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Resume Writing

Application Letter vs Cover Letter

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Although both terms can be used interchangeably, an application letter and a cover letter aren’t the same things. Is a letter of application the same as a cover letter? We get this question often, which is not surprising.

It is not only enough to show interest in a particular job opening; you need these documents to prove you have the qualifications for it. Like David Ciccarelli, CEO at Voice, said, “I continue to find cover letters to be an effective tool for the candidate to express themselves and their enthusiasm for the position.”

It is important that you get these right the first time, and to do that, you have to know the difference between an application letter and a cover letter. If this sounds like something you are curious to learn, you are in the right place. This article will extensively discuss the subtle differences and similarities between these two and give examples of how they work.

Although some employers prefer to peruse your social media accounts, especially LinkedIn, to see if you are a suitable candidate based on your profile and collections, it is still good to know the difference between these documents. If you have questions on how to use bullet points on LinkedIn or go about LinkedIn formatting, we have articles on our blog that can help you with that.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is typically a one-page document submitted alongside your resume during a job application. Every job application requires a cover letter for so many reasons. When you find a job opening, you best believe that thousands of other applicants are vying for that same job. The competition is high, and HR will have to go through so many resumes to choose a candidate.

When the resumes are too much, they tend to skip some, especially when it doesn’t look interesting. A cover letter is what graphs their attention. Your resume might be great, but HR won’t know if they don’t see it. A cover letter is usually about 300-400 words long, and its function is to introduce you and summarize your professional background.
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When HR reads this cover letter, they become interested, making them want to read the entire resume. On the other hand, if your cover letter is bad, you know exactly where this would lead to, probably the paper shredder.

So many applicants make the mistake of just copying whatever is in their resume and pasting it on the cover. This is wrong and one of the fastest ways to put the reviewer off.

A cover letter is not your resume and should not be used to replace this in any way.

It is an essential supplement and should contain details and information that is separate from what you have in your resume. If you are still struggling with writing a CV, there is an article about top resume writers on our page, and you can check that out for more information.

What is a Letter of Application?

To fully understand the cover letter vs application letter discussion, we must explain what an application letter is. We already wrote extensively about the cover letter in the paragraph above.

An application letter is a document you submit to indicate interest in a job position. If you are actively seeking a job, you must learn how to write this letter. It is not more important than the cover letter, but it is the first one you have to write to prove that you have read the job offer and deem yourself an appropriate candidate.

When writing your application, you want to take note of a few things. Make sure to talk about your professional goals and aspirations. This is to enable you to get the attention of the hiring manager. Show your familiarity with the company, especially in the greeting section.

Make sure you do a little digging to discover the name of the hiring manager. This would show passion. Like Heather Huhman, a career expert, said, “You shouldn’t just say that you want the job or love your industry. You have to show your passion.” Given the importance of this letter, you should not blow it. Neither should you mistake it for a cover letter.

It is easy for applicants to gloss over this document since they believe they have everything written in the resume. However, you should stand out from the rest and create an application letter and resume that will hold their interest long enough to make sure they review you for the job.

For adequate punctuation and grammatical corrections, check out the article on our page about how many bullet points per job on resume. It will help you write a CV better.

In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the exact reason for this article: letter of application vs. cover letter.

Letter of Application vs. Cover Letter

As we mentioned before, there are so many similarities between these two documents that many job applicants mistake one for the other. However, there are still certain differences between them that sets them apart.

Purpose

The reasons why applicants send these letters are different, so that you can’t send one in place of the other. When applying for a job, the cover letter is sent as part of your resume. It is an attachment that gets to the HR office together with your resume, proof of qualifications, and every other document you might feel the need to attach. In about 350 words, the cover letter will introduce the entire content of the resume to give the hiring manager an idea of what they will find in the resume.

An application letter can and usually stands alone. When you find a job opening, you can quickly craft an application letter and send it to their table before you start writing a resume. It is a letter to show your open interest. Unlike the cover letter, this one provides a deeper insight into your professional strength and proves that you’re the best candidate for the job.

Introduction

Another major feature in the letter of application vs. cover letter discussion is the introduction. Their formats are quite different, and this difference should be respected and adequately followed.
In a cover letter, your intro should only be a few sentences long. Don’t forget it will only be about 400 words, so make every word count. The introduction should express your interest in the job and highlight why you are applying.

While you only touch on these details in the cover letter, you must expatiate on this in the application letter. Your introduction must cover all the reasons you think you qualify for this job. You have permission to toot your horn and brag about your skills here—all in about five sentences.

Examples of how this can be done will be shown in subsequent paragraphs.

Work Experience

You should already notice that there is a certain trend to this. In a cover letter, you briefly state. In an application letter, you describe. The same goes for work experience too.
In a cover letter, simply mention all the relevant job experience you have that makes you qualify for the job.

In an application letter, you need to divulge a little more. State the name of the company, your job position, duration of employment, responsibilities, and every other necessary information.

Length and Attachments

A cover letter is usually about half a page or a full page. It is a concise document containing only useful information about yourself while you refer the hiring manager to the other attachments in the application. This would include your resume and other essential files.

Application letters are longer. It can stand alone, so you want to make sure you write all the necessities highlighting all the important details in your professional and personal background.

Examples

Now that we have discussed the difference between cover letter and application letter, we will show you practical examples of these differences based on the major points above.
Let’s get into it:

Example 1: Introduction

Cover Letter

My name is Edmund Hutcher, and I’m applying for the role of Chief Storage Officer. I have seven years of working as a Chief Security in my previous job, and I am positive that the experience is enough to make me suitable for this role.

Application Letter

My name is Edmund Hutcher, and I would like to show my interest in the Chief Storage officer role vacancy. I have always had an avid interest in safety and security, which made me actively pursue this service for about seven years. I believe I am the best candidate for the job, not because I have the qualifications and licenses to prove it, but because I have the passion and resilience necessary to excel.

Example 2: Work Experience

Cover Letter

From January 2014 to September 2021, I worked as Chief Security Officer at Lead City Holdings. I was in charge of the entire storage facility during my time there. I was responsible for ensuring all the goods were kept safe and in great condition.

Application Letter

I worked from January 2014 to September 2021 as a Chief Security Officer in Lead City Holdings. While I was there, I was in charge of a few camping blocks and, majorly, the storage facility. My responsibilities included making sure the workers were properly dressed in the appropriate gear for production.

FAQ

Is an application letter the same as a cover letter?

Although they are similar and interchangeable, they are not the same. They are entirely two different documents with two other purposes and intents. You must learn when to use either of these documents because, in this era, recruiters are looking out for minor loopholes like this. Ensure you make the best choice between a cover letter vs. a letter of application.

What is the difference between an application letter and a cover letter?

There are so many differences between these two documents. One major one is their purpose. The application letter expresses intent, while the cover letter supplements your resume. Your application letter has to be comprehensive, as this will help the recruiters decide whether you are the right candidate.

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