In the midst of searching for college jobs or college positions, you will find a host of advice about how to maximize your chances of employment. Everyone has a strategy but I repeatedly see the same requests made by postings and the same mistakes made in submissions. One easy thing a job seeker can do is draft an impressive cover letter and/or statement of purpose explaining the job’s appeal and why they are the best candidate.
It is not enough, especially when applying for academic positions, to “sell” yourself in a letter. Every candidate is selling and hyping up their strengths to convince the hiring authority they are the perfect person. In an academic career search, you must demonstrate to the institution that you have knowledge of what the position entails and you are aware of the organization’s mission and core values. To accomplish this, read the job posting at least three times. The first time, just read to comprehend; the second, read and make note of key phrases or words that stand out; and the third time, read while comparing your notes to make sure you found the “key” items that you possess (special talents, additional languages, time in the workforce, etc). Repeat the above process using the mission statement and values.
Key words are a framework for your cover letter or statement of purpose. You need to craft sentences that highlight those words and emphasize abilities you possess that match those key words and make you exceptional. Your ability to stand out based on capabilities the job poster needs is vital. Proofread your letter aloud to catch any missed words or words spell-check will not notice (like typing "form" when you meant "from"). Your result will be a well-written letter representing a superior candidate.
Stormy Stark has worked and studied in the higher education sector for over twenty years.
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