Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Difference between CV, Resume and Cover Letter

For most of you, a CV and a Resume typically mean different names of the same version but sent to people or companies belonging to different countries namely US and Britain.

Trying to find the relationship between a Resume and CV is one thing, but relating these two to Cover Letter is a completely diversified subject.

Both Resume and CV give an account of a person’s qualifications and his achievements, but the cover letter is a short description of what to expect in the resume or CV and perfect reasons as to why you are applying to the job.

Hence, understanding how Resume, CV and Cover letter are different from another and also how to effectively write them so that your prospective employer would want to read ahead, is very important.

Some critical differences


A CV or the curriculum vitae basically means “course of life”. As the meaning, it is a detailed description of your history of educational and employment that is completely updated. It is a long document having at least two pages.

On the other hand, the Resume is shorter and consists of a single page. Here you are required to give a focused account of your skill and talent that are required for that particular job. You can mention your experience in the relevant field.


The purpose of CV is to give a detailed account of your educational achievements, qualifications, awards received, scholarships and experience in the required field. A CV is particularly used when a post doctoral position or teaching position is sought.

A Resume is used to highlight briefly on your talents that are transferable to the intended company and show how useful you would be to the future growth of the company. Thus no details are expected here.

Though CVs are common form of job application, people in US always prefer a Resume.

CVs are more descriptive whereas Resumes are self promoting in nature.

CV sections

A CV usually is sectioned under separate subheadings such as objective, educational qualifications, skills, awards/ medals won and career summary etc.

You can present the information in bullet points or tables, so that your prospective employer may get an idea of what you want to highlight.

Resume sections

A Resume can also be sectioned just as in CVs, however all the information is not required. Depending on the type of Resume you may change the information provided.

A Functional Resume should highlight your skills and qualifications. A Chronological Resume is concise form of CV and a Targeted Resume gives specific information that is required for the job you are applying.

Cover Letter

A Cover Letter basically is a formal letter that is presented as a prelude to CV or Resume which briefly but effectively gives an insight of what can be expected inside.

Writing an efficient and catchy Cover Letter is very crucial because it has the capacity to decide the fate of your application and thereby your fate.

Some important points that you have to keep in mind while writing a cover letter are

· Keep your Cover Letter Linked to your CV. This provokes enough interest in your prospective employer to read the CV thoroughly.

· Make the letter sound as if you are personally speaking. Address the person to whom you intend to send the CV, giving a personal and emotional touch.

· The letter should be brief giving a crisp description.

· The person reading the letter does not expect any excess pompous information about you. Too much “I: factor could turn them down.

· Most Important –DO NOT MAKE TYPO AND GRAMMATICAL ERRORS. This would surely spoil your image.

Though basically CVs and Resumes mean and give the same information, they are quite different from one another. Choosing the right form of your personal information you have to present on specific occasion gives you better chance of getting the intended job.

A well crafted cover letter along with a neatly thought out and written CV or Resume gives better chances of success to you.

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