Things That Worked: ECR Cover Letter
Sample materials to simplify your life!
Welcome to the first installment of my ‘Things That Worked’ series, which gives you direct access to cover letters, grant applications, abstracts, and pitches that have gotten results!
I decided to start by sharing a Thing That Worked which, now that I look back on it [REDACTED] years later, maybe never should have worked in the first place. Buckle up, folks—this post’s a long one.
This is a cover letter from my very first year on the job market, in the days when you could count on there being a solid handful of jobs advertised each year in my area of specialization. Although this is clearly a letter written by someone very early on in her career, its basic outline is one I still use today:
Introduction to myself and my work
Description of my research (in this case, my dissertation)
Paragraph on teaching
Below, I walk through the letter paragraph by paragraph, annotating along the way. Here goes….
Dear Dr [REDACTED],
I am writing to apply for the position of Assistant Professor of English in Medieval Studies advertised in the MLA job list. I am currently an intern in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and I recently completed a PhD in Medieval English Literature at the University of Cambridge. My areas of interest include late-medieval English literature and history (fourteenth- through sixteenth-century), the role of reputation in literature and culture, and the relationship between literature and the law.
Okaaaaay, not bad. I personally find this paragraph a little dry, at least in comparison to how I tend to write my letters now, but I explain who I am, where I am, what my qualifications and research interests are, and why I’m writing to them. All the bases are covered. Dry style aside, this is a pretty traditional opener to a cover letter.