Career Development for Graduate School Students

Cover Letters

Academic Cover Letters

Academic Cover Letter Examples

Purpose/General Format

  1. Allows for more conversational presentation of your accomplishments.
  2. 1-2 pages is typical, but some disciplines prefer lengthier, more substantive documents. Ask your faculty for guidance on appropriate length in your discipline.

Topics

  1. Paragraph 1: state what you are applying for and when you finished or will finish your PhD; may include why you are interested in the position (e.g., if you attended a small liberal arts college and are applying for a job at one; if you have family in the area and are eager to be close to them; if your work is a particularly excellent fit for their program)
  2. Paragraph 2:  usually the research paragraph. Will include information that is also in CV and/or research statement, but should be in letter too.
  3. Paragraph 3:  usually the teaching paragraph. Can interchange location with research if teaching-intensive position. Describe your experience teaching or TA-ing, along with a quick list of courses you’d feel comfortable teaching.
  4. (Optional) Paragraph 4: other information of interest, e.g. industry experience, organizational/administrative experience, grant-writing
  5. Paragraph 5 (or 4): closing; thank them for their time, tell them what documents you have included. Include contact information below name/signature.

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