Resume Cover Letter
As you begin to write your cover letter, here are
a few things you'll need to think about. They're
worth thinking about later, as well, as you prepare for MLA interviews
and campus visits.
- Your teaching philosophy. What do your composition, survey and seminar courses have in
common? What do you think students need to
learn? How do you approach the teaching of
composition? Of literature?
How does your
research influence your teaching, or vice-versa?
What kinds of written assignments do you give?
You'll probably need to think about specific texts (for
composition/literature course) and how they work together, why you
bother to teach them, and so on. You'll also
want to think about different courses you would like to teach, and
(for interviews, anyway) the particular texts you might assign. Think about the survey courses you will certainly be called
upon to teach, but also special seminars and advanced courses you'd
like to propose. This is a popular interview
question, and you can invite an interviewer to ask you about future
teaching if you address this question in your letter.
- Your dissertation.
Your cover letter will need to address this topic, as
concisely and interestingly as possible. You
will be asked to describe your dissertation repeatedly (at MLA and
on-campus interviews). Try to get to the heart
of the topic and have two versions, one about a minute long,
theother about three minutes. Be prepared to talk in detail about particular chapters if
necessary, but don't begin with that kind of detail. During interviews, try not to sound as if you've memorized
the paragraph in your cover letter that describes the dissertation. On the other hand, don't be too disappointed if you never get
to talk about your dissertation.
- Future research.
It helps to end the cover letter with a brief description
of future research. If you can connect it
somehow to your dissertation research, you can both forge a neat
transition and demonstrate that 1) your dissertation has
far-reaching implications and 2) you have thought beyond the
dissertation. You may never be asked about these
future plans in interviews, but then again, you might.
Sample Resume Cover Letter
Faculty Recruiting Committee
Department of Computer Science
4130 Upson Hall
Ithaca, NY 1485-7501
To Whom It May Concern
My name is David Noelle. I am currently a Ph.D. candidate working
with Gary Cottrell in the interdisciplinary Computer Science/Cognitive
Science program at the University of California, San Diego. Since I
expect to complete my dissertation by June of 1997, I am now in the
process of searching for a faculty position to fill once I graduate. I
am writing to you so that I might be considered for any open tenure
track assistant professor positions in your department, specifically
that advertised under .
The Ph.D. program which I am completing is quite unique. It is
jointly administered by the Department of Computer Science &
Engineering and the Department of Cognitive Science. The program has
required me to fulfill all of the normal requirements for a Ph.D. in
Computer Science and, in addition, it has required several years of
work focusing on cognitive psychology and neuroscience. As a result, I
have acquired a broad foundation in all of the core areas of computer
science, and I have received specialized training in the computational
modeling of psychological phenomena. The interdisciplinary nature of
this program has profoundly impacted my thesis work. My dissertation
committee includes faculty in computer science, psychology,
linguistics, philosophy, and cognitive science.
My thesis work is entitled A Connectionist Model Of Instructed
Learning. It focuses on a computational model of advice taking. I
have formulated an artificial neural network approach to the
understanding of how knowledge gained rapidly from direct instruction
interacts with that gained over time from experience with the world.
In addition to offering a useful technique for the engineering of
adaptive systems, my model also explains a number of interference
effects which have been previously reported in the psychological
My research interests are broad, spanning from machine learning to
computational neuroscience, from user interface design to the
psychology of concept formation. I am particularly interested in
machine learning problems involving the integration of multiple
learning strategies, investigations into implicit and explicit
learning, and modeling the biological basis of human memory.
I am very interested in collaborative projects with both computer
scientists and cognitive scientists. I would enjoy applying machine
learning techniques to computer system problems involving such issues
as resource allocation and scheduling, intelligent interfaces,
information retrieval, database mining, and adaptive user modeling.
Continuing with the interdisciplinary nature of my thesis research, I
would also like to interact with neuroscientists, experimental
psychologists, and other cognitive scientists. If an opportunity for a
joint appointment with a psychology or cognitive science program
should arise, I would not hesitate to pursue it.
I have acquired extensive teaching experience over the course of my
graduate education. I have supported myself via teaching
assistantships through much of this time, and I have also acted as the
sole instructor for an upper division computer science course. I have
received the Teaching Assistant Excellence Award from the Department
of Computer Science & Engineering, and I have acted as that
department's Senior Teaching Assistant for several years. I enjoy
teaching, and I am looking forward to future opportunities to do so.
Enclosed please find application materials for any assistant
professorships which are open in your department. I have included a
copy of my curriculum vitae, a brief statement of my research
interests, some comments on my teaching interests, and a few of my
publications. If requested, letters of reference should arrive under
separate cover. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or
requests for further documentation. I may be reached at the address
listed in the letterhead, above, via the Internet at firstname.lastname@example.org,
or at (619)~272-7719.
Thanks very much for your consideration!
curriculum vitae, statement of research interests,
statement of teaching interests, selected publications