If you’re applying for jobs at a university, you need a cover letter that will make you stand out amongst all the other qualified candidates.
It’s key that you present yourself in a manner that will persuade the recruitment team to shortlist you for interview, and to help you impress, we’ve put together this detailed guide on how to write a standout cover letter.
We’ll share all our expert advice, along with some university cover letter examples to inspire you.
University cover letter example 1
University cover letter example 2
University cover letter example 3
These University cover letter examples provide you with some guidance and inspiration for writing a cover letter that gets noticed and ensures your CV will get opened.
But if you really want to master the art of writing a winning cover letter, then follow our step-by-step cove letter writing guide below.
How to write a University cover letter
A simple step-by-step guide to writing your very own winning cover letter.
Write your cover letter in the body of an email/message
Type the content of your cover letter directly into the email you are sending, or if you are applying via a job board, directly into their messaging system.
The reason for doing this it to ensure that your cover letter gets seen instantly and you can start connecting with the recruiter as soon as they open your message.
If you attach your cover letter as a separate document, the recipient will have to open up the document, which will slow the process down, or make them less likely to even open your cover letter – which could mean your application gets skipped over.
Start with a friendly greeting
To start building rapport with the recruiter or hiring manager right away, lead with a friendly greeting.
Try to strike a balance between professional and personable.
Go with something like…
- Hi [insert recruiter name]
- Hi [insert department/team name]
Stay away from old-fashioned greetings like “Dear sir/madam” unless applying to very formal companies – they can come across as cold and robotic.
How to find the contact’s name?
Addressing the recruitment contact by name is an excellent way to start building a strong relationship. If it is not listed in the job advert, try to uncover it via these methods.
- Check out the company website and look at their About page. If you see a hiring manager, HR person or internal recruiter, use their name. You could also try to figure out who would be your manager in the role and use their name.
- Head to LinkedIn, search for the company and scan through the list of employees. Most professionals are on LinkedIn these days, so this is a good bet.
Identify the role you are applying for
Once you’ve opened up the cover letter with a warm greeting to start building a relationship, it is time to identify which role you want to apply for.
Recruiters are often managing multiple vacancies, so you need to ensure you apply to the correct one.
Be very specific and use a reference number if you can find one.
- I am interested in applying for the position of *University position* with your company.
- I would like to apply for the role of Sales assistant (Ref: 406f57393)
- I would like to express my interest in the customer service vacancy within your retail department
- I saw your advert for a junior project manager on Reed and would like to apply for the role.
Highlight your suitability
The sole objective of your cover letter is to motivate recruiters into to opening your CV. And you achieve this by quickly explaining your suitability to the roles you are applying for.
Take a look at the job descriptions you are applying to, and make note of the most important skills and qualifications being asked for.
Then, when crafting your cover letter, make your suitability the central focus.
Explain why you are the best qualified candidate, and why you are so well suited to carry out the job.
This will give recruiters all the encouragement they need to open your CV and consider you for the job.
Keep it short and sharp
It is best to keep your cover letter brief if you want to ensure you hold the attention of busy recruiters and hiring managers. A lengthy cover letter will probably not get read in full, so keep yours to around 3-6 sentences and save the real detail for your CV.
Remember the purpose of your cover letter is to quickly get recruiters to notice you and encourage them to open your CV, so it only needs to include the highlights of your experience.
Sign off professionally
To finish off your cover note, add a professional signature to the bottom, stating your important contact details and information.
This not only provides recruiters with multiple means of contacting you, but it also adds a nice professional appearance to the cover letter, which shows that you know how to conduct yourself in the workplace.
Include the following points;
- A friendly sign off – e.g. “Warm regards”
- Your full name
- Phone number (one you can answer quickly)
- Email address
- Profession title
- Professional social network – e.g. LinkedIn
Here is an example signature;
Customer service professional
Quick tip: To save yourself from having to write your signature every time you send a job application, you can save it within your email drafts, or on a separate document that you could copy in.
What to include in your University cover letter
Your University cover letter will be unique to your situation, but there are certain content guidelines you should stick to for best results.
To attract and entice recruiters, stick with the following key subjects in your cover letter – adapting them to fit your profession and target jobs.
- Your professional experience – Employers will be keen to know if your experience is suitable for the job you are applying to, so provide a good summary of it in your cover letter.
- Your qualifications and education – Highlight your most relevant and high-level of qualification, especially if they are essential to the job.
- The positive impact you have made – Employers love to hear about the benefits you can bring to them, so shout about anything impressive you have done, such as saving money or improving processes.
- Your reasons for leaving – Use a few words of your cover letter to explain why you are leaving your current job and ensure you avoid any negative reasons.
- Your availability – Let recruiters know when you can start a new job. Are you immediately available, or do you have a month notice period?
University cover letter templates
Copy and paste these University cover letter templates to get a head start on your own.
I am excited to apply for the Lecturer position in the Politics Department at Sheffield University, bringing with me a wealth of experience and a passion for International Relations, Political Philosophy, and Critical Theory. With an MA and PhD from the University of Leeds and 6+ years of teaching experience, I possess the skills to design engaging lectures, mentor students, and conduct impactful research.
In my current role as Assistant Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, I have designed a popular course on the politics of identity and social movements, demonstrating my ability to innovate new and well-received modules. My research on the intersections of power, identity, and social movements was presented at the International Political Science Association Conference and published in the Journal of Politics. During my tenure as a Teaching Assistant, I introduced a seminar series on essay structure and technique, which received positive feedback and contributed to a significant 12% increase in exam scores. My dedication to fostering inclusive classrooms and research, as evidenced in my publications on intersectionality and politics of representation, aligns with the values of your department.
I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience to discuss how my qualifications and commitment to diversity and equity align with your department’s vision.
I hope you’re well. With a varied 30-year academic career and specialist experience in 18th-century literature, literary theory, and critical race studies, I am thrilled to apply for the position of Professor of English Literature at UCL.
Through my PhD research and 12+ years of teaching experience at The University of Manchester, I have honed my ability to design and deliver engaging lectures and seminars while effectively mentoring students. My original research on race and gender in 18th-century literature has garnered recognition from Lit Today and LHB Journal, including a successful research project on the reception of African American literature in the UK. My monograph on the same subject received acclaim in Women’s Writing Journal. In my previous role as Senior Lecturer, I designed a highly requested course on the history of the novel which attracted 65% of students in its first year, showcasing my innovative approach to course development. Additionally, in 2021 I organised an international conference on race and literature that attracted scholars from 38 countries and engaged 800 undergraduate students.
I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience to discuss how my qualifications and dedication can contribute to the progressive academic excellence at UCL.
I hope this email finds you well. With a 25+ year career at UCL, including a PhD in the history of women’s rights and the feminist movement, I am excited to apply for the esteemed position of Program Director, bringing with me a wealth of experience and dedication to advancing the field of Women’s History.
As the current Program Director of Women’s History at UCL, I successfully spearheaded the development of a new undergraduate program in Women’s History Studies, becoming the most popular history class in recent cohorts. I have also cultivated partnerships with external organisations, such as the British Library and the Tate, to create interpretive exhibits showcasing influential women throughout history. My dedication to fostering an inclusive learning environment is evident in my implementation of a 1-2-1 mentorship program for women interested in pursuing careers in history. My ability to design and deliver engaging curriculum materials, mentor students, and secure funding through grant proposals makes me the ideal candidate for this role.
I am available for an interview at your earliest convenience to discuss how my qualifications and commitment to advancing the study of Women’s History align with your institution’s mission.
Writing an impressive cover letter is a crucial step in landing a job working at a University, so taking the time to perfect it is well worth while.
By following the tips and examples above you will be able to create an eye-catching cover letter that will wow recruiters and ensure your CV gets read – leading to more job interviews for you.
Good luck with your job search!