Any job seeker must be able to differentiate between a cover letter and an application letter though both documents are used in the same circumstances. An application letter has a broader description of the job applicant and includes details such as the applicant’s experience, job history, strengths, weakness, and salary expectation. The cover letter acts as a summary of the applicant’s resume and serves to introduce the job seeker to the interviewer.
Difference between an application and a cover letter
The significant differences between a cover letter and an application letter are;
- A cover letter acts as a summary of the job seeker’s resume whereas the application letter has detailed information on the job seeker’s skills and abilities.
- An application letter reveals the applicant’s skills, qualifications, strengths and skills relevant to the job at hand while a cover letter will bear the candidates contacts and a brief highlight why the candidate is the best for the position while ignoring in-depth details.
- An application letter can act as a stand-alone document during a job application showcasing why the applicant is suitable for the position. A cover letter should be accompanied by a resume to qualify as a full application package.
- The application letter will work to describe why you’re the best candidate, besides booking an interview for the applicant; the cover letter will only show the intention of the letter and define the professional ability of the sender.
When to use an application letter
Employers usually request job applicants to send a cover letter and a resume when applying for a job. You’ll hardly find an employer asking for an application letter as the way to apply for a job; application letters are less common in job applications.
The most appropriate time to use an application letter is when you’re applying a job that hasn’t been advertised. You can send an application letter to several potential employers as a way of introducing yourself to them.
What an application letter includes
When writing your application letter, you must include detailed information on your education background and work history. Skills gained, and your achievements at each job should be highlighted in the application letter.
It’s advisable to organize your application letter with bullets and subheadings to allow recruiters to skim through easily.
When to use a cover letter
A cover letter works to introduce you to your potential employer and should accompany your resume in every job application.
In cases where you’re attending a prearranged interview, you only need to have your resume since you’ll introduce yourself.
A cover letter might not be necessary when you’re networking with prospective employers in a career fair. Only hand over your resume to the individual since you’ll introduce yourself to the individual.
What a cover letter includes
A cover letter is a short document that comprises three to four paragraphs. It acts as a summary of the resume. When writing the cover letter, you assume the recipient will get details from your resume.
The cover letter will portray how your academic qualifications and previous work experience make you suitable for the position at hand.
Before writing a cover letter for any job, read and understand the job requirements for the specific position then use the cover letter to explain how your qualifications and work experience relate to the requirements.