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The average salary for university professors is $78,740 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you want to stand out from the competition for a job as a professor you need a cover letter that highlights your skills in research, publishing and education. Check out a university professor cover letter sample, and use Hloom’s expert writing tips to create a cover letter that helps win you the interview.

Sections of an Academic Cover Letter

The most common sections you’ll see on a cover letter include:

Cover Letter Sections

In your academic cover letter, provide your first and last name and a phone number where you can be reached to schedule an interview. Include a professional email, and if you have a doctorate degree, add your educational credentials after your name.



    Greet the hiring manager with a simple salutation, like “Dear,” and be sure to use the individual’s name. If the name isn’t given in the job description, search social media or contact the school, school board or university directly and ask the receptionist. Notice in the above example that Warren did his homework and addressed the letter specifically to Elaine Nichols.



      Make a good first impression by introducing who you are and what sets you apart from other applicants. For an academic cover letter, define your current job situation and your affiliation with the organization. Include your field of research and how you’ve contributed. As Warren does above, make the argument that you’re a good fit for the university.



        Everything included in an academic cover letter must be backed by evidence. Use the body to detail any past publications you’ve contributed to, talks you’ve given, research you’ve taken part in and grants you’ve been awarded. Notice in the above example how Warren cites a lot of numbers to show the impact of his teaching. Numbers serve to quantify what you’re capable of.



          Finish up your letter with a promise to contact the recipient within the next few days, and thank them for their time. Notice how Warren slides in the line, “I’m eager to discuss the opportunity,” which reaffirms his genuine interest to the employer.



            Use a simple sign-off, like “Sincerely” or “Best regards,” and sign your first and last name. If you’re emailing your application, simply type your first and last name



              Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

              When writing your academic cover letter, use action verbs to make your accomplishments more specific. Hiring managers frequently scan the cover letter searching for a reason to keep reading. Action words like those listed below help you powerfully communicate your contributions in past academic positions:

              Coordinate: Tell how you coordinated with other students and members of the academic administration to achieve your goals.

              Motivate:List which awards and accomplishments you demonstrated the motivation to earn in academia.

              Plan: Describe the plans in academia you successfully executed to meet various milestones.

              Develop:You might discuss a program you helped to develop, or how you developed a better educational environment for others

              Encourage: Write about how you encouraged your fellow students or faculty to more effectively learn or instruct in academia.

              In your cover letter, explain what you’ve been doing the past few years to stay up-to-date on educational advancements. Detail any research you’ve completed on your own, and provide information on your dissertation if it pertains to the current position. Be specific about the departments you’ve worked in. Include research clusters, outreach events and seminars you’ve been a part of. Explain why you want to join a new department and what you can contribute.

              Importance of Using Academic Job-related Keywords

              Most larger universities and school systems use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to narrow down their prospective applicants by as much as 50 percent or more. These software programs scan the cover letter and resume electronically searching for certain keywords to save. Those applications that don’t include these keywords will be eliminated from consideration by a hiring manager. To ensure your academic cover letter makes its way to the hiring pile, it’s important to incorporate keywords into your correspondence.

              The best way to make sure you’re incorporating the right keywords is to really study the exact language of the job posting, and try to echo back those keywords in your cover letter.

              An academic cover letter for universities and colleges differs from a standard business cover letter in that they may go through several review procedures. After an initial ATS review, your resume will probably go to a search committee that is comprised of an academic dean and other faculty members. To pass this screening, you’ll have to prove with concrete examples you have the qualifications for the job.

              It’s possible to weave the right keywords into your cover letter in a statement like this:

              “Researched an academic paper on the role of gender in James Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’ while teaching a class on the subject. Incorporated and tested theories in the classroom with active student engagement to different hypotheses and literary theories.”

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              Match Your Academic Cover Letter to a Resume

              Matching your resume to your cover letter strengthens your resume and lets you expand on your most important accomplishments that might otherwise go unnoticed. Your resume provides the bare-bones details of your work history. The cover letter is your chance to weave that into a narrative that describes your academic pursuits and achievements.

              University Professor

              Additional Education Cover Letters

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