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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mack

The Academic Job Application

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

Academic job applications can be confusing and overwhelming. Often, job calls and announcements ask for different documents. You should be tailoring each application to the specific job call and its requirements. However, there are a set of core documents you can prepare ahead of time to serve as the backbone for your application.

The The Professor is In book is a good resource overall for the academic job market, although we admit we do not agree with all the advice presented in that book.

Dr. Jimmy Butts has also compiled this document with job application tips.

Below you will find a description of major components of academic job applications with accompanying examples.

Cover letter

A cover letter is a rhetorical document. It is designed to not only indicate your interest for the job, but also narrativize and make a case for why you are a good candidate for the job. You should engage language from the job announcement and directly address the needs of the position you are applying for.

Sample Letter - Bryan McCann


A curriculum vitae is an academic resume and it outlines your experience, qualifications, and publications for the search committee. You can see examples and learn more about how to prepare a CV on our CV resource page.

Teaching Portfolio

This often includes a teaching philosophy, evidence of teaching effectiveness (summative reports of teaching evaluations), and sometimes sample syllabi.

Sample Teaching Portfolio - Bryan McCann

Diversity Statement

A diversity statement is usually a one page statement detailing your experience as a leader advocating for equity, access, inclusion, and diversity in higher education contexts. If you have yet to participate in such activities while in graduate school or early career, you can highlight your experiences working in a multicultural environment, reinforce your commitment to equity, access, inclusion, and diversity, and note how you will work towards this in the position you are applying for. This statement is designed for the committee and university to get a sense of your knowledge, experience, and commitments with regard to diversity work.

Sample Diversity Statement - Ashley Mack

Research Statement

A research statement is a 1 to 2 page narrative of your research program. It should highlight past, present, and future trajectories.

Sample Research Statement - Ashley Mack

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