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Mark Alfano

In light of some comments I've received, I think it might have been better if I had given the following advice:

Cover Letter Template. There are three types of cover letters. For an R1 university, keep the letter short and sweet -- at most one page unless you have strong indications that a long letter is required. For a big state teaching university, it should be a bit longer -- probably 1.5 pages -- and include at least a paragraph on your teaching experience and philosophy (probably the second paragraph), as well as a short description of your research program (probably the third paragraph). For a SLAC, the letter should be at least 2 pages, probably 3. It should include as many "fit" details as you can muster: look up the school's mission (catholic? into the arts? into their location?), the department's mission (into applied ethics? into interdisciplinarity?), and the events that the philosophy department (co-)sponsors. Explain how you would be an especially good fit given these features of the school. Regardless of the type of school, put it on electronic letterhead, and be sure to include inside addresses and a scan of your signature.

Marcus Arvan

Mark: okay, cool. That makes a lot of sense. Thanks! Quick follow-up: what if your school has no electronic letter-head? Believe it or not, mine doesn't! (I suppose I could try to scan it, but I think it might look a bit chintzy).

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