Writing Academic Job Materials

By Lauren Hammond |

If you are on the job hunt for faculty or other academic positions, it is never too early to start preparing your written materials. However, applying for jobs can be a tedious and daunting task.

To help you in this process, here's a checklist of materials you may be required to submit:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Cover Letter 
  • Research Statement
  • Teaching Statement  
  • Diversity Statement
  • 3-4 Letters of Recommendation

[Image Description: Jennifer Aniston from Friends proudly proclaims, “I’m gonna go get one of those job things!”]

Pictured: Many of you are hitting the job market soon.

Below, I specifically discuss what reviewers are looking for in research, teaching, and diversity statements. I've also included some links to the Graduate Writing Center's online resources, which provide even more detailed advice. Academic job applications may be intimidating, but we're here to help you navigate the process!

[Image Description: Tim Meadows from Schooled pleads, “Teach me your horrible ways.”]

Pictured: Preparing job materials sometimes feels like a horrible process but is also necessary.

Research Statement

The purpose of a research statement is to summarize your previous research, current work, and future direction. This 1-2 page document shows a search committee that you are a serious scholar. It also helps reviewers get a sense of your professional identity and scholarly journey as well as assess your academic strengths and capabilities. In essence, your research statement should summarize your current interests, describe the direction you plan to pursue, and explicate how your work contributes to your field.

Teaching Statement

A 1-1.5 page teaching statement succinctly articulates how your teaching embodies a few key principles of student learning valued in your field. You should show a search committee that you satisfy the teaching needs for their department by offering a snapshot of your classroom experiences, a rationale for creating these experiences, and a summary of the positive outcomes of these experiences. Rather than telling the reviewers why you teach, you should show how you teach and reflect on how these approaches are effective. In other words, you need to support all key claims with evidence and stay away from generalizations.

Diversity Statement

The diversity statement demonstrates your personal and professional experiences, skills, and willingness to engage in activities that will enhance diversity and equity efforts at the target institution. You will want to discuss how your interactions/experiences (including your teaching, research, and institutional service experiences) with diverse groups of people has informed your approach to academia. Highlight how and why your experience(s) align with the diversity and equity goals of the department. Overall, be sure to ground your discussion using concrete evidence of your actions.  

Although you may not need all of the above items for every application, you will probably need most of these materials at some point during your academic job search. While it is a good idea to have versions of these materials prepared ahead of time, you will want to tailor them to the department for each individual application. You should also check-in with your advisor about discipline-specific materials. Keeping these tips in mind will help you make your documents as successful as possible to secure that dream job!

[Image Description: Conan O’Brien of Conan happily exclaims, “This is an amazing statement.”]

Pictured: You can create an amazing statement for your job application materials if you follow this advice.

For additional resources, please refer to the Graduate Writing Center’s website under the “Resources” menu. You may also want to sign-up for a one-on-one consultation with a tutor to get feedback on your drafts.