Difference between a CV and a resume

Resume and CV are both important documents in a student's job application. Understand the difference between the two here.

Created On: Jan 23, 2020 12:26 IST
Difference between a CV and a resume
Difference between a CV and a resume

Sending forth a good job application is quite essential to successfully landing your dream job. A well written cover letter along with a strong resume are the key to securing your chance at getting an interview call from the recruiter. But majority of college students today struggle with the question of what is a CV and how does it differ from a resume. Both the CV and resume have similar purpose, of proving to your future employer that you are the perfect candidate for the job. However, there are some clear distinctions between the two of them regarding their structures and their intent. Each one of them compliments the other but they cannot be interchanged for both of  them are unique set of documents. Let's have a look at what's the difference between two of them.                                 

What is a resume?

To understand the difference between a resume and a cover letter we must first understand the what is a resume and what is a cover letter. Talking about the resumes, a resume is a document that summaries your employment history. It briefs the employer about the jobs that you have held in the past, your education history, certifications gained, your skills and also your achievements and awards received. Basically it highlights the significant points of your career in as brief a manner as possible. Resume are usually considered to be shorter versions of CV's. Also, the resume is always written in a third person narrative.

What is a cover letter?

Cover letter is a document that is usually sent along with your resume to give the employer a detailed or an extra insight on your capabilities, achievements and the depth of your experience in the concerned field. The main purpose of the cover letter is to give your employer a point by point detailed insight on how you are the perfect candidate for the profile in consideration. It is written in a letter format including the salutations, paragraphs, and a closing line. And unlike the resumes, CV's are always written in first person narrative.

Difference between a CV and resume


One of the major difference between a resume and cover letters is on the basis of their formats. Resume are written in a format that is easy to navigate through, read and scan for an employer. Use headlines to highlight your educational background, previous experience, awards and achievements or any other important details that you are mentioning on it. Use bullet points whenever and wherever possible as it helps the employer glance at the information and understand it in the first go. Cover letters on the other hand are usually written in a business letter format and consist of four to six paragraphs. Applicant's name, employer's contact information, salutation, introduction, body paragraphs and a closing line are all the elements of a well written cover letter. They are not written in an eye-catchy or a scannable format but the emphasis is more on the quality of the content in the body paragraphs.

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Objective vs. Subjective Information

Resumes are responsible for communicating facts to the employers whereas cover letters are meant to express subjective information. In a resume, job seekers usually just mention the positions held in the past but in a cover letter they are able to explain the work and responsibilities they carried out at various positions. Cover letters allow a job seeker more freedom to express their career goals and why they are applying at that particular job or how they make the perfect candidate for the profile. Many employers just simply glance through a cover letter as they would do with a resume so make sure to sell  yourself right at the beginning of the letter. And lastly, keep the cover letter concise do not go on writing,  thinking you have a lot more space than in a resume. Write only that which is relevant.

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Professionalism and Personalization

Another major difference between the two is that the of professionalism and personalization. While both of them are majorly professional documents, cover letters can be tailored to the needs of a specific job applications that you are sending out. You can address a cover letter to a specific person or an individual using their names. Even if you are unsure of the person holding the position to which you are supposed to address the letter make a simple effort and go their website and look for the person holding the position in the employee section. Cover letters can come in handy when you are applying for similar positions at two different organizations as your resume would remain more or less the same but a well written cover letter could go a long way in helping you land the job.

What not to include in your resume?

To Conclude

Resume and cover letter may both have the same purpose but different formats and structures however each still has its own role to play in your job application. Sending forth both of them is important as they are complimentary of each other. Also, remember that in the highly competitive job market of today a well written resume and CV could be the key to landing the job as it might set you apart from fellow applicants. Hence be clear of the different roles that the two documents play in your job applications. For more such articles on college life and money management in college please visit, www.jagranjosh.com/college. Alternatively, you can also get more such articles in your inbox by submitting your email-id in the box below.

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