CV vs Cover Letter: What Is The Difference?
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
- Name: Susan Redhill
- Address: 1 Lemon Lane, Newcastle, UK
- Phone Number: 555-123-1222
- Email: email@example.com
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Example of a Cover Letter for a Business Support Position
Name: Susan Redhill
Address: 1 Lemon Lane, Newcastle, UK
Phone Number: 555-123-1222
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.
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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