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The most important thing I can do as a teacher in that situation is to help students develop confidence in their own abilities [in order] to believe that they belong in college and that they can successfully navigate its challenges. I loved the environment and the students at Spokane Falls, particularly the nontraditional students.” Of course she curries favor by mentioning her previous experience at our college, but more important, she shows how her further education and interaction with other students have made her a better teacher. Connect to your audience in such a way as to let them “hear your voice”; they should know what’s relevant about your ability to do the job, but it’s important to leave them a little hungry to know you better, thus making them want to invite you to interview.
That match-up will distinguish your letter from the pack because screening committees read many generic letters from applicants who fancy they can teach everything.
What new applicants seldom know is that at public institutions, some committees are constrained by evaluation documents that limit what they can value to the job as it is advertised.
The letter of application is, arguably, among the most important documents an academic writes.
When academics who haven’t worked at community colleges seek jobs at those institutions — as more are likely to do this year, given that there are more jobs at community colleges — the letter takes on even more significance.
It is my hope that I will have the opportunity to work not as a novice but as an experienced teacher, one who has finally recognized that her dream was not about a degree so much as about having the opportunity to build a career around that which she loves the most: teaching.” Every member of the committee reading that conclusion wanted to invite Ann to interview, confident that we were a good match for her and she for us.
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The seven foregoing suggestions are substantive issues expressed in positive terms, but this list would be incomplete were I to ignore those niggling features of a letter that can irk screening committee members.
Landing an academic job is tough, and at no point in the process are the odds longer than in getting a foot in the door to interview.
Often the number of applicants for a position, particularly in the humanities, exceeds 100.
(Fortunately, the CV format does not invite this practice.) Your audience does not know you and is therefore indifferent to your needs; rather, they focus acutely on those of their department.
Your job is to convince readers that you can fulfill those needs, and starting with your ideal job description makes that document “all about me.” The audience will worry. Don’t overuse “I.” It’s possible to show your accomplishments by having others recognize them.