Why Your Job Cover Letter Sucks (and what you can do to fix it)
For the next few months I will be posting the “best of the best” Professor is in blog posts on the job market, for the benefit of all those girding their loins for the 2013-2014 market. Today’s post was originally published in 2011. I’ve now read about two thousand more job letters than I mention here. All the advice still applies. In my 15 years as a faculty member I served on approximately 11 search committees. Some of these search committees I chaired. Estimating that each search brought in an average of 200 applications (a conservative estimate for a field like Anthropology, a generous estimate for a much smaller field like East Asian Languages and Literatures), that means I have read approximately 2200 job applications. That means I’ve read 2200 job cover letters. I’ve also read the cover letters of my own students, and a passel of Ph.D. students who came to me for advice, as well as a large number of clients since opening The Professor is In (as of July 2012 let’s say 600). 1. 2. 3.
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