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How to write a brilliant cover letter

The art of the cover letter

“Departments aren’t interested in hiring graduate students (they already have enough of those). They are looking for serious scholars/teachers who will make interesting, congenial, and productive colleagues.” Berkeley, University of California Careers Blog

As you embark on writing your cover letter there are several things you should consider in terms of structure and content. The careers blog post for Post Docs embarking on a job search in academia sets out the following areas and gives an outline of how to approach each section:

  • Overview 
  • The “Berkeley” Factor aka highly research lead institutions 
  • Introduction 
  • Research 
  • Teaching 
  • Closing/Enclosures 

Click here for the full post on the Berkeley Careers blog. 

How to structure a two page cover letter

What makes a brilliant cover letter and why does it matter? How do you more than demonstrate your eligibility in your cover letter without being more than two pages long? Dr Steve Joy is a Careers Advisor at the University of Cambridge, UK and writes for university’s careers blog. Dr Joy often has careers advice pieces in the Guardian newspaper in the UK. His advice is clear and concise is very popular each time we share his posts.
Having read many, many meandering cover letters and also being asked regularly about what makes a good cover letter, Dr Joy has set out seven sections and suggests no more than a paragraph on each section which should help you write a clear on concise two page letter. These sections cover:

1. Opening
2. Your PhD
3. Postdoctoral research
4. Future research programme
5. Teaching
6. Curriculum development
7. Vision for the role

Click here for the full post.

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