Difference Cover Letter And Motivation Letter

Are Cover Letter and Application Letter the Same?

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While cover and application letters are usually used in the same contexts, every job seeker has to know the significant differences between these two documents. Nowadays, application and cover letters are sent via email, so, it’s also important to familiarize with the writing terms and standards of online documents. So, the main difference between application and cover letters lies in:

  • Application documents are considered to contain advanced information about candidacy’s skills and qualities while cover letters are to transfer the documents.
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  • Cover letters carry out less important functions as only define your professional personality as a sender, a recipient, and the purpose of the letter. The application letters perform three main functions – draw the attention of the potential recruiter, make you the perfect fit for the position, and ask for the interview.
  • Application letters contain advanced information about qualification, skills, strong sides, previous jobs. Information must be related to the applying job. It will turn you into the good fit for the position. A cover letter can omit the advanced information, though it must include contact information and explanation why you apply for the position and why you are good for it.
  • Cover letters are shorter as they don’t include advanced detailed information. Applicant documents shouldn’t exceed one page. They must consist of three paragraphs introducing yourself and your objective in the first paragraph, presenting your strong sides in the second paragraph and asking for the interview in the third paragraph to improve career opportunities.
  • Cover letters aren’t required and aren’t the decisive element of the application documents package. Application letters usually come along with resumes in most cases, as can tell more about your professional candidacy.

What is the difference between a cover letter vs motivation letter? In most cases they both fall under the name of cover letter despite there being an extremely subtle variation. There are many other names used for a cover letter such as a covering letter, a motivational letter, a letter of interest and many more. However, they are all used in job or academic applications to persuade the recipient that they are the right choice.

What is the Difference Between a Cover Letter vs Motivation Letter?

A cover letter technically refers to the accompanying letter you use when applying for a job, while a motivation letter is for applying to university or a non-paid position. However, the word that most organisations will use for both criteria is the cover letter. It is more commonly used and more commonly understood, whether that be by professionals or students. To see the request of a motivation letter on any type of application will be rare but will encompass the same cover letter format whether you are required to write a cover letter for a job or a motivation letter for university. Generally speaking, the content of both letters is quite similar and the purposes are the same which is why using the title of cover letter to represent all types of letter of persuasion is much easier.

Subcategories of a Cover Letter

Despite the title cover letter being a general term used for all types of letters in this category, you might come across other names and be wondering what the differences are. These slight differentiations in title do not alter the cover letter format as they will all follow the same guidelines, instead adding some extra information to alter them for slightly different purpose:


  • Letter of Interest = asking about a possible job opening rather than a specific application
  • Networking Cover Letter = requesting help and assistance to look for a job
  • Referral Cover Letter = specific mention of someone who has referred you to this job position

Take a look at some cover letter examples that might be helpful in seeing the difference between a cover letter vs motivation letter.

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