5 Strategies for Mastering Your Academic Cover Letter


The process of applying for a job in a college or university is much different than your standard search steps. To be seen as a solid candidate for a faculty position, you must show your skills as early as your cover letter; otherwise, the Human Resources department reviewer will add your resume to the countless others they’ve deposited in the repository of unfit applicants.

The role of a cover letter is so important in academics that it’s often more stressful to write than the resume and curriculum vitae that follow it. If you can’t meet the basic qualifications for the job in your letter’s presentation, it’s assumed you won’t be able to handle the challenging job of faculty in a higher education institution. The good news is that there are five strategies that will help you master the obstacle of a cover letter and impress the current faculty members and academic deans who will be reviewing it once it passes through HR.

What’s Included in Your Cover Letter

Those who will judge your appropriateness for the position will be reading your cover letter and then checking over your resume or curriculum vitae. It’s okay and even expected, in these instances, for the cover letter to be lengthy and full of your academic and career philosophies.

5 Strategies to Write an Effective Cover

  1.  Focus on the Qualifications – The first obstacle is to get through the HR screening, so we’ll start with the strategy to ensure that happens. Read the job posting, and write down each requirement that is included in the announcement. Make a list under those headings of the skills you have that match the requirement. These should cover your credentials, experience, knowledge, talents, awards, publications, etc. If you’re missing one or two of the preferred details, gloss over those areas without focusing on them. However, if you’re missing most of the qualifications, you might want to consider looking for other positions that you’re more qualified for.
  2. Expect That Your Cover Letter Will Be Scrutinized. In the business world, a cover letter is skimmed, then pushed aside for the meat of the resume. In academics, the letter is scrutinized for formatting, mistakes, mechanics, and meat. The reviewers will look at how you approach the pedagogy of education, what kind of background you have, and how those factors will fit in with the college or university’s principles. They’ll also assume that if you aren’t paying attention to the details of errors, you won’t pay attention to the details of your job.
  3. Make the Letter Personalized. Do your research on the institution to which you’re applying. Who are the current faculty members? What do you have to offer that isn’t already provided by them? Do you have strengths that could help make the team more cohesive? Include all of these points, as well as anything that you know will make you seem passionate and knowledgeable about the job. If the institution has had any recent projects, discuss your interest in those. If you have projects on the horizon or have had recent grants, bring those up and how they can be of benefit to the institution that hires you. Make the letter personalized where possible, and let the reviewers see you as the aspiring or growing academic you are.
  4. Format the cover letter correctly. Academic and business cover letters contain the same basic formatting we learn (or are supposed to learn) in undergrad school. These are no longer than two pages, as opposed to the one-page business letter, but are otherwise formatted in a similar manner: Date, Heading, Greeting, Body (single-spaced), Conclusion, Salutation. 

Show Off Your Professionalism With Impactio

The fifth and final strategy is to show off your professional dedication by including your Impactio profile. Because Impactio is only used by academic experts around the world, it stands out from the rest of the applicants who will be including their LinkedIn and Twitter handles.

Impactio is America’s premier scientific networking platform. The tools the program provides researchers, and the ability to connect with global scholars, are impressive on their own. When you include your profile information on your cover letter, it shows reviewers that not only are you serious about your role as a researcher, but you have the skills and experience to back up your claims. Join Impactio today to get your profile established before your next interview.


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