Cover Letter Vs Personal Statement – Combat The Detail Devil

Though cover letters are obligatory in almost all applications, personal statements sometimes make the difference. Sometimes, you can’t tell between cover letter vs personal statement. Both documents are vital for your professional life. Hence, you should know them well to use them efficiently. Let Jobandedu be your guide!

Cover Letter vs. Personal Statement: You Can’t Misuse Them
Cover Letter vs. Personal Statement: you may have no idea. Image: Twitter

What Are Cover Letter vs. Personal Statement Differences?Cover Letter vs Personal Statement

Not all of us graduated high school knowing how to include the correct papers for a job application. Many choose to follow what is in the magazines. There are several differences between a cover letter vs. a personal statement. But first, you must understand the components and usage of cover letters and personal statements. 

What Should Be In A Cover Letter?

Are you wondering: “Should I write a cover letter for Google?” Well, most certainly, you should. A cover letter is among the required documents for any job application. When you write a cover letter, you need to mention specific important information. These are your contacts, a salutation, and a self-introduction to the recruiter. After that, you have to tell why you are fit for the job, close the letter, and put your signature. 

What you include in your cover letter must be clear. You must follow the rules because it can be decisive of your application outcome. Many applicants with similar backgrounds apply, but only a few get to the interview round. And only one candidate gets the job ultimately. Therefore, spend time tailoring your cover letter meticulously.

What Should Be In A Cover Letter?
How to make your cover letter stand out?. Image: Lynda

Why Do We Need Cover Letters?

Cover Letters play an essential role in helping you get the job. The more experience or skills you match with the job description, the better chances you will get invited for an interview. Hence, the body of cover letters is most important. Each body paragraph needs to explain why you are passionate about the job and how you meet the requirements. 

In other words, cover letters are representations of yourself, explaining why you are the best candidate for the job opening. Besides mentioning how you fit the job descriptions, you should also show appreciation if the recruiter considers you for the position. Such appreciation can be an excellent closing for a cover letter because it is a slight call to action for the recruiter. 

Why Do We Need Cover Letters?
A well-written cover letter helps you proceed to the next round. Image: atriumstaff

The Daily Use Of Cover Letters

Cover Letters help you build a relationship with the recruiters. Usually, you will need to send a cover letter if the position requires it. In some cases, the recruiter only demands your cover letter while you enter the interview process. Occasionally, you can send it directly to the hiring manager if someone refers you to the job offer. 

However, if you are applying for a research associate program, you will need to prepare your cover letter. And in your research associate cover letter, you need to show your academic experience and research skills. Using the traditional cover letter format, you need to focus only on the related skills or experience that make you qualify for the research associate program.

How To Best Present Your Cover Letter?

You only have one page to tell recruiters about your life story, and more importantly, to catch their attention. Your presentation in a cover letter can’t be too “soft” or too complex. Recruiters won’t spend time reading a full-length anecdote just to know one of your skills. Thus, you must make good use of every word in your cover letter. 

Indeed, your cover letters need to showcase your best elements in the appropriate manner wisely. Recruiters should see your values, while your information should not come across as arrogant or pretentious. With much practice, you will deliver great cover letters that win you a chance for an interview. Remember, your cover letter is the make-or-break element of your job application.

How To Best Present Your Cover Letter? - cover letter vs personal statement
Cover letter is among required documents in the job application. Image: jobhopin

What About Personal Statements?

Unlike cover letters, a personal statement is not about selling your image. Instead, it tells your story on your behalf. Mainly, what do you need to know about personal statements?

The Purpose Of Personal Statements

Your personal statement will talk about your experiences, what’s essential in your life or what motivates you. Personal statements will include the crucial people who changed the course of your life. You can also share about your goals and plans and what makes you one and only. Again, your statement is about your journey to this point and your direction into the future.

Who Will Need Personal Statements?

Usually, only students who apply for graduate programs will need to write their personal statements. These personal statements are part of the requirements of the scholarship or school for which they are applying. In most cases, they also need a cover letter to go along with their personal statements. 

How To Best Present A Personal Statement?

An excellent personal statement will tell your story and hook the readers with it. With a personal statement, you have space to be creative with the information you put in and how you arrange it. Most importantly, your personal statement must create a precise portrait of yourself. It can’t be exaggerated, and it should not be missing valuable information.

How To Best Present A Personal Statement? - cover letter vs personal statement
Do you structure your personal statement wisely? Image: mysalaryscale

If you are looking to write an excellent personal statement, you need to choose your life’s defining moments to include. And from these life-changing moments, how your life has changed, what you spend time on, and the company you keep. The decisive key is to speak like yourself, reflecting on who you are. Tell them your story with an implication, and think about how they would react to your story. 

Last but not least, your personal statements should be around 500-word long. In some cases where you apply for scholarships, the minimum would go up to 650 words. Hence, you must write to your heart’s content and edit your work smartly. A longer statement is not always better, but you must meet the required minimum length.

How To  Write Impressive Cover Letters/Personal StatementsCover Letter vs Personal Statement

Cover Letters Require An Eye For Details

Any applicant will need to send in their resume and cover letter. To make sure your cover letter helps you get the job, you need to read the job description carefully. This description will tell you what qualifications for which the recruiter needs. And that would be what you offer. Besides, make sure you highlight how you will benefit the company. Stating your benefits to the company is a sweet spot that gets recruiters’ attention. 

In some particular careers like designing or something similar, you would need to have a portfolio. Your portfolio should showcase your previous works or projects, speaking volumes about your experience and skills. Also, consider sending a copy of your portfolio with your application. All in all, show your strong suits that match with job requirements tactfully, implying how suitable you are for the vacancy.

Cover Letters Require An Eye For Details - cover letter vs personal statement
Sometimes, a portfolio is necessary to land a job. Image: examples

Writing A Powerful Personal Statement

It is always a struggle to talk about ourselves, and that’s why a powerful personal statement comes to your rescue. It shows how well you know yourself and how you envision your future. 

To do so, you should use plenty of action verbs where relevant. When you choose appropriate verbs to tell your story, the readers can even feel like they are watching a documentary about you. But try to keep your narrative consistent across the statement. And just as important, proofread your work carefully. 

Final Thoughts About Cover Letter vs Personal Statement

Overall, to distinguish between cover letters vs. personal statements, you can remember that cover letters answer the recruiters’ requirements, while personal statements are all about who you are. Moreover, you only mention your top-tier experiences or skills in cover letters, while you can include less impressive acquirements in your personal statement.

You should treat cover letters or personal statements with great care since they represent who you are as a person and a professional. Just like Stephen Richards Covey, an American educator, author, and businessman, once said: “A personal mission statement becomes the DNA for every other decision we make.” Do you wanna get inside more intriguing articles in our Job Application section.

John Hobbs

At Jobandedu, John Hobbs holds the position of senior blogger. Though Hobbs has achieved massive success as a researcher, adviser, and writer, he still had to undergo multiple trials and tribulations before finding his true calling. He considered it his life's work to assist others in discovering and developing their full potential. His broad expertise in diverse fields and specifications allows him to provide insightful, real-world advice. His writings offer in-depth guidance on finding and excelling in a career, using information gleaned from extensive study and his personal experience. Hobbs also has a creative and engaging writing style, which he uses to publish pieces wherein he discusses his interests, views, and studies.