Cover Letter Do’s and Don’t’s

Cover Letter Do’s and Don’t’s
Your cover letter—along with your c.v. and your letters of recommendation—will determine whether a search committee will pursue your candidacy. As many as half the applicants for a particular job are rejected after the search committee looks at the cover letter. The committee members may conclude that the candidate is not qualified for the job or that the applicant’s work is not engaging. In other words, it is crucial that your letter grab the committee’s interest.
Avoid common cover letter gaffes and blunders:
DO address the letter to a specific individual.
DO be succinct. This is not the place for an overly lengthy discussion of your dissertation.
DO be attentive to the difference between research and teaching oriented institutions—though even liberal arts institutions expect you to be engaged in scholarship.
Thus, for a liberal arts institution you need to recognize the importance of small classes, interactivediscussion, mentored research projects, and the value of getting to know students personally.
DON’T be too lengthy. Generally two pages is sufficient.
DON’T use hyperbole. Be professional in tone.