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Resumes, CVs and cover letters

Resumes, CVs and cover letters
A résumé, and a cover letter should not be redundant.

If you’re preparing to go on the job market this fall (and even if you’re not), now is a good time to start polishing your application materials. For faculty positions that means updating your CV. For staff and administrative jobs, whether you need a CV or a résumé will depend on the position. For every type of position, you’ll need a tailored cover letter.

Career advisers say that job candidates often don’t understand that the CV/résumé and the cover letter have different functions and are designed to help employers ascertain distinctly different things. Ignore those differences and you risk shortchanging yourself and your application.

  • The CV/résumé. It’s a chronology of your accomplishments. As a genre, it has its own conventions and styling, where form follows function. It’s a comprehensive record of the nature, pace, and volume of your work and the people in your corner.
  • The cover letter. Whereas the CV/résumé is a document that informs, the cover letter is a document that elucidates and persuades. In the letter you have to be able to explain the following: the substance and contributions of your work and how you “fit” your potential employer. Your CV/résumé hints implicitly at your fit for a particular job. Your cover letter makes the case.

Continue reading: “Your CV Should Inform. Your Cover Letter Should Persuade,” by Karen Kelsky