How to Write a Cover Letter for an Adjunct Professor

Cover letters for adjunct instructors should highlight education and teaching experience.
Cover letters for adjunct instructors should highlight education and teaching experience. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Cover letters are more than just a resume in narrative form. An effective cover letter should actually include details about the professor's educational and professional credentials, as well as details about his specialties or extraneous qualifications. Adjunct professors are non-tenured college instructors who usually work on a part-time basis. Most adjuncts are recent Master's Degree graduates who are looking for their first teaching position. Use your application's cover letter to spotlight your achievements in graduate school, any teaching experience or relevant employment you might have, as well as your honors and publication. The cover letter should detail to your application that would be out of place on other application documents.

Organizing the Information

Update your resume and consult a cover letter template. Beginning with your most up-to-date employment and educational information will make your cover letter more accurate. Consider consulting a friend, colleague or mentor’s cover letter for an example of what information to include in your cover letter and how to format it.

Outline the topics you intend to address in the cover letter. For each topic, list all educational or work-related achievements that will help you fully detail that topic. Devote one section or paragraph to each point you plan to make in the letter, such as sections for information specifically requested by the university or college to which you are applying, as well as information that highlights your educational, professional and other achievements.

Elaborate each topic with specific, professional details. For example, the introductory paragraph could specify to the person reviewing your application why you want to teach with that department. Include points such as communication skills, leadership and the ability to work as part of a team, according to the University of Kent.

Drafting the Cover Letter

Write each paragraph of the cover letter. The cover letter should be single-spaced and should fit on one letter-sized piece of paper, according to the University of Kent. At a minimum, the cover letter should include a paragraph addressing your interest in the job and how you heard about it, your educational background, your teaching experience and a discussion of any awards or publications.

Prioritize the details you include in the cover letter. For the education section, describe the classes you took and how they prepare you for the job. The paragraph addressing your previous teaching experience could show how that experience qualifies you for the position you are applying for.

Edit and proofread the cover letter before submitting your application. Review the letter once for grammatical correctness and for organization. Review it a second time to ensure that the letter addresses every point the application specifically requires and to be certain you have written everything you intended to.

Tips & Warnings

  • Publications, awards and conference presentations add important detail to your cover letter because they add credence to your skills as a professor. They also indicate your professional involvement, which means you could add to the university's image if you are hired.

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