Cover letter Samples & Templates

How to Create an Academic Job Cover Letter  

You can use a cover letter to introduce yourself to potential employers in addition to your curriculum vitae (CV). Writing an academic job cover letter is frequently required when applying for a career in academia, whether it is in management or as an instructor. You have the chance to provide employers with a deeper knowledge of your characteristics, competencies, experiences, and communication skills with an academic employment cover letter. In this post, we’ll go through the components of an academic cover letter; how to write one, and offer a sample you may use to help you create your own.

What is an academic job cover letter?

An academic job cover letter is a document that accompanies your application for an academic position, such as a professor, researcher, or lecturer. It is a personalized letter that introduces yourself, highlights your qualifications and experiences, and explains your interest in the specific academic position and institution you are applying to. The purpose of an academic job cover letter is to demonstrate your fit for the position and convince the hiring committee that you are a strong candidate worthy of further consideration. It provides an opportunity to showcase your expertise, research contributions, teaching philosophy, and any other relevant accomplishments that align with the requirements of the academic role.

What are the benefits of academic job cover letters?

Academic job cover letters are significant since they can:

  • Give prospective employers a better sense of your character. You have the opportunity to showcase your personality in an academic job cover letter to employers. An academic job cover letter you submit with your resume can assist make you stand out as a potential hire. An academic job cover letter allows you to introduce yourself to the hiring committee in a more personalized way. It allows you to showcase your enthusiasm, passion, and specific reasons for applying to the academic position and institution.
  • Expand on any experiences, skills, or attributes that were only briefly addressed in your resume. A CV is a written summary of your experiences and abilities. You can give companies extra information, figures, or samples from your academic background with an academic cover letter. With an academic job cover letter, you can highlight your relevant qualifications, experiences, and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the academic position. It allows you to align your skills and expertise with the specific requirements of the role.
  • Show off your communication abilities. Recruiters at universities place a premium on people with strong communication abilities, regardless of the position you’re looking for. Employers can see your communication skills by how well you write your academic job cover letter.
  • Demonstrate Fit and Interest: An academic job cover letter provides a platform to explain why you are interested in the academic position and how your research, teaching, and professional goals align with the institution’s mission, values, and literary culture. It demonstrates your understanding of the organization and showcases your enthusiasm for contributing to its academic community.
  • Showcasing Research Contributions: For academic roles that involve research, an academic job cover letter allows you to showcase your research contributions, publications, grants, and collaborations. It provides an opportunity to highlight the significance and impact of your research work in your field.
  • Addressing Unique Circumstances: An academic job cover letter enables you to address any unique circumstances or aspects of your application that may require explanation or clarification. For example, if there are gaps in your employment history, a cover letter allows you to provide context and assure the hiring committee of your qualifications and commitment.

Overall, an academic job cover letter helps you stand out from other applicants by effectively conveying your qualifications, fit, and enthusiasm for the academic position. It serves as a valuable tool to make a strong impression and increase your chances of being invited for an interview.

How to Draft an Academic Cover Letter

The following eight steps will assist you in creating an academic cover letter:

1. Examine the job description

Read the academic employment advertisement thoroughly. Take note of the skills and background the institution is looking for in candidates, such as teaching particular courses, assisting academic institutions in obtaining outside financing, or getting works accepted for publishing in scholarly journals. You may find out how to best highlight your unique abilities, characteristics, and experiences in connection to the employer’s needed credentials by carefully reading the job advertising.

You can choose the resources to submit with your application by reviewing the job ad. In your academic cover letter, you might want to spend less time discussing your theory of learning and more time discussing how your classroom procedures have been successful if the department requests a separate statement of your teaching approach. The institution’s type may also influence your cover letter’s material. For instance, a research-focused university will probably want a more detailed description of your publication record and your research’s objectives. However, a liberal arts program application can place more emphasis on your teaching background.

2. Make your document look professional.

Maintain a formal business letter format. Your academic cover letter has a header at the top with your full name and address, the date, and the address of the person receiving it, just like most other work-related papers. Use single spacing between lines, adjust your page margins to one inch, and use a formal typeface like Times New Roman, Calibri, or Garamond. These formatting choices make your writing easier to read for the selection panel and demonstrate your attention to detail.

3. List your main points in order.

Outline before writing the letter. Understanding the content you’ll write in advance makes it easier to make sure that you cover all of your pertinent qualities in no over two pages. Select a cover letter organizational structure that fits your academic background and the institution you are applying to. Some professionals decide to divide their cover letters into sections according to their chosen topics, such as research and teaching. Some people may choose to structure their cover letters chronologically to highlight their growth as a teacher, researchers, and scholars.

Whatever format you use for your cover letter, concentrate on providing a clear and thorough summary of your experiences. Most academic professionals spend a lot of time writing as part of their jobs, whether it’s to share information, give feedback to students, or create papers for scholarly journals. Your academic cover letter is a fantastic opportunity to show off your command of the written word.

4. Talk about your teaching experience.

Give more specifics about your teaching methodology. Include the tools, tasks, or materials from the classroom that you have utilized most successfully and that you would probably repeat or modify for the role you are going for. Think about sharing particular instances or anecdotes from your time teaching to illustrate your dedication to assisting kids in learning and succeeding.

A fantastic area to talk about the successes your students have attained as a result of your teaching endeavors is in your academic cover letter. Mention your involvement with any student projects or theses later published in scholarly journals, for instance. Referencing your students’ accomplishments can demonstrate to potential employers how well your instruction and efforts have impacted their professional lives.

5. Describe your research and academic objectives.

Describe any previous writings, research endeavors, or academic initiatives of a similar nature. You have the chance to go through the context, procedures, or accomplishments of your prior research publications and projects in your academic job cover letter. Additionally, you should discuss in your cover letter how your prior academic endeavors have inspired the study you intend to carry out at your university.

In your academic cover letter, mention any ongoing research projects or publications you are working on. Any unpublished academic works or ongoing research initiatives are not permitted to be listed on your CV. Describe how you think the school you’re applying to would be able to help you reach your present academic objectives, such as by using their work-related archives or their cutting-edge technologies.

6. Pay attention to your tone of voice

Your academic cover letter should be written in a formal but upbeat tone. Being a formal document and an integral element of your application, your letter should reflect professionalism. You should, however, utilize the letter to express how enthusiastic you are about the position, the department, and the organization as a whole.

7. Proofread your cover letter.

Proofread your cover letter thoroughly before submitting your application. Verify your work for any spelling, grammatical, or other mistakes. Also, think about whether there are any parts of your cover letter you think you could improve or omit. To make sure that your letter is in the best possible shape, you might wish to enlist the assistance of a friend. Since writing is a major part of most academic jobs, it’s critical to demonstrate your attention to detail in written contact and documents.

8. List any additional files that are included.

Mention any additional application materials after your cover letter. The majority of academic job listings ask applicants to send in several documents, like a statement outlining their teaching philosophies or a sample curriculum. If the job advertisement didn’t specify any further requirements, mention in your academic job cover letter that you would be pleased to submit any requested documents or additional information.

Example of an academic cover letter

An example academic cover letter is provided below to assist you in creating your own:

Example: Applying for a professor position

Mauricio Lange

38 Trout Street, E8 4QY, England

2678 120987

+44 (0)111-222-3344

5 July 2022

Ms. Catherine Williams

University of Portsmouth

Department of English

42 Wendy Road, Portsmouth, E3 4QY


Dear Ms. Williams,

I’m writing to apply for the English professor position at the University of Portsmouth that was posted on the school’s online employment board. I possess over eight years of teaching experience at higher education institutions, beginning as a graduate assistant in education at Scottish University and continuing for the last six years as a senior professor.

I finished professional writing, literature, and English composition teaching instruction courses while I was pursuing my Ph.D. Additionally, I have written about schooling and contemporary literature for several peer-reviewed periodicals. I am certain that with my background in research and teaching, I can contribute significantly to the English department at the University of Delaware.

I have spent eleven terms instructing two sections of early contemporary poetry as a senior lecturer at Scottish University. Imagist Poetry During WWII is a brand-new course that I started instructing last year and it primarily studies the writings of Amy Lowell, Ezra Pound, and Hilda Doolittle. I created lectures, classroom activities, and rigorous research methods instruction for these modules.

My method mixes the theory of reader response and the concept of structuralism and I urge my students to appreciate their reading experiences on a psychological level just as highly as I appreciate textual analysis. As a result, my students feel like they belong in the literary canon in the classroom, which encourages them to read more voraciously even outside of class.

I have participated in the past three Modern Language Association conferences in addition to teaching and conducting extensive research. I discussed William Carlos Williams’ clinical practice’s impact on his poetic thought in my first presentation. I proved Williams thought that working as a doctor was an indicator of sharpened perception, a trait important for poets, through examining the poem “January Morning (Suite).”

If you would want more application materials, I’d be pleased to give them. I appreciate your thoughts and time. I’m eager to talk to you more about this role.


Mauricio Lange, Ph.D.

Example: Applying for a Faculty Position

Dear Hiring Committee,

I am writing to apply for the faculty position in [specific discipline] at [institution name]. With my strong background in [relevant field] and my passion for teaching and research, I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the academic community at [institution name].

My extensive experience in [teaching, research, and relevant achievements] have prepared me to make a meaningful impact in the field and engage students in critical thinking and intellectual growth. I am particularly drawn to [institution name]’s commitment to [specific values or initiatives], which aligns well with my research interests in [specific area]. I look forward to the possibility of joining the esteemed faculty at [institution name] and contributing to its academic excellence.

Example: Applying for a Postdoctoral Research Position

Dear Dr. [Last Name],

I am writing to express my strong interest in the postdoctoral research position in [specific research area] at [institution name]. As a recent Ph.D. graduate in [relevant field] from [university name], I am eager to continue my research journey in a collaborative and intellectually stimulating environment like [institution name].

My doctoral research focused on [briefly describe the research topic and its significance], and I have developed expertise in [specific research techniques]. I am impressed by [institution name]’s groundbreaking research in [specific research area] and its commitment to innovation. I believe that my research experience, dedication, and strong analytical skills make me an ideal candidate for this position, and I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to the ongoing research efforts at [institution name].

Example: Applying for a Teaching Assistantship

Dear [Course Instructor’s Name],

I am writing to express my interest in the teaching assistantship position for [specific course] at [institution name]. As a graduate student in [relevant field] at [university name], I am passionate about teaching and mentoring students to foster intellectual growth. I have had the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for [related courses or disciplines], where I gained valuable experience in [teaching methodologies, grading, and student support].

I am particularly interested in the teaching assistantship for [specific course] at [institution name] due to its focus on [specific topics or teaching approaches]. I am confident that my strong communication skills, subject knowledge, and dedication to student success make me a suitable candidate for this role.

Example: Applying for a Research Grant

Dear Grant Selection Committee,

I am writing to apply for the [grant name] to support my research project titled [research project title]. As a [current academic position or researcher], I am deeply committed to advancing knowledge in [specific research area]. My proposed research aims to [briefly describe the research objectives, methodology, and potential impact].

I believe that the [grant name] is an excellent fit for my research as it aligns with the grant’s objective of [grant objective]. I have a strong publication record in reputable journals and have received recognition for my research contributions in [related conferences or awards]. I am excited about the possibility of receiving the [grant name] to further my research and contribute to the scientific community.

These examples can serve as a starting point for crafting your academic cover letter, tailored to your specific qualifications and the requirements of the position or opportunity you are applying for. Remember to customize the letter to highlight your unique strengths, experiences, and alignment with the institution’s goals and values.


In conclusion, writing an effective academic job cover letter requires careful attention to detail, a clear and concise communication style, and a thoughtful alignment of your qualifications with the requirements of the position and the values of the institution. By following the guidelines discussed, including crafting a compelling introduction, highlighting your academic achievements and relevant experiences, showcasing your research or teaching philosophy, and expressing enthusiasm for the opportunity, you can create a standout cover letter that captures the attention of the hiring committee.

Remember to proofread your letter thoroughly and tailor it to each specific application to make a strong and memorable impression. With a well-crafted academic job cover letter, you can increase your chances of securing an interview and ultimately landing your desired academic position. Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions about an academic job cover letter

  • What should be included in an academic job cover letter?

An academic job cover letter should include your contact information, a formal salutation, an introduction that expresses your interest in the position, a summary of your qualifications and achievements, a discussion of your research or teaching experience, a statement of your fit with the institution, and a closing paragraph expressing your enthusiasm and willingness to provide additional materials if needed.

  • How long should an academic job cover letter be?

An academic job cover letter should typically be one to two pages long. It should be concise and focused, highlighting the most relevant information that demonstrates your qualifications for the position.

  • Should I customize my academic job cover letter for each application?

Yes, it is highly recommended to customize your academic job cover letter for each application. Tailoring your letter to the specific position and institution shows your genuine interest and demonstrates that you have taken the time to understand the requirements and values of the organization.

  • Can I mention my research or teaching philosophy in the academic job cover letter?

Yes, it is beneficial to mention your research or teaching philosophy in the academic job cover letter, especially if it aligns with the priorities of the institution. This allows you to showcase your unique approach and demonstrate your suitability for the position.

  • How important is proofreading and editing an academic job cover letter?

Proofreading and editing an academic job cover letter are crucial. Grammatical errors, typos, and formatting issues can create a negative impression and undermine the professionalism of your application. Take the time to review your letter carefully, consider seeking feedback from mentors or colleagues, and ensure it is error-free before submitting it.

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