For those who have no work experience, this section plays a very vital role. For an unfinished degree, mention the estimated time of its completion.

5. Skills

Skills are the natural talent a candidate possesses. It introduces you to the recruiter and tells them how you can fit in the company and its working culture.

6. Co-curriculum section

It will include hobbies, interests, and another curriculum that a candidate enjoys apart from working in a job. This will also help the recruiter to judge and tell how a candidate fit in with others at the company.

What is Cover Letter for Resume?

It is a single-page document that will introduce you to the hiring team along with a short summary of your working background. It shows the hiring manager that you desire and will fit in that job.

A cover letter gives you more chance to show your personality than a resume could. Sometimes recruiter asks explicitly for a cover letter along with the resume and many times they won’t ask for it. It is the on the candidates’ choice to provide the cover letter (when not asked for).

The cover letter includes the following items.

1. Heading

Your cover letter must include your name, email id, your address, and your contact number (on which you are available).

2. Include date

Include the current writing date or the date when you will send the letter to the hiring manager.

This must be added in a separate line to avoid any misunderstanding and to make your letter clearer.

3. Greeting to recipient

Greeting recipients and adding their name, date, and address will make your cover letter more formal. This recruiter’s information is mostly shared with the candidates via a job posting. If you can’t find it, check the company’s website.

4. Introduction

Write about you in an attention-grabbing manner. This will increase your chances of reading your cover letter end-to-end. Also, specify where did you get to know about the job opening.

5. Subsequent paragraph

Write about your skills, educational background, and work experience.

6. Conclude

Make a smart conclusion with a call to action. It means to ask the recruiter stating that you wish to set up an interview. This will show your interest in the job.

7. Closing

Close the letter with a formal closing line such as “Best Regards”, “Sincerely”, “Thank you”.

The Major Difference Between Cover Letter Vs Resume

There does exist a difference between a resume and a cover letter. We have mentioned some below.

1. Purpose

The sole purpose of a resume is to convey information about you and your job qualification. Whereas, the cover letter is a comprehensive view and it conveys why your qualification makes you the perfect candidate for that job.

2. Content

A resume is considered to be a broad overview of your educational background and work history. It also lists your skills and various experiences. Whereas, the cover letter focuses mainly on the current job you are applying for. It means the cover letter does not include all of your previous accomplishments in detail.

3. Tone

The resume is considered to be more formal in tone than a cover letter. The resume is usually written in the form of a third-person because before reading by the recruiter, the resume has to pass through ATS.

However, the cover letter is written in the first person and there is no need for ATS screening.

4. Format

The cover letter is professionally communicated in the form of a paragraph but the resume must-have sections with bullet points that convey some specific details.

Do they Complement Each Other?

Yes, they do complement each other. Apart from their differences, there are some points mentioned below which tells how the resume and cover letter complement one another.

1. The layout of the cover letter

A resume is also an outline of your cover letter, what you mention in the resume is actually described in the cover letter.

2. Complements resume

The cover letter has an elaborate explanation of what is written in the resume. A cover letter lets you tell the recruiter more about yourself as a candidate.

Tips to Remember

One should keep the following points in mind while writing a resume and cover letter.

1. Impress the recruiter

The cover letter will be the first to make your impression on the recruiter. Make sure you use proper and good English. A call to action will play a critical role for you.

2. Don’t repeat

Repeating words of your resume in the cover letter will not work. Use different tones for resume and cover letter. Don’t mix them. Write some details in the cover letter and save some for the resume.

3. Keep it short and precise

Remember not to exceed the cover letter more than 4-5 paragraphs. Exceeding more than 75% of a page for a cover letter is not recommended.


The cover letter and resume are two different documents. Both of them are meant for different purposes with different tones and structures.

A cover letter has a more human touch to it and a resume doesn’t. A resume shows your achievements right from your school/college days but a cover letter is meant to be short and precise.

Both the documents complement each other and at the same time, they are different from each other. We have mentioned all the aspects of the cover letter vs. resume.

Prepare both the document with different tone and structure. Since both of them help in landing your dream job.

All the best!

Over to You

Do you have any other doubts or questions related to the resume and cover letter or their difference? Write down your thoughts and doubts in the comment section below.

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