writing a cover letter

there was a workshop in my department a long time ago on how to write a cover letter for an academic job. maybe this has been covered elsewhere already, but i’m typing this up for myself anyway, might as well share it. comments & advice about this are welcome!

¶1: what you’re applying for, where you are (position, state of your dissertation), letters by X, Y, & Z

¶2: your interests & areas, what you bring to the department (complementary or new), about 3 sentences

¶3: the dissertation: central question, what is sociologically at stake, what you found, and highlight any published chapters

¶4: papers accepted or under review

¶5: teaching

¶6: future work/trajectory

¶7: thank you & sign off

throughout, highlight any (big) department or university awards.

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One Comment on “writing a cover letter”

  1. pitse1eh Says:

    In a session I just went to, they pointed out that if you really REALLY want the job, a great cover letter will not just indicate what your research program is, but how your research program will fit into the department. How them hiring you will make their awesomeness in area X even more awesome because you bring the missing component, or a complementary component, of X.

    Also, they said that you should stress where you are going to be going in the future… not just where you have been. What is the NEXT step? What are the grants you plan on applying for, the next project that fits into your research agenda.


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