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I was in this situation. I got to the Zoom interview stage but was not invited for an on campus interview. The next year I applied again and ultimately got the job. I just applied as if it were the first time, making no mention of my previous application.

Bill Vanderburgh

I think this is one of those situations where the relevant information just won't be available to the candidate, so all they can do is submit the best application possible and hope. It is so hard to know, from the candidate's position, why they weren't given an offer, or why such a similar position is on offer again this year. It could have been a failed search because the top candidate declined and the committee didn't feel they could accept the next candidate down the list. Perhaps the improved record resolves those worries. But perhaps it was something about fit or on-campus performance, and even though a strong candidate you won't get invited this year. Or maybe the search got cancelled for some reason outside the department's control, and they will be eager to see the candidate in the pool again. One could ask, but they probably can't/won't give a straight answer in advance of the committee review (the search chair might be sure that the candidate is/not a viable, but can't commit to anything until the committee meets, etc.). So just apply.

While I think Marcus is right that the cover letter should be an ordinary cover letter, perhaps a very brief email to the search chair to draw attention to your application wouldn't be out of place. Something like: "Dear chair, I was pleased to see that you have another ad for AOS this year. I really enjoyed my visit and would be eager to work in this role. As you'll note from my updated application materials, since we last spoke I have published x, taught y, and serviced z. I look forward to the opportunity to speak with the committee again." What do others think about this?

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