Cover letter and resume: How are they different?

Cover letter and resume: How are they different?

It seems straight forward, right?

Jacquie Liversidge

By Jacquie Liversidge

Aside from the obvious fact that a covering letter addresses the employer and the resume presents an overview, a key difference that people tend to miss in their approach to cover letters and resumes is a difference that has it’s roots in professional writing.

When deciding on the primary purpose for business communications, there are only two options that need to be considered; informing, or influencing.

Informing means just that. In fact, this blog is written with the purpose of informing. The purpose is to inform the reader and concisely communicate to the reader the important facts in a way that they quickly grasp the main point(s).

Influencing your reader means writing in a way that will urge the reader to take an action. In business writing, the main point(s) is always stated first, so whilst developing material to influence your reader you will ideally structure the communication with an introduction, main point(s), further information and a call to action.

Your resume is an overview of your experience, qualifications, skills and attributes. The purpose of your resume therefore is to inform, not influence. Keeping in mind the primary purpose of the resume will help you make sense of what to include in your resume, and what to save for the cover letter.

Consequently, the primary purpose of your cover letter is to persuade the reader to take action after reading your resume, and to encourage the reader to see your resume in the light that you want them to.

We hope that this has been of some benefit to you in the planning stages of your resume and cover letter. Best of luck with your applications, and as always, feel free to get in touch with us for any questions.

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