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Adjunct Professor Cover Letter Example

Looking to land an academic role? Hook hiring managers’ interest with a well-written adjunct professor cover letter. Read our step-by-step guide here.
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Adjunct Professor Cover Letter Example
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Are you ready to accelerate your academic career? If you’re an esteemed educator with years of experience under your belt, you may want to consider a role as an adjunct professor. Professionals who work on this contract basis can fetch an average of $39.08 per hour — making it a lucrative choice. But before you land your next position, you need to craft an adjunct professor cover letter that piques hiring managers’ interest.

Chances are, you have an interesting story to tell. However, traditional cover letters are no longer than 300 words and should fit neatly on one page. That means that you may need to edit out any of the fluff and stick to the point. If you’re used to writing long research papers, you may find this challenging. So, how can you keep it short, sweet, and concise? 

Here at Resume.io, we have all the resources you need to supercharge your job search including a whole library of cover letter examples and guides to suit various professions. In the following writing guide — along with our adjunct professor cover letter sample — we will touch upon

  • The best format for an adjunct professor cover letter (plus a cover letter example)
  • Advice on how to maximize the impact of each cover letter section
  • How to write an adjunct professor cover letter with no experience
  • The basic mistakes you need to avoid when creating your cover letter.

Best format for an adjunct professor cover letter

Your cover letter is likely the first thing a hiring manager will read when reviewing your application. You need to make it count. While this is somewhat freeform, there are different sections you need to include. Before you start writing, it pays to know what they are. Here’s a quick breakdown of each of the parts your cover letter should have: 

  • The cover letter header
  • The greeting / salutation
  • The cover letter intro
  • The middle paragraphs (body of the letter)
  • The ending paragraph of your cover letter (conclusion and call-to-action)

Within each of these sections, you will have some creative freedom. The aim of the game is to tell the hiring manager what you bring to the figurative table. What experience, knowledge, and expertise make you unique? Taking the time to weave this into an engaging cover letter is one way to set you apart from the crowd of other applicants. 

Read more about how to format it in our comprehensive cover letter guide. To take a peek at how the finished product should look in the below adjunct professor cover letter sample: 

Adaptable cover letter sample

Dear Professor Harper,

After a full-time academic career as a Professor of Linguistics for the past two decades, I am now seeking a change of pace as I write my third book and embark on a speaking tour. Your adjunct professor role would be an ideal way to maintain a connection with academia.

I believe that my value to your students will be maximized by the lack of research demands and university publishing requirements. I thrive in the classroom and find constant inspiration while teaching. My recent work in computational linguistics should complement the work that you currently do in the field of artificial intelligence, and I know that many of your students move on to careers in NLP and AI.

I am intimately familiar with the linguistics curriculum at Miami State and would enjoy getting involved with your assessment process. As a fluent speaker of four languages, I am well qualified to judge the practical progress of students as well as their theoretical understanding. In terms of course creation, I am including a portfolio of previous materials.

The most attractive aspect of the adjunct professor role will be the opportunity to work with some of the brightest young academics in the country. As a full-time professor, I never felt that I had enough time to spend with my colleagues, so this is something that I would look forward to. I would also relish assisting where possible with any of their research efforts.

I know that we have met previously a few times and I look forward to catching up and hearing about your hopes for the role and how I might fit in with your plans.

Sincerely,

Carl Newman

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Cover letter header

The cover letter header is located at the top of the page. This section needs to include your full name and title, your academic email address, and your phone number. While it’s hardly the most exciting part of your cover letter, it plays a vital role.

Once a hiring manager has reviewed your application, they may want to invite you to that all-important interview. Ensuring that you place your contact details front and center will help them do that. Be sure to use a legible font and choose a decent size too. 

Cover letter greeting

Once you’ve dealt with that red tape, it’s time to kick things off. The cover letter greeting is how you say “howdy” to the hiring manager. Of course, you don’t want to say that exactly. Since you’re applying for an academic position, you need to use formal language here. 

Do you know the name of the person who will be hiring candidates? If so, you can go ahead and address your cover letter to them. Use their full name and title when you do so. For example, you might go with something like “Dear Prof. Rankin.” 

On the other hand, if you are unsure of who will be reading your cover letter, you may need to go another way. Avoid the tired phrasing of “To whom it may concern” and go for something more specific. You can opt for “Dear _____ department,” for instance.

Cover letter introduction

The cover letter introduction has to hook the reader’s attention. Academics are busy professionals who don’t have hour upon hour to review applications. That’s why you need a powerful intro that sells you as an adjunct professor. Think long and hard about what your unique selling point (USP) is before you start writing this part of your application. 

What makes you the best person for the job? Are there any specific research papers that make you an expert in your field? Have you held a full-time position at a similar institute? Whatever it is that showcases your talents, you need to lead with it. Don’t overcomplicate this part of the letter. Pick one important message about you and run with it here.

Adaptable cover letter introduction

Dear Professor Harper,

After a full-time academic career as a Professor of Linguistics for the past two decades, I am now seeking a change of pace as I write my third book and embark on a speaking tour. Your adjunct professor role would be an ideal way to maintain a connection with academia.

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Cover letter middle part (body)

Now that you’ve got the reader’s attention, the next step is to write the body. The middle paragraphs of cover letters allow you to expand on your introduction and add some weight to your argument. Consider what you want to include. When writing, focus on the knowledge and skills that make you an inspiring adjunct professor. Wherever possible, quantify your achievements and give insights into your learning experiences so far. 

Want to give your cover letter some color? There’s room for the odd anecdote in this section. While you’re not writing a memoir, you have the opportunity to share the tales that have made you who you are today — professionally speaking. It’s all about painting a picture of you as a well-rounded academic. Think about what makes your story different. 

When it comes to the tone of this section, keep things professional at all times. As a professor, you will need to take a formal approach to your everyday duties and tasks. Show the hiring manager that you already have that attitude by using the right language.

Adaptable cover letter middle part example

I believe that my value to your students will be maximized by the lack of research demands and university publishing requirements. I thrive in the classroom and find constant inspiration while teaching. My recent work in computational linguistics should complement the work that you currently do in the field of artificial intelligence, and I know that many of your students move on to careers in NLP and AI.

I am intimately familiar with the linguistics curriculum at Miami State and would enjoy getting involved with your assessment process. As a fluent speaker of four languages, I am well qualified to judge the practical progress of students as well as their theoretical understanding. In terms of course creation, I am including a portfolio of previous materials.

The most attractive aspect of the adjunct professor role will be the opportunity to work with some of the brightest young academics in the country. As a full-time professor, I never felt that I had enough time to spend with my colleagues, so this is something that I would look forward to. I would also relish assisting where possible with any of their research efforts.

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Expert tip

Optimize your cover letter for the ATS software! 

Many employers now use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to filter applications. The software reviews documents — i.e. resumes and cover letters — and ranks them by how well they meet the criteria of the job. It does this using keyword matching. 

The more keywords your cover letter includes, the more likely it is to pass the ATS and land on the hiring manager’s desk. While you can’t be 100 percent sure of the exact keywords the system is looking for, there’s an easy way to guess. 

Refer back to the original job posting and highlight any job-specific words that stand out to you. Sprinkle these words and phrases throughout your cover letter and resume. This trick may increase your chances of an actual human reviewing your application.

If you are prone to writing too much, don’t worry. Write a first draft of your cover letter body, review it, and then edit it down to fit the word count. Should you find that tricky, you can take a look at our adjunct professor cover letter sample.

How to close an adjunct professor cover letter (conclusion and sign-off)

When you have said all there is to say, it’s time to sign off. The final sentences of your adjunct professor cover letter should leave the reader wanting more. You’ve already made your case as to why you’re the right person for the job. Now, you need to end confidently with a bold closing statement and just a hint of optimism for good measure. 

While you don’t want to come across as arrogant or presumptuous, it’s smart to hint at the prospect of an interview. You may want to say something like “I hope to discuss my achievements with you further in a formal interview.” In addition, you can add a call to action (CTA) encouraging the reader to reach out if they need more information from you.

Adaptable cover letter closing example

I know that we have met previously a few times and I look forward to catching up and hearing about your hopes for the role and how I might fit in with your plans.

Sincerely,

Carl Newman

Copied!

Adjunct professor cover letter with no experience

Have you recently qualified? Perhaps you’ve just completed your doctorate and are looking for contract professor positions. Writing a cover letter when you lack the experience other candidates have doesn’t have to be hard. Draw upon the following: 

  • Your specialist area of research — and any papers you have completed
  • Your passion and knowledge about the institute to which you’re applying
  • Any placements or voluntary work you have under your belt
  • The particular areas of study that interest you and why

The main thing you want to get across here is your passion for this role. If you are lucky, the hiring manager may be looking for some fresh talent to bring aboard. Show that you have done your research and can add real value to the existing teaching faculty.

Basic mistakes in an adjunct professor application letter (and how to avoid them)

By now, you should know all there is to know about writing a successful adjunct professor cover letter. Of course, the last thing you want to do is ruin your chances before you even get started. For that reason, it’s important that you avoid some of the following mistakes: 

  • Make sure your spelling and grammar are perfect! Stupid errors could cost you the job interview. Hiring managers will expect your cover letter to be flawless.
  • Avoid writing a long cover letter. Yes, you might have a ton of experience that you want to talk about. However, you should save some of the finer details for the interview. When writing your letter, be sure to keep things to the point.
  • Cut the jargon. Don’t presume that the hiring manager has the same lexicon you have. The reader may not be familiar with the terms that you use. You don’t want to turn them off by bamboozling them with highbrow language.
Ideal length of a cover letter
Ideal length of a cover letter

Key takeaways

  1. Writing an eloquent adjunct professor cover letter may help you get a foot in the door at some of the world’s leading colleges.
  2. You should make sure that you pitch the tone exactly right. This is a professional position so your writing needs to be formal to reflect that.
  3. To get a head start, you can use specific keywords that will help you pass the ATS.
  4. Don’t leave it to chance! Use our expert cover letter templates to get things right.

If you’re looking for some more inspiration, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at our academic cover letter examples here: 

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Build your cover letter in minutes
Stand out and get hired faster with our collection of free cover letter templates expertly-designed to land you the perfect position.
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