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Author Topic: Do I mention spouse in cover letter?  (Read 8430 times)
dundee
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« on: July 25, 2007, 6:10:31 pm »

Someone has probaby asked this question before, and I'm sure I'll receive conflicting advice, but I'm applying for a job in the state next door to ours and wonder whether I should mention in my cover letter that my spouse has a t-t position in the neighboring state.

I want to indicate that I have strong reasons for wanting to find a job in the area and that I want to stay in the area, but I don't want them to think that I'm looking for a spousal hire. If I got the job she would stay where she is and we'd both commute.
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amparog
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 6:52:47 pm »

I would not do it.  I think in the cover letter, you should stick to your qualifications.  But that's just me.
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englitprof
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 7:45:21 pm »

I've been in this situation, and found that responses to applications went much better when spouse was not mentioned. 
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geonerd
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« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2007, 12:34:35 am »

No. It is not relevant at such an early stage of the job search. This is something you might casually mention at dinner if you are invited to interview.
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drsyn
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« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2007, 12:35:05 am »



Noooo.

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pink_
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2007, 12:39:02 pm »

Nope.
As others have said, it's not relevant to your professional qualifications for the job, and that's what the cover letter is supposed to detail.

Good luck!
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undisciplined
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Okay then.


« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2007, 12:42:26 pm »

NO! A cover letter is a sifting mechanism. If and when you make it to the next stage, you will have plenty of opportunities to bring this up, if you then think it necessary. I personally would not bring it up until you have an offer on the table.
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trabb
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« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2007, 1:59:27 pm »

I personally would not bring it up until you have an offer on the table.

Or until you're asked "What makes this particular geographic region a desirable location for you?" or "What do you know about the region?"  I've had both of those in interviews.  Note that these are very different questions than "What makes this job attractive to you?" 

A spouse/partner in the area is a very good answer to the first question.  It's a good lead-in to the second if you want to reveal the information. ("Well, my SO lives a hundred miles down the road, so I'm pretty familiar.  Here's what I like about it.")  The SO is potentially a very, very bad answer to the final question; they're more interested in hearing about how brilliant you think their students are, etc.
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yellowtractor
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« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2007, 9:51:44 pm »

Absolutely not.  For all the reasons stated above.  And also for a few others, which we must keep secret.  Just don't.
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waxwing
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« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2007, 11:27:08 pm »

As you see, you will not receive contradictory advice, unless someone decides to be contrary on principle.  Take the hint.

WW
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case_insensitive
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2007, 12:24:19 am »

No. Simply, no.
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englitprof
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2007, 9:41:49 am »

I want to indicate that I have strong reasons for wanting to find a job in the area and that I want to stay in the area, but I don't want them to think that I'm looking for a spousal hire. If I got the job she would stay where she is and we'd both commute.

The strong reasons you should mention in the cover letter for wanting to find a job in the area and staying in the area should be about the school/program. 
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arjones
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2007, 8:06:22 pm »

I have read numerous threads on this forum indicating that if an applicant is on the tt at hus current institution and is applying for jobs elsewhere, SCs will be suspicious that hu is worried about not getting tenure at hus current job and/or is a difficult colleague who has become embroiled in conflict at hus current department.  If this is right, then it would seem to make sense for an applicant who (a) is on the tt; (b) is not in trouble at hus current position; but (c) wishes to apply to positions in the same geographic area where hus spouse works; and (d) is applying to jobs in that geographic area that are more or less indistinguishable from hus current position to explain in hus cover letter that one of hus reasons for applying (in addition to the qualities of the new job that hu likes) is the geographic proximity to hus spouse's job, so as to rebut the presumption that hu want to leave hus current position for some reason that would reflect badly on hu.

From the responses above, however, it appears that SCs will look down on such an explanation, for unspecified reasons.  So is hu damned if hu does and damned if hu doesn't?  If the reply is that hu should simply state other reasons why the new position is attractive, then doesn't hu run the risk that the SC won't believe that the person really wants to move for those reasons (b/c the positions are more or less indistinguishable) and assume that hu is having problems in hus current position?

More generally, do SCs have so many prejudices about applicants' reasons for wanting to move jobs and unwritten rules about what is and what isn't appropriate to put in a cover letter that perfectly good candidates who want to move to be closer to their spouses may be removed from consideration from the start through no fault of their own?
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fiona
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« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2007, 9:10:04 pm »

This is too gnarled and snarled.

Just THINK. Schools want to hire people who want to work at those schools because those are the people who can most enhance and be enhanced by the intellectual offerings of those schools.

That shouldn't be hard to grasp.

Oh, yes, and of course search committees lie awake nights thinking of new ways to torture candidates. It is such fun.

The Fiona



I have read numerous threads on this forum indicating that if an applicant is on the tt at hus current institution and is applying for jobs elsewhere, SCs will be suspicious that hu is worried about not getting tenure at hus current job and/or is a difficult colleague who has become embroiled in conflict at hus current department.  If this is right, then it would seem to make sense for an applicant who (a) is on the tt; (b) is not in trouble at hus current position; but (c) wishes to apply to positions in the same geographic area where hus spouse works; and (d) is applying to jobs in that geographic area that are more or less indistinguishable from hus current position to explain in hus cover letter that one of hus reasons for applying (in addition to the qualities of the new job that hu likes) is the geographic proximity to hus spouse's job, so as to rebut the presumption that hu want to leave hus current position for some reason that would reflect badly on hu.

From the responses above, however, it appears that SCs will look down on such an explanation, for unspecified reasons.  So is hu damned if hu does and damned if hu doesn't?  If the reply is that hu should simply state other reasons why the new position is attractive, then doesn't hu run the risk that the SC won't believe that the person really wants to move for those reasons (b/c the positions are more or less indistinguishable) and assume that hu is having problems in hus current position?

More generally, do SCs have so many prejudices about applicants' reasons for wanting to move jobs and unwritten rules about what is and what isn't appropriate to put in a cover letter that perfectly good candidates who want to move to be closer to their spouses may be removed from consideration from the start through no fault of their own?
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daniel_von_flanagan
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« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2007, 9:16:59 pm »

I have read numerous threads on this forum indicating that if an applicant is on the tt at hus current institution and is applying for jobs elsewhere, SCs will be suspicious that hu is worried about not getting tenure at hus current job and/or is a difficult colleague who has become embroiled in conflict at hus current department.  If this is right, then it would seem to make sense for an applicant who (a) is on the tt; (b) is not in trouble at hus current position; but (c) wishes to apply to positions in the same geographic area where hus spouse works; and (d) is applying to jobs in that geographic area that are more or less indistinguishable from hus current position to explain in hus cover letter that one of hus reasons for applying (in addition to the qualities of the new job that hu likes) is the geographic proximity to hus spouse's job,

There is no reason to have this in the cover letter.  In fact, in my department the SC does not even see the cover letter.

If the committee wants to know why you are leaving a comparable tt job, they will ask by phone or in person. - DvF
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