Professor Cover Letter Example

Written by Mark DeGrasso

May 19, 2023

If you’re a professor looking for a job, you’ll need to make sure your cover letter stands out. A well-crafted professor cover letter can make the difference between landing an interview and having your application passed over. In this article, we’ll provide an example professor cover letter and discuss the essential components, common mistakes to avoid, as well as final steps to take when writing your own.

One important aspect that employers look for in a professor cover letter is a strong teaching philosophy. This should be included in your cover letter and should showcase your approach to teaching, your goals for your students, and how you plan to engage and inspire them. Employers also want to see that you have experience in curriculum development and are able to create engaging lesson plans that align with the institution’s academic standards.

Another key factor that employers consider when reviewing cover letters is research experience. If you have conducted research in your field, make sure to highlight this in your cover letter. Employers want to see that you are actively engaged in your field and have a passion for advancing knowledge and understanding. Additionally, employers may be interested in your publication record, so be sure to mention any relevant publications or presentations you have given.

Employers also value diversity and inclusivity in their faculty members. If you have experience working with diverse student populations or have engaged in activities that promote inclusivity, be sure to mention this in your cover letter. Employers want to see that you are committed to creating a welcoming and inclusive learning environment for all students.

Finally, employers want to see that you are a team player and can contribute to the institution’s community. If you have experience collaborating with colleagues on research projects or have been involved in service activities within your department or institution, be sure to highlight this in your cover letter. Employers want to see that you are committed to the success of the institution as a whole, not just your own personal success.

In summary, employers are looking for a combination of qualifications, experience, and values in a professor cover letter. By highlighting your teaching philosophy, research experience, commitment to diversity and inclusivity, and ability to contribute to the institution’s community, you can craft a compelling cover letter that will catch the attention of potential employers.

Essential Components of a Professor Cover Letter

When it comes to applying for a professor position, your cover letter can make all the difference. While your professor cover letter should be tailored to the specific job posting, there are a few essential components that every cover letter should include.

  • Header and contact information: This should be the first thing that appears on your cover letter. Make sure to include your full name, address, phone number, and email address.
  • Salutation and opening paragraph: Address the hiring manager by name if possible. In your opening paragraph, introduce yourself, state the position you’re applying for, and express your interest in the opportunity. You can also mention how you learned about the job opening.
  • Body paragraphs highlighting key skills and experiences: This is where you can really showcase your qualifications for the position. Use specific examples and data to illustrate your points. If the job posting mentions specific skills or experiences, make sure to address them in your cover letter.
  • Closing paragraph expressing interest in the position and next steps: In your closing paragraph, express your enthusiasm for the position and institution, and state your willingness to discuss your qualifications in more detail. You can also mention any additional materials you’ve included with your application, such as a CV or teaching philosophy statement.
  • Closing salutation and signature: Finish with a closing salutation, such as “Sincerely,” and your signature. Make sure to include your full name again below your signature.

It’s important to remember that your cover letter is often the first impression you’ll make on a hiring manager. Make sure to proofread your letter carefully for any errors or typos. You may also want to have a colleague or mentor review your cover letter before you submit it.

Additionally, it can be helpful to research the institution you’re applying to and tailor your cover letter accordingly. Mentioning specific programs or initiatives that align with your teaching or research interests can demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for the institution.

Overall, a strong professor cover letter should be clear, concise, and tailored to the specific job posting. By highlighting your key skills and experiences, expressing your enthusiasm for the position, and demonstrating your knowledge of the institution, you can increase your chances of landing an interview and ultimately, the job.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing a Professor Cover Letter

Now that we’ve discussed the essential components of a professor cover letter, let’s talk about some common mistakes to avoid.

One of the most important things to remember when writing a professor cover letter is to tailor it to the specific job posting and institution. This means doing your research on the school and department you are applying to and highlighting how your experience and qualifications align with their specific needs. Employers can tell when a cover letter is generic and will likely pass over such an application.

Another mistake to avoid is being too verbose or overly detailed. While it’s important to provide enough information to showcase your qualifications, you don’t want to overwhelm the reader with unnecessary details. Keep your cover letter concise and focused on highlighting your key qualifications.

It’s also important to avoid using clichés or generic language in your cover letter. For example, instead of saying “I am a team player with excellent communication skills,” provide specific examples of how you have worked collaboratively with others and effectively communicated complex ideas.

Lastly, be sure to proofread your cover letter multiple times and have someone else look it over as well. Grammatical errors or typos can make a negative impression and hurt your chances of landing an interview. Take the time to carefully review and edit your cover letter to ensure it is polished and professional.

By avoiding these common mistakes and taking the time to craft a tailored, concise, and polished cover letter, you can increase your chances of landing your dream professor position. Good luck!

Final Steps On Writing Your Professor Cover Letter

Writing a professor cover letter can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience. Before submitting your professor cover letter, there are a few final steps to take that can help ensure your application stands out from the rest.

First and foremost, it’s important to do your research on the institution you’re applying to. This means taking the time to learn about the school’s mission, values, and academic programs. By tailoring your cover letter to the specific institution, you’ll show that you’re serious about the position and have a genuine interest in the school.

Secondly, it’s crucial to carefully review the job posting and make sure you’re addressing all of the required and preferred qualifications. This means highlighting your relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments that align with the job description. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate to the hiring committee that you’re a qualified candidate who can meet their needs.

Thirdly, it’s important to ensure that your cover letter is visually appealing and easy to read. This means using a clear and professional font, such as Times New Roman or Arial, and formatting your text in a way that is easy to follow. Consider using bullet points and short paragraphs to break up the text and make it more digestible for the reader.

Finally, before submitting your cover letter, it’s crucial to proofread it multiple times to catch any errors or typos. You may also want to have someone else review it as well, as a fresh set of eyes can often catch mistakes that you may have missed. By taking the time to carefully review your cover letter, you’ll demonstrate your attention to detail and commitment to excellence.

By following these final steps, you’ll be well on your way to submitting a strong and compelling professor cover letter that showcases your skills and experience in the best possible light.

Example Professor Cover Letter

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Assistant Professor of English position at XYZ University. As someone with a PhD in English and extensive teaching experience, I believe I would be an excellent fit for this role and could contribute significantly to your English department.

As a professor at ABC University, I have taught a variety of English courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including American and British literature, creative writing, and literary theory. I have also supervised numerous graduate theses and served on several department and university committees.

In particular, I am excited about the opportunity to teach American literature at XYZ University, as this is an area of expertise for me. I have published several articles on American literature and presented at numerous academic conferences on the topic.

One of my greatest strengths as a professor is my ability to engage students in meaningful discussions about literature. I believe that literature has the power to shape our understanding of the world and ourselves, and I strive to help my students develop critical thinking skills that will serve them well beyond the classroom.

Another area of interest for me is the relationship between literature and social justice. I have worked with students to explore how literature can help us understand issues of race, gender, and sexuality, and I am committed to creating a classroom environment that is inclusive and welcoming to all students.

I am impressed with XYZ University’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and would be honored to contribute to this mission. I believe that a diverse student body and faculty are essential to creating a rich and vibrant academic community, and I would be excited to work with colleagues who share this belief.

Thank you for considering my application. I would be thrilled to discuss my qualifications in more detail.


John Doe

When it comes to applying for a professor position, a cover letter can be a crucial component of your application package. While some job postings may not explicitly request a cover letter, it is generally a good idea to include one to showcase your qualifications and enthusiasm for the position.But how long should your professor cover letter be? While there is no hard and fast rule, most cover letters should be no more than one page in length. This means you will need to be concise and targeted in your writing, highlighting your most relevant experience and qualifications.One question that often comes up is whether you should include your teaching philosophy in your cover letter. While this is not always necessary, it can be a great way to demonstrate your approach to teaching and how you would fit in with the culture of the institution. Just be sure to keep it brief and focused on the key points that make you a strong candidate for the position.Another common question is whether you can use the same cover letter for multiple professor applications. While it may be tempting to save time by using a generic cover letter, it is generally better to customize each letter to the specific job and institution. This shows that you have done your research and are truly interested in the position.Finally, when it comes to addressing your cover letter, it is best to follow the instructions in the job posting. If the posting specifies a hiring manager or search committee, address your letter to them specifically. If not, a generic greeting such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “To Whom It May Concern” is acceptable.Remember, your professor cover letter is your chance to make a strong first impression and stand out from the competition. By following these tips and doing your research, you can craft a compelling letter that showcases your qualifications and passion for teaching.


A well-crafted professor cover letter can make the difference between landing an interview and having your application passed over. By following the essential components, avoiding common mistakes, and taking the necessary final steps, you can increase your chances of making a positive impression on potential employers. Remember to tailor your cover letter to the specific job posting and institution, highlight your key qualifications, and express your enthusiasm for the opportunity.