So, it's about that time. Jobs are slowly starting to appear over at the JFP/Philjobs. Which means it's time to start writing/tailoring cover-letters. While I've posted about them before, asking for tips (and getting some good ones!), I figure it couldn't hurt to ask again, this time a bit more precisely. Here are some specific questions:
- What's the ideal length for a cover-letter (A) for a teaching-oriented department, and (B) a research-oriented one? (What, in particular, is too short or too long?)
- How much time should one spend explaining why one's research or teaching interests fit the position advertised? Presumably, one should say some things, but how much?
- Do cover letters matter at all for research places? (I've heard they don't. But does this mean one shouldn't write a good one, given the off chance that it might catch someone's eye?).
- I've heard many places that it is important to address how you "fit" the position advertised. However, is it a bad idea to come right out and say, "I believe I'm an ideal candidate for the position your department advertised because..."? If it is, what's the best way to go about it?
- How important is it to speak to the department or university's mission? (Some universities seem to take this stuff really seriously. Is it a just something to judge on a case-by-case basis, or should one always speak to such things?)
Thanks, in advance, to anyone who chimes in! (And please, others should feel welcome to ask questions to the community as well).