Kia ora and welcome to cvapp.nz’s cover letter guide for academics! We’ll help you skyrocket your career potential and land your ideal job role. Whether you’re new to job-hunting or a seasoned job-seeker, we’ve got you covered. Read ahead for our top advice on how to create a winning cover letter for potential employers!
Formatting an impressive academic cover letter
When formatting an academic cover letter, employers will look for organised structure and appropriate design, layout and fonts. Generally speaking, excellent cover letters should incorporate the following six elements:
Cover Letter Header: Add Your Contact Details
Your cover letter header, or letterhead, should be at the top of your CV and include your name, address, telephone number and email address. You can also include any appropriate professional social media sites, such as LinkedIn or a link to any professional portfolios. If you have any websites that feature any of your professional or academic achievements, don’t be afraid to include these in the first section!
When drafting your cover letter, choose colour palettes and fonts that compliment the job role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a more formal, traditional position, such as a doctor or lawyer, you should stick to tidy fonts and muted colour palettes. For more modern and informal positions, such as jobs in IT, media or retail, you can express yourself a bit more freely with our creative cover letter templates. If you’re still not sure which layout is right for you, check out the resources on our website to read our top tips and advice for creating awesome, appropriate cover letters. We’ll help get you sorted!
Cover letter greeting: Personalise your cover letter
When creating your greeting, it’s important that potential employers are addressed respectfully. You can start your cover letter with greetings such as “Dear Mr. Ropata” or “Tena koe Ms. Shelford.” Avoid greetings that are informal or lack a personalised touch, such as “To whom it may concern.” Employers will feel a sense of recognition reading their names, so cover letters that have personalised touches are usually better received.
Cover letter introduction: Start off strong
Your first paragraph is one of the most important parts of your cover letter. Begin with a compelling introduction that emphasises your qualifications and any relevant work experience you can bring to the role. Lead with your accomplishments and highlight your strengths. You might also want to include your motivations for applying to the role in this first paragraph. Employers want to know why you’re a great fit, so don’t be shy! Lay out the red carpet for all your relevant achievements and work experiences.
Some employers like to know how many years of experience you may have within a field. For academics, scholars and students, we recommend mentioning your degree programme and any relevant educational achievements. When you’re done, your cover letter will look a little something like this:
Dear Professor Johnson,
Becoming a part-time MBA lecturer at Massey University is an idea that invigorates, energizes and enthuses me. After six remarkable years of teaching Commercial Law and Information Systems at The University of Auckland, I am now interested in consolidating my career in academia at another fantastic institution. In addition to many years of teaching at The University of Auckland, I have recently published a series of research papers that investigates how culture impacts business in a New Zealand context. It has been one of my most rewarding academic endeavours to date.
Cover letter body paragraph: Persuading your employer
The middle paragraph is often the most comprehensive paragraph in your cover letter. You’ll want to make sure that your writing is convincing and persuasive. Write about your work experiences, academic credentials and any relevant skills for the job role. You’ll want to be as specific as possible, so always try to include names of the institutions you’re affiliated with or have graduated from. Try to make your middle paragraph tailored to the institution that will receive your cover letter. This will help your cover letter sound more authentic. Here’s a great example of an excellent middle paragraph:
My MBA specialisations include Analytics Intelligence, Strategy & Negotiation and Finance. In addition to this, I have also taught courses on International Management and Financial Leadership. I believe in humanising business and democratising the business world so that important business principles are accessible to everyone. I am currently in the process of publishing my seventh research paper, "How Culture Can Elevate Financial Negotiations" and take great pride in sharing my findings and research in class with students. I would like to join Massey University to share my love of culture, business and education with students: our navigators of the future.
Please find attached a sample of my published works, including my research papers, and reviews from academics from across New Zealand. I truly enjoy my work as a lecturer and have had the great privilege of presenting my research at over 30+ events across New Zealand and Australia.
Cover letter ending: Leave a lasting impression
In the conclusion of your cover letter, it’s important to thank potential employers for their time and consideration. You should include an assertive call-to-action expressing your desire for an interview. You can check out examples of this in our cover letter templates in our builder! Let the recipient know that you appreciate their time. Call-to-action statements influence employers into reaching out to you. Great call-to-action statements include “I look forward to hearing from you soon,” or “You can contact me at [insert contact details].”
End your cover letter by expressing appreciation and use a formal goodbye such as “Ngā mihi” or “Kind regards.” A digital signature can be a nice, professional touch, however it’s not always necessary. Check out our conclusion example below:
I would love the opportunity of an interview and to speak with you in more detail in regards to this position. Thank you for your time.
Ngā mihi nui,
Epic cover letters are intentional
Writing a cover letter is a great way to create a positive, professional connection with potential employers. Don’t be afraid to mention your passions, your “why” or any relevant details that may have influenced your desire to apply for a role with the company. Don’t forget to present yourself as professional and friendly when you are writing your cover letter. If you ever get stuck, we’ve got plenty of great examples, templates and resources on our website. Karawhiua!