Academic positions give you a significant amount of power over a student’s life. Whether you’re a teaching assistant or on a tenure track teaching post-docs, research institutions and colleges want to know that you can help their students become better and learn more. This is why an academic cover letter template is often more complex than other job positions. Here’s what you need to know about writing a cover letter for a job in academia.
If you want to impress a search committee, you need a unique starting letter. Here’s a great assistant professor cover letter example to begin with.
Dear Mr. Smith,
As an assistant professor, I’ve realized that one of the most important elements of an academic job is in creating connections with students. Throughout my academic career, I’ve worked with many different teachers with many different teaching philosophies, and by far, the best teaching evaluations have happened when the teachers and the students are on the same page. That teaching philosophy is what makes me interested in the academic faculty position at the University of California.
I have always been interested in the social sciences, which is one of the reasons I have pursued academic mentoring at many different institutions. My current research is all about improving these kinds of institutions, with a research statement specifically focused on improving collaborations between teachers and students. I hope to put those initiatives into play through my work now, so I can use them in my future research plans.
My teaching experience is one of the elements that I feel makes me most highly suited to help the University of California with its learning pathway. I would love to sit down with you and talk about how I can benefit the University, as well as explain my research project methodology and what type of institution changes I think I could help you make for higher education.
This is much shorter than many of the cover letters you’ll write. However, it’s a great starting point for just about any research interest or student-types.
The first step is to ensure your header and salutation are correct. Collect all of the application materials you need to apply, which may include an academic CV, letters of recommendation, and even a writing sample. Address the cover letter directly to your contact individual. Often, faculty members are scouted by a search committee, so you’ll likely have a committee member as a contact individual. From there, you can write the actual letter.
In the first paragraph, you need a hook so the search committee member will keep reading, as well as describe additional skills and experience that fit the job application. In this cover letter, the applicant mentions past work experience, as well as her teaching philosophy, which is the importance of creating an actual connection with students.
In the second paragraph, you’ll typically go through the job posting and check that you’ve covered all the elements that the hiring team is looking for. In this cover letter sample, the applicant mentions being interested in the social sciences and also discusses her current research in the field. This makes her an expert in improving institutions like this college, which could be very beneficial to her job search.
In the final paragraph, you need a call to action. This call to action directly asks for a job interview. If you have your eyes set on the job title, you need to ask the person reading your cover letter if you can sit down and talk about how you could benefit the college you’re applying to. It’s an important part of moving forward in the hiring process.
Cover letters are important for any job. When you write a cover letter, you get to talk directly to the hiring manager and ask for a job interview. This isn’t something you’re able to do through a resume. You can use the cover letter builder from ResumeNerd to create a cover letter if you’re not confident in your ability to do it yourself.
On average, a cover letter should be half a page to 3/4 of a page long or about 250-350 words. This allows you enough space to highlight what makes you perfect for the job while also not overflowing the cover letter with too much unnecessary information.
If you don’t have a lot of experience in the academic field, you can still use the basic building blocks of this cover letter example. It is important to remember that you’ll likely lean on your skills and your education. By emphasizing your education and skills, you’ll be better equipped to discuss what makes you the right candidate for this job.