Writing a cover letter along with a resume can increase your prospects of being selected for your dream job or internship. While they are complementary to each other, they cannot substitute one another. So let’s learn about the differences between a resume and a cover letter:
What is a Resume?
A resume is a formal document that summarizes your education, skills, work experience, and accomplishments. A well-drafted resume will speak volumes about your worth as a potential employee.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is going to be the body of the email when you send your resume to the prospective employer or a headhunter. It creates a great impression on the employer as they are likely to read through the cover letter before opening the resume.
The letter should demonstrate your motivation for applying to a particular organization/law firm. You can describe an experience that is relevant and pertinent to the position you are applying for. You can even include certain details that you won’t include in the resume such as your availability dates for an interview and the follow-up procedure.
A resume states the objective information about you such as who you are, your educational qualifications, work experience, and other achievements. On the other hand, a cover letter is a better medium to convey subjective information about you as a person. It adds a bit of color and personality to your resume. That’s why in a cover letter, you can talk about how your values motivate you to apply for a particular position or why a company’s work culture and objectives resonate with you, or why you are the right fit for the organization.
Format of a resume
Resumes follow a standard format where your work experience should be presented in a reverse chronological manner. Ideally, your resume should be just 2 pages. Therefore, you should master the art of brevity without missing out on crucial details to impress your prospective employer and gaining an edge over your competitors. For writing the perfect resume, just click here.
Format of a cover letter
A cover letter is usually between 300-600 words. You can start with a salutation. Make sure to write the first name of the hiring manager or the person in charge of receiving the application. Avoid using generic salutation such as ‘To whomsoever it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. It shows a lack of initiative and attention to detail.
Add an introductory paragraph to briefly introduce who you are. Your name, years of experience as a lawyer (or year of study, in case you are a law student), and the position you are applying for should feature in this paragraph. Make it a point to mention how did you come across this job/internship opening. If you are applying for an internship, mention the exact duration when you want to intern. For example, a period of 4 weeks in December starting from 3 December 2020.
Use the next paragraph to talk about your skills and achievements that make you an ideal candidate for the position. If the call for application has a list of responsibilities or skills that the potential employer is looking for, showcase how your skills are useful for discharging such responsibilities.
For example, if you are a law student applying for an internship with the securities law team of a Tier-1 firm, mention your specific experience in securities law such as moots, publications, credit courses, compulsory courses, etc.
End the cover letter with a final paragraph where you can demonstrate how eager you are to be considered for this position. Don’t forget to mention your availability for a telephonic or virtual interview, along with preferred timeslots. Lastly, thank the addressee for their time to read through your application and sign off with your name.
Sending your resume without a comprehensive cover letter can affect your chances of getting selected. Enclose a cover letter even if the prospective employer has not asked for one. We hope that the tips shared above help you to create an amazing cover letter without breaking a sweat!