Sample Cover Letter For an Advertised Position

April 21, 2000
Candidate's Letterhead


Dr. Name Department of Sociology University Address

Dear Dr. Name:

I am writing in response to your notice in the November ASA Employment Bulletin of the position as Assistant Professor of Sociology in your department. I am currently a doctoral candidate at the University of X and expect to complete all requirements for the degree by May, 1996.

My dissertation deals with the evaluation of fourteen child abuse prevention programs in the metropolitan Philadelphia area. Through my association with the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, I interviewed 80 mothers participating in various parent education programs. From the qualitative data I gathered, as well as from quantitative data collected by the National Committee, I am evaluating the efficacy of the programs. In addition, the qualitative data have led me to challenge cultural assumptions about appropriate child rearing practices and to consider issues surrounding the mainstream definitions of child maltreatment. Since the populations I have studied are largely poor minorities, I am examining the role of social isolation on the family experience of these parents.

As you can see from my vita, I have been most fortunate in my graduate student career to have had ample opportunity both to teach and to do research. As a teaching assistant and as an instructor of my own courses, I have been afforded a great deal of experience with a wide range of courses, including Qualitative Methods, Social Stratification, and Deviance; a list of my teaching interests can be found on my vita. The anonymous reviews by my students have been consistently laudatory, citing my knowledge, teaching style, and enthusiasm as highlights of the courses. I am committed to working with my students and have maintained professional relationships with many of them years beyond the classroom.

My research interests are as varied as my teaching. I have engaged in corporate and organizational research for the past three years with Dr. Name at the University of X. One article stemming from this work, "Leveraged Buyouts and Corporate Political Action," has recently been published in Social Sciences Quarterly. In addition, I have worked extensively with Professor Name, formerly of Bryn Mawr College and currently of the University of California, Davis. This work has included my master's project on unplanned teen pregnancy as well as field study on the Philadelphia pro-life and pro-choice movements in their nascence in the mid-80's, linking the movements to Gusfield's notion of the symbolic crusade. Recently, I independently conducted research on female crack addicts in rehabilitative programs, a project which I eventually hope to address in a series of short papers.

I have been an active member of the academic and social communities at the University of Pennsylvania and at Bryn Mawr College. I have served on numerous committees and have been a vigorous and enthusiastic participant in university life. My involvement spans groups as serious as the University Academic Planning and Budget Committee, a provost's committee to which only two graduate students are appointed each year, and as whimsical as the annual Sociology Department t-shirt contest, which I originated and continue to run each year.

I believe that I would be an asset to your department and university and would welcome the opportunity to discuss the assistant professorship with you further. I look forward to hearing from you.


T.L. Candidate

From The Academic Job Search Handbook, second edition. Reprinted with permission from the University of Pennsylvania Press.