[This cover letter, adapted from a number that I have received, represents a beginning search with rather fairly generic format: an introductory salutation paragraph; two paragraphs devoted to the dissertation; the following paragraph indicating activity in the field; an additional paragraph about teaching; the final paragraph regarding the dossier and MLA convention availability. While the dissertation paragraph should usually go first, the teaching paragraph can well precede discussion of research activities, depending on the institution.]
[Name of candidate]
Prof. Charles J. Stivale, Chair
Dept. of Romance Languages & Literatures
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202
Dear Prof. Stivale,
I am writing to apply for the position of Assistant Professor in Twentieth Century and Francophone Literatures that is advertised in the MLA Online Job Information List. I am convinced that my interdisciplinary training at [school] as a specialist in Francophone literatures and French cultural Studies qualifies me for such a position.
My dissertation is titled [title]. To date, I expect to submit the final draft of my dissertation including conclusions for formal approval in February 199x. My dissertation advisor is [xxx].
My study analyzes [brief description of the dissertation project].
As evidence of my works acceptance by the academy, a version of chapter five has been approved for publication as a chapter in [xxx]. Also, the forthcoming edition of [xxx] included one of my essays in the area of [xxx] which analyzes [xxx]. Besides these publications, I have presented papers at different national and international conferences. For further information, please refer to the attached Curriculum Vitae. Publication abstracts are available upon request.
I am strongly committed to quality teaching at both undergraduate and graduate levels. In fact, my drive for research is grounded by this commitment to teaching. My teaching experience includes over four years of preparation and implementation of language skill courses [course #s] here at [xxx]. Currently, I am involved in teaching [xxx]. This engagement is reflected in both departmental and student feedback on officially administered course evaluations that have consistently ranked my teaching at the highest levels. Furthermore, I am actively using technology in the classroom in order to expose students to language and to help them develop connections with other cultures. I hope to develop their facility with online activities such as Internet pen pals and Web pages, and I currently have a modest Web site developed at http://xxx.
Enclosed you will find my Curriculum Vitae, a Statement of Research and Teaching Philosophy, and an abstract of my dissertation. Additional abstracts, sample syllabi and copies of my teaching evaluation reports are available upon request. I am having my placement file sent to you, and I will be available at the MLA convention for an interview should you judge my documentation favorably. I can be reached at my home xxx-xxx-xxxx, or ath the [xxx] Department of [xxx] xxx-xxx-xxxx.
I look forward to the opportunity of discussing my candidacy with you further.