Academic Job Search: Cover Letter Humor

Our humble community college, with a regional airport that only recently opened a bar in the post-screening area, is planning to once again hire a slew of new tenure track faculty–including at least one, maybe two,  English positions.  Since the number of full timers in our department has remained fairly stagnant in the last decade despite losing several faculty members to retirement, advancement, and greener pastures, it seems likely that I’ll once again get to review the hundreds of applications, and giggle over the various non-intentional cover letter mishaps. 

But it seems only fair to at least try to get the word out ahead of time so that perhaps maybe, just maybe, I’ll be giggling less this time around.  Consider this the son of the Times Higher Education annual list of “exam howlers“–academic job search cover letter edition.  But, maybe not as funny.

  1. “Hello! How are you?”   (Just peachy! Next….)
  2. “I’ve always wanted to live on the coast…”  (We are hours from the coast, however.)
  3. “I’m excited about the opportunity to teach at Ivory Coast Community College…” (Uh, that’s not us)
  4. “I look forward to teaching courses in “Gobbly Gook Theoretical Deconstruction Post Colonial Mixed Genres”  (Really? To lower division students? At a college where  you are being asked to teach mostly composition and introductory literature courses?)
  5. “I am willing to teach remedial English….”   (Willing? How sweet of you. Remedial? Read up on the lingo.)
  6. “I am a people person, which, I believe will help me relate to young, working class junior college students. My experiences working with young people include the following: I was a star basketball player in high school, I tend bar on the weekends, and also teach Yoga to children at the Boys and Girls Club.”  (How very interesting….next…)
  7. “Thanks so much for reading my file!!!” (That third exclamation point sold me. Really!)
  8. “I am a devoted MLA member.”  (I, too,  am hopelessly devoted to the MLA: Sing it, Olivia!)

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9 responses to “Academic Job Search: Cover Letter Humor

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Academic Job Search: Cover Letter Humor | From the Mixed Up Bloggings of Annie Em -- Topsy.com

  2. I like lots of exclamation points in cover letters!!!!!!!!! Because it shows just how much someone want the job, right?!!?!?!?!?!?!!????!!!!????!!!

    Just kidding. I actually can’t imagine how much carpal tunnel is induced by holding down the shift key that many times in a row…

  3. Today I found myself writing on a student paper the following comment: “please refrain from using so many exclamation points in academic writing!”

    Then I had to add: “Unless you are a punchy English prof reading dozens of essays!”

    WordPress has only so many themes, and I’m too lazy to customize them….I do like the books, though. Not sure how I missed this theme these two years;)

  4. “Please refrain” — that’s so nicely said.

    It would have been awesome if you’d written the comment and then ended with 10 exclamation points. 😉

  5. You missed the theme b/c it’s shiny brand new. WordPress is throwing out the (ahem, better) older version which looked cooler. I know this because my teaching blog has this same theme now!

    Anyway, I had a relevant comment: My former boss recently hired a new faculty member. She had many interesting cover letters she told me about, but I think my favorite was the one that went “I am writing to apply for the position of advisor, financial aid, admissions counselor, food service representative, faculty member.” –EVERY job that was available at Private College was listed, in one letter. She also got several that were applying to 1) teach something that Private College just plain doesn’t do…like not even close or 2) for another school not even in our state, let alone the area.

  6. It’s a new version of an old theme!? Thanks for that tidbit (and a new blog I can visit!).

    And thank you for that funny cover letter story: we, too, got one letter like that (I can teach writing, reading, literature, speech, Spanish, etc>), though not nearly as wide reaching as EVERY job. That is a hoot!

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