The Difference Between Cover Letters and Resumes

With 2015 upon us, you may start looking for a new job. Whether you’re actively or casually looking, you need to have a solid resume and cover letter. While many job seekers don’t see the importance of cover letters, others don’t understand the difference between the two. Occasionally, you may notice that, when apply for a job, a cover letter is not required, but you should still provide one.

It can be confusing knowing what you are supposed to put on a cover letter versus what goes on your resume. However, it is important to know the difference. Here is some basic information on cover letters and resumes to help you get started:

Cover Letters

When it comes to your cover letter, it’s best to think of it as an introduction to who you are personally and professionally. This is the place where you can make a connection with the person reviewing your resume and explain why you would be such a great fit. Here are some things to include:

A Connection

Making a connection will allow a resume reviewer to get a better sense of who you are. Whether it’s mentioning a person of reference, something specific about the company you are applying to, or even the position you are apply for, a connection can go a long way. By making a connection through your cover letter, you will also show that you’ve research the company or position, which shows how much you are interested in the job.

A Pitch

Your cover letter is a great place to make a pitch of why you would make a great employee. Why are your skills so great for the position? How will you make the company better? What can you provide that other job candidates cannot? This is your opportunity to sell yourself to whomever may be reviewing your resume.

A Thank You

Before finishing your letter, you can make a great impression by thanking the person who is reviewing your resume and cover letter. Thank them for the time spent reviewing/reading and thank them for their consideration, even if you haven’t personally talked to them.

Resumes

Resumes often get over-complicated with an overload of information. It is easy to confuse a resume reader with the information you put on your resume, which is why it is so important to know what information needs to be on your resume:

Your Contact Information

This one is pretty simple and should be fairly obvious. Place your contact information at the top of your resume. Include your name, phone number, email address, and physical address so that hiring managers have multiple ways to contact you.

Your Education

Always include your education. Don’t list every school you have ever been to though. Instead, list the most recent completed degree. For example, if you have a college degree, then you should list only that degree and not your high school. If high school is your highest education level, then list where you went, the year you graduated, and any special diplomas you have received.

Your Work History

This should be the bulk of your resume. By listing your work history, potential employers will see where you have worked, the positions you’ve held, and the skills you have developed. Do not just list the jobs you have held- describe the skills needed to complete your work and the tasks you did. Also, if you completed any specialized projects at a particular job, then list those too.

Do you have any questions about the difference between cover letters and resumes? Leave your questions in the comments section below and we will be sure to answer them!

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