Academic Cover Letter
Make an informed decision about going on the academic job market

  • The Purpose of a Cover Letter
  • How to Take Aspects From Your CV and Expand Upon Them in Your Cover Letter
  • Steps to Take For Writing Your Cover Letter
  • Formatting Your Cover Letter
  • What to Include in the Opening Paragraph of Your Cover Letter (with an Example)
  • What to Include in the Body Paragraphs of a Cover Letter for a STEM Discipline
  • What to Include in the Body Paragraphs of a Cover Letter for a Humanities/Social Science Discipline
  • What to Include in the Concluding Paragraph of Your Cover Letter (with an Example)
  • Additional Tips for Writing Your Cover Letter
  • Resources on Campus That Can Help You With Your Cover Letter

About this lesson

Competition on the academic job market is tight, meaning your application materials need to make a good first impression. Since the Cover Letter frames and introduces your whole application package, it can be a nerve-wracking thing to write. After all, how long should it be? How in-depth should it get about your research? And about your teaching?

This lesson answers those questions by taking you through the dos and don’ts of Cover Letter writing, showing you common errors to avoid and explaining how the cover letter is related to, but still distinct from, other job application documents such as the Research Statement and Teaching Statement. Formatting, sample paragraphs, and more: everything you want to know about the Cover Letter is right here!

Workbook Activities

This lesson covers pages 11-14 in the Apply Stage Workbook. You can also use the Take Notes widget to complete these activities.  

  1. Now that you know you’ll need to write most of the other documents in your application package BEFORE your cover letter, set yourself some concrete deadlines for your other application documents.
  2. What resources are available to you on campus to help you write and review your cover letter? List them with their contact information, and make appointments with these offices when you are ready.
  3. As you draft your cover letter, refer back to the information in the video lesson to ensure you’re including all the necessary and important information in your letter. Make sure to consult with your own department and discipline to learn about specific items or details you will need to include. When you’re done, there is a checklist in your workbook you can use as a guideline to review the content and formatting of your cover letter. 

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Academic Cover Letter

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Apply for Faculty Jobs

Depending on a student’s relationship with their advisor, they may not receive the mentorship they need to confidently apply for faculty positions. This module teaches learners the foundations of writing research, teaching, and diversity statements, assembling a teaching portfolio, and writing a cover letter, so that a student can seek out disciplinary-specific advice from their academic network.

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