There are a number of ways that a cover letter is different from a professional resume; but if you have never written either a cover letter and/or a resume; you may be wondering how they are different, as well as what purposes they serve. Below, we discuss both the resume and the cover letter for your convenience.
What is a Resume?
First, you’ll want to have some concept of exactly what a resume is. A resume is the full presentation of your career qualifications to an employer. It offers a chronological history of your employment, your career skills, your education and training, as well as special achievements. It has special sections for each and lists a review of your career training and experience.
The Purpose of a Resume
The purpose of a resume is to offer potential employers the ability to review your career history in a simple and professional format. It should be as convenient to scan for important details as possible, as well as highlight only the most valuable aspects of your training and career.
What is a Cover Letter?
So, if that is what the resume is, what exactly is a cover letter? A cover letter is a letter of introduction that you submit along with your resume. It contains your full name, contact information, and what position you are applying for. If a cover letter is done right, it also offers information as to why you are the right candidate for the position and a brief overview of the qualifications that prove this.
The Purpose of a Cover Letter
Years ago, the purpose of a cover letter for employers was to just basically introduce the full name of the candidate and the position to which they were applying, for the formality of some sort of introduction to the resume. Today, it is much more important, and serves a number of vital purposes to the employment industry. If a cover letter is written correctly, it should include all of these basic details that it once did, as well as insight into the most important aspects of a person’s career and education and skills. It is a letter that should convince the potential employer that going on to read the resume is necessary. It should also be able to stand as its own document, explaining the most important skills, education, and experience of the candidate-thereby convincing the employer why they are the best person for the position. Why should it be prepared to stand on its own? Simply, because more and more hiring managers do not have the time to sift through thousands of resumes, and must therefore, use the cover letter as a deciding factor in whether they want to find out more in the resume. So, yes, sometimes, employers will not even bother with your resume-if the cover letter does not compel them to do so. This is why it is vital you create a cover letter that stands alone in marketing you as a candidate.