Cover Letter vs. CV

A CV (curriculum vitae) is different from a cover letter in that a cover letter is more concise and a CV is fairly detailed. While a CV includes detailed information about a person's educational background and work experience, a cover letter is a more concise document expressing interest in the job being applied to.

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Differences between a cv and cover letter.

A cover letter is an introduction to yourself with regard to the job opening you are applying for. Cover letters are generally one page at most in length, divided into a header, introduction, body, and closing.

Curriculum Vitae may include a cover letter along with other details which are important when applying for international jobs, fellowships, grants, research, scientific and academic positions. The CV is used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment.

A cover letter includes general details about a person like name, contact information, educational and professional qualification, work experience and career goal or what a person is looking for in terms of a job profile. A cover letter should not be confused with a resume as it does not include all the details of a resume. The cover letter should have enough details so that it complements the Curriculum Vitae and also interests the person reading it.

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Cover Letter VS. Resume –What's The Difference?

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What is a cover letter?

  • Cover letters vs. resumes - what's the difference?

Now that you know

In today’s ultra-competitive job market, one major way to get employers’ attention is by building an exemplary resume and cover letter. You must learn how to craft each document without any disqualifying errors.

In this article, you will learn the difference between a cover letter and a resume. These include the differences between the two in:

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what is a cv vs cover letter

A cover letter (also known as a letter of motivation) is a document sent alongside your resume. It provides additional information that you did not or could not include in your resume and gives you the opportunity to show more of your credentials to employers.

Cover letters vs. resumes - what's the difference?

what is a cv vs cover letter

A cover letter is an additional document, first and foremost. Unlike a resume, it is often optional, though some applications require an attached cover letter. It is a letter in which you provide detailed descriptions of your skills and previous work experience and explain why they make you the perfect fit for the position.

A resume is a primary document you will send to potential employers. It is a one to two-page list of your previous work experience, skills, accomplishments, education, etc.

It is advisable to customize your resume and cover letter to fit the requirements of each specific job description: in short, no form letters.

Cover letters have a different format

Formatting a cover letter correctly is vital. It is not just a list but a letter to a potential employer, with greetings, an introductory paragraph, one to two body paragraphs, a conclusion, and a signature. It is typically only one page.

A resume’s format is narrower. Resumes are a concise record of your background and qualifications, containing only essential information. Its presentation and visual appeal are especially important. It is typically one to two pages.

the tone of voice is different

A cover letter is you directly addressing your future employer. Unlike in your resume, in which you are clinically listing off your background and qualifications, you can feel free to inject more of your personality into a cover letter.

This helps the employer get to know you as well as your skills before you ever meet face to face. Imagine you are speaking to them at your job interview already: be friendly and confident, but remain professional as well.

Cover letters complement your resume.

If you have constructed it correctly, a finished resume can technically be all you need to apply to a job. However, you want to show potential employers that you will go the extra mile for them and ensure that they know just how better suited you are to the position than your competition.

A cover letter expands on the most important information provided in your resume and strengthens it. If your resume already has a strong layout , it is a good outline for your cover letter.

The most important information to keep in mind is the purpose of each document. A resume is an essential document that concisely lists your background and qualifications. A cover letter is an additional document that complements your resume by providing detailed explanations of the most relevant parts of your resume.

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  • CV and Cover Letter
  • The difference between CVs...

The difference between CVs and cover letters

10 min read · Updated on November 14, 2023

Elizabeth Openshaw

Is a CV a cover letter? While a CV and a cover letter share a purpose, they are different

So you're wondering, is a CV a cover letter? It's not surprising if you believe them to be similar - both documents share the purpose of showing that you're a good match for a vacancy by highlighting your experience and achievements. However, whilst they share the same aim and strongly complement each other, they are different in both format and content.

For many employers, a CV is an absolutely essential piece of kit when applying for a job, but cover letters can be optional. That said, including a cover letter with your application can dramatically strengthen your chances of success in securing an interview. According to a recent LinkedIn survey , “ 49% of hiring managers admitted that a strong cover letter convinced them to interview a candidate who had submitted a relatively weak CV.” And with “only 6% of hiring managers thinking that a cover letter is unnecessary for a job application,” in the same survey, it might be time to rethink your approach to job applications.

This CV versus cover letter article, which covers the question, “Is a CV a cover letter?” will go over all the points you should look out for when developing each. Empower yourself by using the following information, so that you can write your CV and create an impactful cover letter for use during your job search. 

Is a CV a cover letter?

The short answer to this is “no.” While they may seem similar, knowing the difference between a curriculum vitae (CV) and a cover letter is crucial in order to get the best results while you're navigating your journey of finding a new position.

To put it succinctly, your CV is a summary of your qualifications, skills, and experience from the last 10 to 15 years. It offers a short-yet-targeted overview of your career highlights that prove you're a great candidate for the job you're applying for. To do this, each piece of information on your CV should be tailored to that particular role.

CVs are commonly split into distinct sections: a professional profile, your skills, a summary of your career, and a section on your education and qualifications. Details are usually presented in snappy bullet points, led by powerful verbs, and bolstered with concrete statistics, to show off your skill set and talent.

CVs can be directly compared to the American resume. They contain the same information and serve the same function of introducing you to the HR Manager.

Cover letters are a bit different. They are primarily used to expand on your CV, to add more context, and to further explain your value. Ultimately, your cover letter is sweet-talking the HR Manager as you supply them with further evidence that proves you're an applicant who's worthy of an interview.

It also serves as an introduction. If a hiring manager reads, and likes, your cover letter, they will be more inclined to follow up by reading your CV. If your cover letter is sloppily written, doesn't offer much context, or isn't bringing anything to the table in order to encourage someone to read further, then the likelihood is that those who matter in recruitment are probably not going to seek out your CV for further investigation. This could end up being disastrous, leaving you languishing in the “no” pile before you've even got started or been given a fighting chance.

What does a CV include?

Your CV should cover four main sections, including:

Name, professional title, and contact information 

It's essential that these details are accurate and properly formatted, to ensure that the HR Manager can identify you easily and get in touch. Learn more here about how to add contact information to your CV in this article .

Personal profile

Your personal profile , located just under the contact details and at the top of the first page of your CV, should detail who you are, what you can offer the company, and your career goals, all in one tidy paragraph of about four or five sentences. CVs are written in the third person, without pronouns. This might sound a bit odd at first, writing about yourself in the third person, but it avoids the constant, “I did this,” and “I performed this” way of writing.

For example, you could write, “A versatile, tenacious, and confident Store Manager who flourishes with increased responsibility while engaging with customers at all levels.”

Experience and employment history

Your work experience should explain what you've done in your current role and your previous roles, going back to cover the last 10 to 12 years. Most importantly, it should then be expanded to feature any key accomplishments, demonstrating the value you could bring to your new role.

Education and qualifications

Your education and qualifications section simply adds finer details to prove that you're a qualified expert in certain areas, all adding up to an impressive professional skill set.

We have seen that CVs are formatted with clear headings and bullet points to keep them concise and easy to read for time-poor recruiters, who are typically swamped with hundreds of applications at a time.

What does a cover letter include?

A cover letter is different. Usually, it's a one page document, running to three or four paragraphs, that complements your CV. It normally focuses on four key elements:

What position are you applying for and why?

What are your most impressive, relevant skills, and experiences?

How will these skills benefit your prospective employer or a hiring manager?

A request for an interview

It's formatted similarly to a traditional letter, with a salutation , paragraphs, maybe some bullet points to break up the paragraphs, and a closing sentence.

However, in this digital age that we live in, where many CVs are sent directly to employers via email, the rules for cover letters are changing. If you're emailing your CV, treat the message in your email as your cover letter, rather than attaching it separately.

Email cover letters are typically more concise and can be anywhere from between 100 to 400 words long. They still tap into the four main talking points mentioned above though.

The similarities between a CV and a cover letter

We've taken a look at the differences in whether a CV is a cover letter, so let's look at the similarities.

Just like strawberries and cream or fish and chips, a CV and cover letter go well together. They detail out your achievements and experience, with the CV listing them in an easy-to-read way and the cover letter embellishing on key points, drawing attention to your brilliance. Overall, it creates a holistic view of the type of worker you are and how you might fit into the business that you're keen to get into.

Top tip: When applying for a role, make sure your CV and cover letter are two separate documents. It's not a good idea to have them running into each other within one document.

Hints on how to write a covering letter

If it's time for you to apply yourself to compiling an informative cover letter for an application, take a look at some TopCV tips on how to go about it.

Identify who to send the letter to

Writing “Dear Sir / Madam,” is so old school. Leave that where it should be… in the classroom. It shows you're proactive and willing to go that little bit further if you've found out the name of the person you need to address the letter to. OK, so it might be easy and staring out at you in black and white if the name appears on the job advert. But if it doesn't, seek out the name by either ringing the company and explaining what you're after, or tracking them down on the company website or LinkedIn.

Draft a compelling introduction paragraph

We all know that first impressions count .

Don't let a great CV be let down by a poorly written cover letter. This means you've got to wow the reader from the start. Detail how the job you're applying for fits in with your ethos, or how eager you are to work for the organisation.

Highlight specifics within your CV

Drawing attention to great results and achievements within your CV will encourage the recruitment manager to reach for that document. The beauty of a cover letter is that you can go into more detail about something, without being restricted by the writing style of a CV. You can use your own voice to convey how well you fit the role.

Match up your skills with those in the job advert

Make it clear how well your strengths and experience marry perfectly with the position in hand. Honing in on a particular detail, and relating it to your own experience, will definitely get you brownie points - and hopefully a call for an interview!

Stuff the letter full of facts and figures

Nothing pops off the page quite like a large number or a piece of tangible data, as it shows concrete evidence that you've got what it takes to fly high.

Use cover letters to demonstrate subjective, personable details

A CV is used to state the facts, giving a succinct overview of your relevant experience and achievements. A cover letter, on the other hand, provides the opportunity to elaborate on your selling points and explain your qualities and potential in more detail. It gives you that little bit of freedom, where CVs can be more narrow.

For example, if you have information you want to impart that doesn't fit into any of the sections of a CV, then you can use the cover letter to perform that duty. This could include information on your work status, when you're available to start, or if you want to disclose personal information that you feel needs to be talked about, such as if you have a disability .

But it doesn't stop there. Your cover letter offers the chance for recruiters to get to know you. Subjective details such as your writing style, your tone of voice, interest in the position, and your own values and motivations add colour to your application and help recruiters warm up to the real you.

Cover letters aren't always listed as an essential requirement on a job application. However, with a CV that proves your talent and ability, plus a cover letter that supports and sells your story, you will greatly increase your chances of impressing a prospective employer. 

The writers at TopCV certainly know their way around both CVs and cover letters. Learn more about working with an expert writer to find more success with your job-search documents, or undertake a free CV review to see how your CV stacks up. This article was originally written by Laura Slingo and has been updated by Elizabeth Openshaw.

Recommended reading:

7 common cover letter mistakes to avoid at all costs

How long should a CV be?

CV tricks that are actually traps

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CV vs Cover Letter: What Is The Difference?

what is a cv vs cover letter

When applying for a business support job, two essential components of the application are a CV and a cover letter. While both are crucial, they serve different purposes. 

A CV provides all the relevant information regarding a candidate’s education, work experience, skills, achievements and other relevant information. Whereas a cover letter is a brief introduction that accompanies a job application and explains why the candidate is the best fit for the position. 

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between a CV and a cover letter. We’ll explain what a cover letter and CV are and share our tips for compiling your CV and cover letter for a business support position. We’ll also provide an example of a CV and cover letter to help job seekers understand the structure and content of each document. 

What Is a CV? 

A CV, or Curriculum Vitae, is a comprehensive document commonly used by job seekers to showcase their skills and qualifications to employers and recruiters. It provides a detailed overview of your career path, including your education, work experience, achievements and skills.

Typically, a CV is designed to provide a comprehensive picture of a candidate’s professional background. The purpose of a CV is to demonstrate to potential employers that the candidate possesses all the necessary experience and expertise for the position they are applying for.

Given its importance in the job application process, a CV is a crucial tool for job seekers to present themselves effectively to potential employers. It highlights their skills, qualifications and career accomplishments, and often serves as the first point of contact between the candidate and a potential employer.

A CV typically includes:

  • Personal details, such as name and contact information
  • A personal statement or summary
  • Educational background and qualifications, this can also include online courses specific to the position you are applying for
  • Work experience, including job titles, responsibilities and achievements
  • Relevant skills and achievements
  • Professional memberships, awards and publications

As business support recruitment specialists , we advise candidates to regularly update their CV so that it fits the requirements of the company and position they’re applying for.

Your CV is essentially a summary of your professional experience and qualifications, and it’s what employers use to determine if you’re a good fit for their organisation. It’s important to keep it current and tailored to the specific job you’re pursuing. This shows potential employers that you’ve taken the time to understand what they’re looking for and that you’re genuinely interested in the position.

What Is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a document that accompanies your job application and provides a brief introduction to your skills and qualifications. Unlike a CV, a cover letter is concise and typically no longer than one page. It is intended to complement your CV and highlight specific skills and experiences that make you a good fit for the position.

A cover letter typically includes:

  • Your contact information and the recipient’s name and address
  • An introduction that explains why you are applying for the job
  • A brief summary of your qualifications and experience
  • Specific examples of how your skills and experience match the job requirements
  • A closing statement that expresses your enthusiasm and invites further contact

Your cover letter is your opportunity to introduce yourself and explain why you’re the best candidate for the job. It’s important to demonstrate that you’ve done your research and that you understand what the company is looking for.

Think of your cover letter as your chance to make a great first impression. It should be concise and engaging and demonstrate your enthusiasm for the position. By taking the time to customise your cover letter, you’ll show potential employers that you’re serious about the job and that you have the skills and experience needed to excel in the role.

What Is the Difference Between a CV and a Cover Letter? 

While both a CV and a cover letter are important components of a job application, they serve distinct purposes.

  • A CV is a detailed document that provides an overview of your education, professional experience, skills, achievements and other relevant information. A cover letter is a brief introduction that accompanies your job application. A well-written cover letter should highlight your relevant skills and experience, as well as your enthusiasm for the position and the company.
  • Typically, a CV is one to three pages long and is designed to showcase your entire professional background in detail. A cover letter is typically one page in length and is designed to introduce yourself to the hiring manager and explain why you are the right candidate for the job. 
  • While a CV provides a comprehensive overview of your professional background, a cover letter serves as an introduction and lets you personalise your application by highlighting your qualifications and expressing your interest in the position.

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Business-Support Position

Here are our top tips for writing a great cover letter to complement your CV for a job application:

  • Introduce yourself and indicate which position you are applying for
  • Explain why you are interested in the position and the company
  • Highlight your relevant skills, experiences and achievements
  • Elaborate on your qualifications and how they match the job requirements
  • Use specific examples to demonstrate your skills and accomplishments
  • Emphasise your enthusiasm for the position and the company
  • Thank the employer for considering your application
  • Indicate your willingness to provide additional information or answer any questions
  • Provide your contact information (e.g., phone number, email) and indicate when you are available for an interview

Example of a CV for a Business-Support Position

Personal information.

Name: Susan Redhill

Address: 1 Lemon Lane, Newcastle, UK

Phone Number: 555-123-1222

Email: [email protected]

A highly organised and detail-oriented Personal Assistant with 5 years of experience in providing administrative support to high-level executives. Skilled in managing complex schedules, coordinating travel arrangements and handling confidential information.

Bachelor of Science in Management,

University of Manchester, UK

Graduation Date: May 2017

Achieved first class honours

Work Experience

Personal Assistant

ABC Corporation

Employment Dates: June 2017 – Present

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Managed the busy schedules of the CEO and COO, scheduling appointments, meetings and travel arrangements
  • Coordinated and managed the logistics of various events, including board meetings, conferences and company retreats
  • Handled sensitive and confidential information with discretion and professionalism
  • Conducted research and prepared reports on various topics as assigned by executives
  • Acted as a liaison between executives and internal/external stakeholders, communicating information and resolving issues
  • Developed and maintained filing and organisational systems for efficient record-keeping

Achievements and Accomplishments

  • Successfully organised and executed a company-wide charity event, raising over £20,000 for a local non-profit organisation
  • Revamped the travel management process of executives, resulting in a 30% reduction in travel expenses that saved the company £30,000 annually
  • Implemented a digital filing system and restructured the company’s record-keeping system, reducing the time and effort required to manage records and improving accuracy by 20%
  • Excellent organisational and time-management skills
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office Suite, including Outlook, Word and Excel
  • Strong communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment
  • Fluent in English and German
  • Name: James Novak
  • Relationship: Former Manager
  • Phone Number: 555-555-1234
  • Email: [email protected]

Example of a Cover Letter for a Business Support Position

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to express my interest in the Personal Assistant position at JS Consulting. With 5 years of experience providing administrative support to high-level executives , I am confident that my skills and expertise align with the requirements of the position. 

In my current role as a Personal Assistant at ABC Corporation, I have gained extensive experience in managing complex schedules, coordinating travel arrangements and handling confidential information. 

I am skilled in using various software applications, including Microsoft Office Suite. I have a proactive attitude, and I love to find ways to increase efficiency and productivity. I have also demonstrated exceptional communication and interpersonal skills. I am a proactive problem-solver, able to anticipate needs and respond with creative solutions.

Thank you for considering my application. I am confident that my qualifications and experience make me a strong candidate for the Personal Assistant position at your company. 

I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my candidacy further and provide additional information. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Susan Redhill

Do you need both a CV and a cover letter?

Typically, when applying for a job, both a CV and a cover letter are required. However, if you are being represented by an agency, individual cover letters are usually not necessary.

While a CV provides a detailed overview of your qualifications and experience, the cover letter is a chance to make a personal connection with the employer and highlight why you are the best fit for the job. Both documents are important and work together to help you stand out in the job application process.

Can you combine your CV and cover letter?

It’s generally not recommended to combine a CV and cover letter into one document. The reason is that a CV and a cover letter serve different purposes and are typically used in different contexts.

By combining the two documents, you may end up creating a cluttered and confusing document that is difficult for employers to navigate. It’s recommended that you keep your CV and cover letter separate to ensure that you effectively communicate your skills, experiences and qualifications to potential employers.

Should I put a CV or cover letter first?

When submitting a job application, the general order is to include the cover letter first, followed by the CV. 

This is because the cover letter is typically used as an introduction to your application and provides a brief overview of your qualifications and interest in the position. The CV then provides more detailed information about your education, work experience, skills and accomplishments.

It is important to follow the specific instructions provided by the employer or job posting , as they may have specific requirements or preferences for the order in which the documents are submitted.

While a CV and cover letter are both important documents for job seekers, they serve different purposes. A CV is a comprehensive document that provides an overview of a candidate’s professional background and qualifications, while a cover letter is a brief introduction that highlights specific skills and experiences that make the candidate a good fit for the position. 

It’s important to keep both documents up to date and tailored to the specific job you are pursuing. By following the tips provided, job seekers can create a strong application that showcases their skills and qualifications effectively.

At Joss Search, we offer expert guidance to candidates and recruiters at every stage of the recruitment process – get in touch if we can help.

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How To Write a Cover Letter for a CV (With Examples)

what is a cv vs cover letter

Tips for Writing a Cover Letter for a CV

Proofread before sending, cover letter template, cover letter sample, sending an email cover letter, more cover letter examples.

When you apply for a job with a  curriculum vitae  (CV), it's important to include a cover letter, also known as a covering letter. This letter allows you to make a favorable first impression, using narrative in your own tone of voice to catch the reader’s attention and encourage them to seriously review your attached CV.

Like a resume, a CV summarizes your skills and experience. The  difference between a CV and a resume  is length, the focus on credentials, and what the documents are used for. Typically, a CV is required to apply for roles in academia, scientific research, and medical fields. 

While your CV provides a detailed—and often lengthy—look at your experience and credentials, the cover letter is an opportunity to call out your most important qualifications and make a compelling case for your candidacy for the role at hand. Here's what you need to know to write a successful curriculum vitae cover letter. 

Tailor the Letter to Fit the Organization

The CV cover letter should be  tailored to respond to the unique and specific requirements  requested by each organization you are approaching. 

Do not use the same cover letter for every job you apply to, even though it may seem like a timesaver. 

Each letter needs to provide detailed information about why are you are qualified for the specific job in question, and it should outline the reasons for your interest in the company or organization. Being specific is advantageous. Even if you're applying for two similar roles in two different hospitals, the two hospitals may serve different populations or require slightly different responsibilities for people in the role. Your letters to each hospital should reflect that. 

Use your cover letter to identify the skills or experiences most specific to the job, rather than copying directly the information in your CV.

What to Include

As a candidate, it's tempting to feel like the cover letter is unnecessary, since it is likely that all the pertinent information is included in your CV. Still, as you can see, the cover letter is a helpful tool in your application. Here's what to keep in mind as you write a cover letter. 

Format Matters

The content of your cover letter should be brief and structured. Aim for 3-5 paragraphs in your letter.  Start with a salutation. Your letter should address the relevant contact, whose name often appears in the job advertisement. Avoid “Sir” or “Madam” if possible.

If the letter recipient's name isn't provided, try these  tips to determine the correct contact person . 

Start With an Introduction

Typically, the first paragraph will be an introduction—if you are applying to a job ad, mention it here. Mention the job title, any reference number, and where and when you saw it. The first paragraph is also where you should mention if someone referred you to the position. 

The Body of the Cover Letter

The body of the letter—the second and third paragraphs—should highlight your relevant skills and experience. Highlight your  transferable skills , achievements, and versatility. Explain what you can contribute and what makes you stand out from your competition. Include mention of your current or last job, qualifications, and professional and academic training, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organization or job applied for.

In the body of the cover letter, you can mention personality traits relevant to the role at hand. You can also use this space to call out why you're interested in this specific role, at this specific company. Potential employers and hiring managers will appreciate it if you can show you've read the job ad and researched the company. 

Avoid lengthy repetition of information covered in your CV. Unlike a CV, it is acceptable to write a cover letter in the first person.

Conclude the letter by succinctly summarizing why an employer may want to meet and employ you. Include a polite expression of interest in further dialogue with the recruiter. Do mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss your suitability further in a personal interview and that you await a response in due course.

Follow Instructions 

In some cases, an advertisement will indicate that a more substantial letter is required. 

Always follow specific instructions and include any information if it is specifically requested. For instance, some employers may ask you to include your current salary or your desired salary range. 

Make Sure the Letter Reads Well 

Ensure that your CV cover letter flows freely. You do not need to precisely match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.

The letter should be readable and engaging. 

Negative information of any sort should be avoided in your cover letter, as well as on your CV.

You'll want to be sure your letter is free from grammar or spelling errors. It should also be clearly presented—that means using standard formatting, and common  readable fonts  (such as Times New Roman or Verdana) in an appropriate size. 

This is a cover letter example. Download the cover letter template (compatible with Google Docs and Word Online) or see below for more examples.

Depending on the employer's submission requirements, cover letters can be submitted online with your CV, uploaded online, or mailed. Be sure to follow the application instructions and follow the directions on how to apply. Consider this template for how to structure your letter: 

Belinda Applicant 123 Main Street Anytown, CA 12345 555-555-5555 belinda.applicant@gmail.com

October 25, 2021

Clark Lee, PhD Biology Department Chair Northwestern University 123 Business Rd. Business City, NY 54321

Dear Dr, Lee:

I am writing to apply for the position of assistant professor in the Biology department, as described in the Northern University website. The opportunity to teach biology appeals to me, and I believe I can be an asset to the department due to my experience as a field biologist, as well as my work as an adjunct professor at Southern State University. In accordance with your job description, I have the following skills:

• Experience lecturing to large audiences

• Experience with learning management systems and course design

• Ability to assist with labs for other professors

• Experience with grant writing and research

I have enclosed my curriculum vitae so you may examine my work and research experience, the papers I’ve published, and my educational background.

I can be reached anytime by email at Belinda.applicant@gmail.com or my cell phone, 555-555-5555. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you about this position.

Signature (hard copy letter)

Belinda Applicant

When you are sending your cover letter by email, list your contact information in your signature rather than at the top of the letter. List your name and the job title in the subject line of the message. 

Here are more examples of cover letters that you can use as a starting point for your own correspondence.

Resume vs. Cover Letter - What you need to know

If you’re in the job market or applying to go to college or university, you’ll have heard about resumes and cover letters ; they’re key to the process. They go hand in hand because what you include in one is likely to be mirrored in the other, but they are very much different beasts and need to be treated as such.

You need to know what the key differences between the documents are so that you can get both of them on point.

Things can get baffling real quick when you enter the job market for the first time or are applying for work after a long career break. Don’t worry, we’re here to answer the burning questions, like:

  • What is a resume vs a cover letter?
  • Should a resume or a cover letter go first?
  • What are the resume and cover letter differences?
  • What are the resume and the cover letter purposes?

And finally, should you choose to use a resume, cover letter, or both?

Let’s get into this! We’ll start with a table that puts the basics together to keep things simple, read on the get to the full lowdown.

Want to get into specifics? Here we go…

Define a Resume

Resumes and CVs are quite the same things: a document that you write about yourself and your skills and experience that you send out when looking for a job in a company.

In your résumé, you need to include a detailed list of your past employers and what you did for them, as well as your education and qualifications. Point out the great stuff you achieved in your past roles, often this is the best tool to boast and show how you can add value in a role.

Pro-Tip Bulleted lists are a great way to keep your resume slick and concise, it also makes it more readable to potential employers - no sifting through long paragraphs. Feel like it’s going to take forever? In five minutes our resume builder will have you off to a flying start.

So Then, a Cover Letter is…?

Also, something that you use to help get a job, it’s a letter that you use to give your future employer more detailed information about yourself by way of an introduction. You normally attach it along with your resume, giving an overview of what’s in there that’s relevant to the role and giving them a reason to read the resume through.

It should only last three to four paragraphs, giving brief information so the employer can get to grips with your background and understand how you’d fit into the organization. Besides, you have to show your interest and motivation to work in this particular company.

Pro-Tip Make sure you pay attention to the job requirements for the role you’re applying for and tailor your cover letter to highlight your skills, qualifications, and experience that make you perfect for the job.

Resume and Cover Letter - Key Differences

Often, the easiest way to understand the difference between a resume and a cover letter is to get to grips with what you actually need them for:

A resume is a summary of your previous jobs, education, and training and shows the hiring manager reading it who you are as a professional. Think of it like the “product”.

A cover letter is the sales pitch for your resume, giving the recruiter reasons why what you’ve done in the past makes you a perfect hire for the role. Tell them why you want to work for them and how you’re going to help develop their business.

A resume is typically written in a formal style, using the third person and you should use as few words as you can to get your experience across, keep it short and simple. Most resumes you see will have: a list of contact deets; a collection of your past experience with your job title, your key responsibilities, and achievements, and the dates you worked in each role; a list of your education and professional qualifications; and any other relevant information like volunteering or professional association memberships.

Your cover letter is there to pull out exactly what is in your resume that will make you the perfect hire. You’re writing a letter rather than a factual list so format it properly, with an appropriate greeting - ideally with the name of the recruiter - using paragraphs and a polite sign-off. Your cover letter needs to be in the first person, but don’t overuse “I”, focus on the reader instead.

Pro-Tip When you’ve got facts to boast about, use them. Include details like how many people you supervised, how you raised the productivity levels, and how much you exceeded your targets; details give you credibility.

Are There Any Similarities Between Resumes and Cover Letters?

Absolutely! The main job of a resume and a cover letter is to help you get an interview invitation.

Reading this, you’re probably thinking whether a resume and cover letter need to be prepared and handled differently. As much as these documents have two very different functions, which are important to know about, there are things that are needed in both to get you ready to make it big in the role of your dreams.

Some of the main tips are: both of them need to be accurate, focus on the key activities and actions that you did, and of course, your spelling and grammar need to be on fleek.

Pro-Tip Both in your cover letter and your résumé, use definites when talking about you and your skills, rather than “I believe” and “I think” use assertive words like “I achieved”.

Key Takeaway

Look at your resume as an overall picture of your career until now and see your cover letter as a summary of why your experience is related to the job that you’re actually applying for. Here’s a rundown of the important bits you need to remember when looking at the differences between a cover letter and a resume:

  • Your resume is a historical account of your work until now, using bullet points and broken down into sections.
  • In your cover letter, you go into more detail, giving insight into your work history in a personalized letter.
  • A resume is a list of qualifications and achievements - a cover letter describes them.
  • Keep a resume formal and direct; make your cover letter personal to the reader.
  • Cover letters are a complement to a resume and are standard practice to send out - hiring managers to expect them.

Hopefully, with the tips given above, we’ve helped you navigate your way through choosing the right document for the right purpose when you want to apply for a job and introduce yourself as a perfect candidate for the desired position. We’ve got classic resume templates for you to try out and make your curriculum vitae look professional, the perfect one is waiting for you!

Browse examples 🔎

Not sure whether you need a CV or a resume? Wondering are resumes and CVs the same thing? We’ve got a detailed guide and useful tips ready for you!

Need ideas for what to include in a resume? Go through our full guide, packed with pro-tips and insider tricks to get you into that job you’ve been dreaming about!

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CV vs Cover Letter: Difference and Comparison

There are certain documents which are highly crucial in work fields. These official documents are the perfect reflection of someone’s calibre. Hence, they are of immense importance. Such documents are Curriculum Vitae and Cover letters.

Key Takeaways A CV (curriculum vitae) is a comprehensive document detailing a person’s professional experience, education, and skills. At the same time, a cover letter is a one-page introduction tailored to a specific job application. CVs are used in academic or research settings, whereas cover letters are standard for most job applications. A strong cover letter should highlight a candidate’s relevant skills and experience and explain their interest in the position. At the same time, a CV should provide a thorough overview of a person’s professional background.

CV vs Cover Letter

The difference between a CV and Cover Letter is that Bullet points and lists are commonly used in the framework of a resume or a CV. However, on the contrary, a cover letter’s format is broken down into sentences and paragraphs. A curriculum vitae (CV) or resume is a sort of document that contains a lot of information. However, A cover letter is a brief letter.

CV vs Cover Letter

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A Curriculum Vitae or CV ‘s contents can be condensed to a page or two or much longer. A CV, also known as a resume or curriculum vitae, is a document that is routinely written.

In the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa, a Curriculum Vitae is used to demonstrate to an employer your qualifications when you are looking for work. In the United States, however, CVs are also used extensively in scientific, academic, research, and educational roles.

A cover letter ‘s contents must always fit on one page. In general, a cover letter includes a quick introduction to the person, his work history, preferred job profile, and career ambitions.

CL stands for Cover Letter. A cover letter is used to supplement a curriculum vitae, which includes a brief introduction and outlines the applicant’s interests.

Comparison Table

What is cv.

The contents of a Curriculum Vitae or CV can be contained inside a page or two or perhaps expanded a little further. Bullet points and lists are commonly used in the format of a resume or CV.

For all types of jobs and job opportunities, the CV or Curriculum Vitae is the same. Only precise details are included in a curriculum vitae. A curriculum vitae (CV) or resume is a form of detailed document.

The contents of the Curriculum Vitae begin with information about the applicant’s name, address, and phone number, followed by educational qualifications, work experience, and any other relevant work abilities.

It also includes a summary of academic qualifications, research and teaching experience, presentations, publications, honours, awards, affiliations, and other pertinent information.

A CV is sometimes referred to as a resume or a curriculum vitae. In the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the objective of a Curriculum Vitae is to show the employer while applying for a job.

In the United States, however, CVs are used extensively in scientific, academic, research, and educational roles.

cv

What is Cover Letter?

The contents of a cover letter must always be contained inside a page. In most cases, a cover letter includes a quick introduction to the person, his work history, preferred job profile, and career aspirations. Cover Letter can also be abbreviated as CL.

A cover letter’s objective is to supplement the curriculum vitae, which includes a brief introduction and discusses the applicant’s interests. Only general information is included in the cover letter. A cover letter’s format is divided into sentences and paragraphs.

The format and expectations of the job might be varied in the cover letter. A cover letter is a brief piece of writing. On the contrary, Only precise details make up a curriculum vitae.

For all types of jobs and job opportunities, the CV or curriculum vitae is the same, but Cover Letter can be modified.

woman signing on white printer paper beside woman about to touch the documents

Main Differences Between CV and Cover Letter

  • The length of the contents in a Curriculum Vitae or CV can be constituted at least a page or two or even can be extended a little more than that. On the other hand, the length of the contents of a cover letter constitutes within a page always.
  • The contents of the Curriculum Vitae begin with information on Name, contact details, then educational qualification, work experience or any other related and relevant work skills. It also involves a brief of academic details, research and teaching experience, presentation, publications, honours, awards, affiliations and the rest required relevant details. On the other hand, a cover letter comprises a brief introduction to the person, his job experience, preferred job profile and goals in the career that he aspired to.
  • A CV is commonly written as a Resume or even Curriculum Vitae. On the other hand, Cover Letter is sometimes written as CL as well.
  • The purpose of a Curriculum Vitae in areas of the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa is to show the employer at the time of seeking employment. On the other hand, in the United States, the use of a CV is primary in scientific, academic, research and educational positions as well. On the other hand, the purpose of a cover letter is to complement the curriculum vitae, which includes a brief introduction and explains the interests.
  • Curriculum Vitae consists only of specific details. On the other hand, Cover Letter consists only of General information.
  • The format of a resume or CV is written in bullet points and lists. On the other hand, the format of a cover letter is categorised into sentences and paragraphs.
  • CV or Curriculum Vitae remains the same for all kinds of employment and job opportunities. On the other hand, Cover Letter can be modified according to the employment structure and demands.
  • Curriculum Vitae/CV/ Resume is a comprehensive type of document. On the other hand, Cover Letter is a concise type of document.

Difference Between CV and Cover Letter

  • https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=lang_en&id=QwM8DwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PT9&dq=cover+letter+and+CV&ots=_Dc8xba2Ah&sig=VsYvUa583voRaWhcYenVt6bUF7I
  • https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-71855-8_5

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Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page .

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Average mortgage rates today

  • Average rate by mortgage type
  • Average rate by credit score
  • Average rate by year
  • Average rate by state

How are mortgage rates determined?

What to know before getting a mortgage, average mortgage interest rates: mortgage rates by credit score, year, and loan type.

Our experts answer readers' home-buying questions and write unbiased product reviews ( here's how we assess mortgages ). In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners ; however, our opinions are our own.

Interest rates for the most popular 30-year fixed mortgage averaged around 6.43% in December 2023, according to Zillow data. Rates for 15-year mortgages, which are also relatively popular, were 5.75%.

The average monthly mortgage payment is currently $2,883 for a 30-year fixed mortgage, based on recent home price and mortgage rate data.

Mortgage rates are always changing, and there are a lot of factors that can sway your interest rate. While some of them are personal factors you have control over, and some aren't, it's important to know what your interest rate could look like as you start the process of getting a home loan. 

Most experts believe that mortgage rates will go down in 2024 .

While average mortgage and refinance rates can give you an idea of where rates are currently at, remember that they're never a guarantee of the rate a lender will offer you. Mortgage interest rates vary by borrower, based on factors like your credit, loan type, and down payment.

To get the best rate for you, you'll want to get quotes from multiple lenders.

Average mortgage interest rate by mortgage type

Purchase mortgage.

The rates you'll get on a mortgage used to purchase a home are often better than what you'll be quoted for a refinance. They generally differ by the loan's length in years, and whether the interest rate is fixed or adjustable. Two of the most popular types include:

  • 30-year mortgage rates : The most popular type of mortgage, this home loan makes for low monthly payments by spreading the amount over 30 years. 
  • 15-year mortgage rates : Interest rates and payments won't change on this type of loan, but it has higher monthly payments since payments are spread over 15 years. However, it comes with lower rates than a 30-year loan.

Mortgage refinance

Mortgage refinance rates typically differ somewhat from purchase rates, and may be slightly higher — particularly if you're getting a cash-out refinance, since these are considered riskier.

If you're considering a refinance, be sure to shop around with the best mortgage refinance lenders and get multiple rate quotes to be sure you're getting the best deal.

  • 30-year mortgage refinance rates :  Refinancing into a 30-year term can lower your monthly payment since you're spreading out what you owe over a longer period of time.
  • 15-year mortgage refinance rates :  Refinancing into a shorter term like a 15-year mortgage will increase your monthly payment, but help you save on interest.

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

HELOC rates are generally a little higher than rates on first mortgages, but they can still be worth it if you're looking to tap into your home's equity without having to take on a new rate on your main mortgage.

As with other types of mortgages, you'll want to shop around and get multiple rate quotes to find the best HELOC lenders .

Average mortgage interest rate by credit score

National rates aren't the only thing that can sway your mortgage interest rates — personal information like your credit score also can affect the price you'll pay to borrow. 

See Insider's picks for the best mortgage lenders »

The higher your score is, the less you'll pay to borrow money. Generally, 620 is the minimum credit score needed to buy a house , with some exceptions for government-backed loans.

Data from credit scoring company FICO shows that the lower your credit score, the more you'll pay for credit. Here's the average interest rate by credit level for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $300,000, as of January 2024:

According to FICO, only people with credit scores above 660 will truly see interest rates around the national average. 

Average mortgage interest rate by year

Mortgage rates are constantly in flux, largely affected by what's happening in the greater economy. Things like inflation, the bond market, overall housing market conditions, and Federal Reserve policy impact mortgage rates . 

Here's how the average mortgage interest rate has changed over time, according to  data from Freddie Mac .

Throughout 2020, the average mortgage rate fell drastically due to the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis. Rates throughout 2020 and into 2021 were lower than rates at the depths of the Great Recession. Thirty-year fixed mortgage interest rates hit a low of 2.65% in January 2021, according to Freddie Mac. Rates began to rise again in 2022.

Most major forecasts expect rates to start dropping throughout the next couple of years, and they could ultimately end up somewhere in the 5% range.

Average mortgage interest rate by state

Check the latest rates in your state at the links below. 

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont Virginia Washington Washington, DC West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming

Multiple factors affect the interest rate you'll pay on a mortgage. Some are outside of your control. Others you can influence.

For instance, the federal funds rate — the interest rate banks charge when they lend to each other — has an influence on all sorts of other interest rates, including those on mortgages. The Federal Reserve adjusts the federal funds rate as part of its effort to control inflation. Therefore, it's a factor that is beyond your control.

Key determining factors that you do have control over include:

  • Your credit score
  • Debt-to-income ratio
  • The amount of your down payment
  • The type of mortgage you get
  • The amount of time you take to pay off the loan

A mortgage is a type of secured loan used to purchase a home. You pay back the lender over an agreed-upon amount of time, including an additional interest payment, which you can consider the price of borrowing money.

(You can also pay off your mortgage early , but there are both pros and cons to be aware of.)

Because a mortgage is a secured loan, it means you put your property up as collateral. Should you fail to make your payments over time, the lender can foreclose on, or repossess, your property.

Frequently asked questions about average mortgage rates

A mortgage rate, also known as a mortgage interest rate, is the fee charged by your lender for loaning you money. Your principal (payments on the amount of money you borrowed) and interest are rolled into one payment each month.

In December 2023, 30-year mortgage rates averaged 6.43%, and they've been trending even lower this month.

Compared to where rates were just a couple of years ago, a 7% mortgage rate is extremely high. But now, many borrowers who got their mortgage in the last year likely have rates of 7% or higher. Fortunately, rates have eased somewhat in recent months, and are now back below this benchmark.

Average mortgage rates nearly reached 8% in October of 2023, but they've since come down. However, rates can vary a lot depending on your finances. If you have a lower credit score, you could still get a rate that's near 8%. Rates are expected to decrease this year, so we likely won't see average rates reach 8%. 

The last time mortgage rates were at 8% was in August 2000, when the average 30-year mortgage rate was 8.04%, according to Freddie Mac.

The better your credit score, the better the rate you'll get on your mortgage. To access the best mortgage interest rates, aim to have a credit score at least in the 700s.

Mortgage rates fluctuate all the time. The best way to get a good mortgage rate is to get quotes from at least three different mortgage lenders and compare them. That way, you'll know you're likely getting a good rate. If you're having trouble getting a lower rate, you might want to first take some time to work on your credit or pay down debt.

A discount point is a fee you can choose to pay at closing for a lower interest rate on your mortgage. One discount point usually costs 1% of your mortgage, and it reduces your rate by 0.25%. So if your rate on a $200,000 mortgage is 6.5% and you pay $4,000 for two discount points, your new interest rate is 6%.

Because mortgage interest rates are so individual to the borrower, the best way to find the rates available to you is to get quotes from multiple lenders. If you're early in the homebuying process, apply for prequalification and/or preapproval with several lenders to compare and contrast what they're offering.

Mortgage interest rates are expected to fall soon, but when and how much depends on the path of inflation; if price growth continues to slow, rates should fall in the coming months. If inflation remains stubborn, we may have to wait a bit longer. But that doesn't mean you need to put off your homebuying plans — there are plenty of advantages to buying a house when rates are high , such as decreased competition.

what is a cv vs cover letter

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  1. Resume vs. Cover Letter: What’s the Difference?

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  2. CV vs Cover Letter: What Are The Differences?

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  3. CV vs Cover Letter: Differences, Similarities & Which One to Use

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  4. Cover Letter Vs Resume Comparison Table by JobSearchBible.com

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  5. Cover Letter vs Resume: Differences, Comparison, Examples

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  6. Cover Letter vs. Resume: How Are They Different?

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  1. Cover Letter vs. CV: Definitions, Differences and Tips

    Show Transcript Video: How to Write a Cover Letter - Top 3 Tips In this video, we review each part of a cover letter sample, explain how a cover letter boosts your application and review the best cover letter format. Cover letters and curriculum vitae (CVs) are both major components of a candidate's application for a job position.

  2. CV vs Cover Letter: What's the Difference?

    A CV includes detailed information about your work experience and academic background while a cover letter is a condensed document that explains why you're applying for the given job. But let's park that for a minute and break it down. What is a CV? That actually depends where you are.

  3. Resume vs Cover Letter: How They're Different

    Necessity A resume is a requirement and necessity for virtually all job applications. A cover letter, on the other hand, is highly recommended but isn't necessarily required unless the job application specifically requests the inclusion of a cover letter.

  4. CV vs Cover Letter: What Are The Differences?

    In the United States, a CV is a multipage document used by people applying for academic or medical positions. By contrast, a cover letter is a one page letter that explains who you are, why you want the job, and how you'll contribute to the position you're applying to. What is a CV outside of the United States?

  5. Cover Letter vs. Resume: How Are They Different?

    As featured in * A cover letter formally introduces you, your interest in a specific position, and your suitability for that position to a hiring manager. A resume, on the other hand, provides a hiring manager an overview of your skills and professional experience.

  6. Cover Letter vs CV

    A CV (curriculum vitae) is different from a cover letter in that a cover letter is more concise and a CV is fairly detailed. While a CV includes detailed information about a person's educational background and work experience, a cover letter is a more concise document expressing interest in the job being applied to. Comparison chart

  7. What's the Difference Between a Cover Letter vs a Resume?

    Table of Contents What's the difference between a cover letter and a resume? A resume is factual and brief. Think of it as a list of your professional skills and experience. A cover letter, on the other hand, is more detailed. It lets you tell employers why you're the best person for the job.

  8. Cover Letter Vs Resume: Here Are The Key Differences

    1 - Structure of a resume vs cover letter. The most obvious difference is that the cover letter looks different than the resume. The cover letter is a business letter, or even if it's the ...

  9. CV vs Cover Letter: Differences, Similarities & Which One to Use

    CV vs Cover Letter: Differences, Similarities & Which One to Use You are ready to go for your dream job, and you plan to nail it in no time. But to do so, you need some really strong application documents, as the competition for all jobs is increasing by the minute.

  10. Cover Letter VS. Resume -What's The Difference?

    A cover letter (also known as a letter of motivation) is a document sent alongside your resume. It provides additional information that you did not or could not include in your resume and gives you the opportunity to show more of your credentials to employers. Cover letters vs. resumes - what's the difference?

  11. The CV Cover Letter: What It Is and How to Write It Well

    A CV contains comprehensive data on you education, skills, industry experience, and academic achievements. A cover letter has condensed information on your skill set, education, employment history, and achievement in the academia.

  12. The difference between CVs and cover letters

    Elizabeth Openshaw Is a CV a cover letter? While a CV and a cover letter share a purpose, they are different So you're wondering, is a CV a cover letter? It's not surprising if you believe them to be similar - both documents share the purpose of showing that you're a good match for a vacancy by highlighting your experience and achievements.

  13. CV vs Cover Letter: What Is The Difference?

    Whereas a cover letter is a brief introduction that accompanies a job application and explains why the candidate is the best fit for the position. In this article, we'll explore the differences between a CV and a cover letter.

  14. What is a Cover Letter? Definition & Examples

    A cover letter is a one-page document included in your job application (along with your resume ). The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce you to an employer, and give them additional information about your qualifications, character, and why you're interested in working for them. Your cover letter is also a great place to provide ...

  15. How To Write a Cover Letter for a CV (With Examples)

    The content of your cover letter should be brief and structured. Aim for 3-5 paragraphs in your letter. Start with a salutation. Your letter should address the relevant contact, whose name often appears in the job advertisement. Avoid "Sir" or "Madam" if possible.

  16. Resume vs. Cover Letter

    Your resume is a historical account of your work until now, using bullet points and broken down into sections. In your cover letter, you go into more detail, giving insight into your work history in a personalized letter. A resume is a list of qualifications and achievements - a cover letter describes them.

  17. CV vs Cover Letter: Difference and Comparison

    A CV (curriculum vitae) is a comprehensive document detailing a person's professional experience, education, and skills. At the same time, a cover letter is a one-page introduction tailored to a specific job application. CVs are often used in academic or research settings, whereas cover letters are standard for most job applications.

  18. Best Resume Writing Service

    My Cover Letter, Resume, and Thank You Letter were well done. My LinkedIn makeover was incredible. Mark. From Doer to Achiever. My writer turned my resume from sounding/looking like a desperate person hoping to land a job to a mature professional with valuable contributions to offer. I chose the resume+Linkedin option and am blown away by my ...

  19. Camp Counselor Job Description for a Resume: Templates 2024

    Cover Letter Templates Find the perfect cover letter template. Cover Letter Examples See perfect cover letter samples that get jobs. Cover Letter Format Pick the right format for your situation. How to Write a Cover Letter Learn how to make a cover letter that gets interviews. Cover Letter Help Boost your chances of having your resume read with ...

  20. CV vs Cover Letter: Differences, Similarities & Which One to Use

    CV vs cover letter - what are the differences? Takeaways You are ready to go for your dream job, and you plan to nail it in no time. But to do so, you need some really strong application documen

  21. Wondering what the current accepted standard is when ...

    I put resume first followed by cover letter in same document. I tried applying yesterday but it took me so long yesterday to gather everything, the system seemed to time out so I gave a go today with success. This would be downgrade for me as Dialysis RN, applied for Endoscopy Tech, hoping to find entry point to a new specialty with opportunity ...

  22. How to write a management accountant CV (with example)

    Example CV for management accountants Reviewing examples is one of the best ways to prepare for Here's an example CV for a management accountant: Marie Jane +44 (0)7874 123456 | [email protected]| London Professional Summary Results-driven and ambitious professional with over five years of experience in junior and mid-level management accounting roles.

  23. Why a booming US job market is bad news for homebuyers

    The letter F. Facebook. An envelope. It indicates the ability to send an email. Email. A stylized bird with an open mouth, tweeting. Twitter. The word "in". LinkedIn. An image of a chain link. ...