CV vs Cover Letter: The Differences Explained
February 21 2020 - Of all the people who apply for a particular job, only 2% of them will get an interview. If the average job listing gets about 100 applications, that means only two people will get a shot at an interview.
If you're in the middle of a job search, it's discouraging to hear those statistics.
The good news is, knowing how to write a great CV and cover letter can help you get an interview. But, first you need to know the difference between the two documents.
Read on to learn the difference between a CV vs cover letter.
CV vs Cover Letter: What's the Difference?
A CV or curriculum vitae is a detailed document of your work history, academic background, skills, and certifications. A CV is also sometimes called a resume.
A cover letter is a letter you write to the hiring manager to show your interest in the job you're applying for.
The Formatting and Length
In a CV, you'll use bullet points and phrases to describe your experience and accomplishments. They are usually one or two pages long, depending on your experience. If you'd like a formatting example, you can find CV templates for free online.
A cover letter takes the form of a three to five paragraph letter and starts by addressing the hiring manager or recruiter. It should include an introduction, body paragraphs, a conclusion, and your signature. Your cover letter shouldn't be more than a page long.
A CV highlights specific job details like employment dates, job locations, and data about your accomplishments, as well as your name and contact information. Your CV is an overview of your career so far, including facts and data about your work history.
The information in a cover letter tells a particular story about your career. A cover letter isn't as detailed as a CV, but it is more specific. Tell a story about a specific work accomplishment on your CV and why that makes you right for this job opening.
The point of a CV is to show the employer what you've accomplished so far in your career. It helps them see what skills you have and whether or not you're qualified for the position.
The goal of a cover letter is to convince a potential employer to call you for an interview. In your letter, you need to make it clear why you're the best person for the job. Writing a cover letter that stands out is also your chance to explain or highlight certain aspects of your career.
The hiring manager will read your cover letter before your CV, so your cover letter also needs to grab their attention and keep them interested. If they're not impressed by your cover letter, there's a good chance they'll never even read your CV.
Start Applying for Jobs Today
Most job applications will ask for a CV, but some will ask for both a CV and a cover letter. Once you understand the difference between a CV vs cover letter and how they complement one another, you'll have a better chance at getting an interview.
For more guidance in your job search, check out our career articles.