A cover letter, in your own words, describes what you are applying for, how you found out about the position, and why you are qualified for the position. The cover letter typically accompanies a CV/resume and serves as an invitation for an interview.
Both the academic and non-academic job search require a cover letter. A cover letter extracts information from the CV/resume that the applicant deems significant to highlight and expand upon in paragraph form. In addition, a cover letter demonstrates your writing skills to an employer.
General Tips for Writing a Cover Letter
- Submit along with the CV or resume
- Address to a person and tailor the letter to the job/employer to which you are applying. Never send a generic cover letter!
Dear Search Committee:
I am applying to the position at your university…
Dear Professor Jamison:
I am applying to the Assistant Professor of English position at Meredith College…
- Allude to and expand upon information on your CV or resume that is relevant and significant to the position
- DO NOT re-state your entire CV or resume in the cover letter
Tips for Writing an Academic Cover Letter
- Length may exceed one page (no more than 2 pages)- provides more detail on the applicant’s research and teaching experience/goals, departmental service
- Know the institution, department and other information about the school (research oriented, teaching oriented, size, student body makeup) to draw relevance to how you would be a good fit for the position
- Indicate if you will be attending any upcoming conventions/conferences
- Mention when you will be awarded your dissertation if you have not yet completed it
- Indicate your willingness to submit additional materials upon request (ie- syllabi, writing samples)
Tips for Writing a Non-Academic Cover Letter
- Keep to one page, 3-4 paragraphs
- Highlight one or two skills or experiences relevant to the position
- Know the organization and highlight what you can contribute to the employer