There was some confusion in my Business English class this morning. We are talking about resumes and job interviews. Last week I told my students they didn’t need to submit a cover letter this week – but I do want them to submit a cover sheet on all their assignments. Next week, I’m collecting cover letters with a cover sheet on top. So, what’s the difference?

A cover letter has to do with getting a job. It is the formal letter you write to a prospective employer telling the company why you are qualified for a job. It’s probably called a cover letter because it almost always comes on top of your resume. Your resume is a general description of your academic and employment history. Your cover letter should be written to a specific person for a specific job.

A cover sheet has to do with reports (business or academic). It just refers to the first page of a report, which usually contains the title, name, date, etc.