I am applying for a faculty position. I am very familiar with the works of two professors in that department and we share similar research interests; Also, I have them cited in my articles. As I'm writing the supporting statement, do you think is it okay to mention how my interests align with those of these professors (mentioning their names)? stating something along the line of : my research interests are in alignment with those of Professor A and B.


3 Answers 3


There's nothing wrong with mentioning that.

However, you should be careful in which way you mention it, and how much weight you assign to it.

First and foremost, you should make clear that your research aligns with the advertisement, in case it is specific about the profile sought for.

Then, you should take into account that there are two competing interests when hiring people: First, the department might want to strengthen a certain research area, which maybe is, or should become, a focus area of the department. Second, the department likely wants to complement existing expertise in the field.

So it really depends both on what the profile of the position is, and whether the idea is that the position should strengthen or complement existing expertise in the field - likely, a mixture of both. Part of this might become more clear from the advertisement.

So I'd say, make clear where you see synergies with people in the department, but also make clear how your expertise differs from theirs (complements it). Saying "my research interests are in alignment with" certainly does not convey the latter.

Keep in mind: Why should they hire someone who does exactly the same as the people they already have (unless that person retires soon, or they really want to strengthen some very specific area)? Even if they want to strenghten the field (in which case your alignment with their research already follows from the fact that you are a fit for the advertisement), it will be important that you bring in new aspects.


I think writing that is fairly common. I would also recommend separately emailing the professors, saying something like, “Dear X, I wanted to let you know I applied for position Y, and would very much enjoy the opportunity to work with you.” You never know if one of them may end up being on the hiring committee, and even if not, they may have a vote in the end, or they may feel inclined to mention to the committee they’d be interested in working with you too.


Don't be too quick to assume that those other professors are doing great, as you may be interviewing for their positions and as a replacement. Stand for your own research and views. Show them what lead you to those concolusions so you can share how you think and that you can solve com

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