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The Difference between resume and cover letter

In this article we explain the clear difference between resume and cover letter or difference between statement of purpose and resume. A motivation letter and a CV are different, and understanding the purpose of both will increase your chances at landing a dream job.

We know that you know this, but do you really?

We all know that a CV is not the same thing as a motivation letter. For one thing, they don’t look the same. Everyone is aware that even in terms of content there is a clear difference. However, when we read people’s resumes and motivation letters it always strikes us how in most of the cases, the cover letter turns out to be a long-winded version of the resume, with merely some motivational aspects plugged in. That’s why you have to understand the difference between resume and cover letter. 

Let us make a very clear statement: there shouldn’t be any overlap between your CV and your motivation letter. The only similarity should be that with both tools you try to sell yourself. The clear difference regarding cover letter versus resume is that you sell yourself in a different way.

Resume versus Cover Letter

  • Through a resume, you sell yourself as a product based on a list of features – an objective overview of the credentials you have to indicate your skills. Because it’s all about objective comparison between candidates, make sure to speak a language everyone speaks. Make sure to quantify. Use as many numbers as you can when describing your experience in bullet points. It’s feature-based selling. This technique was the dominant selling technique for selling anything until the end of the 80’s.

  • With your cover letter you sell yourself as a solution to a problem. You apply the psychology of solution sales to pinpoint the company’s pain and then you provide yourself as the solution. Your motivation is only a part of the motivation letter – think solution sales first! And by all means, don’t mention a single institution or test score on your motivation letter. It’s a total waste of space.

Now that you understand the difference between a CV and a motivation letter or statement of purpose, we can answer the following question: should your CV include a bio section? Does it make sense to include full sentences about yourself in a resume now that you know that that is not exactly the purpose of this document? The answer is simple: only write the bio if either it’s required by the company or school, or if you are specifically asked not to write a statement of purpose or cover letter. 

In case you don’t want to pay for expensive resume or cover letter writing services, we have a great alternative for you. Download a template, watch the video chapter and make your own version yourself: go to the download space.

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