I am applying for a tenure-track position at my current academic institution. Presently, I am a Visiting Assistant Professor, but I have enjoyed my time at the university so much that I have decided to seek a more permanent position there.
I have several questions about what is appropriate / "best practice" in this situation, but perhaps those can be answered in the context of the primary goal of this post. Explicitly, my question is as follows.
How does one write an effective cover letter that is addressed to one's own department chair?
I find that my initial instinct is to write as if I have no knowledge of this person: I would introduce myself in the letter as if I were a complete stranger to the chair of the search committee and the other members; however, this seems to disregard the inherent advantage I have in that the members of the search committee have plenty of experience working with me. Consequently, I fear that to ignore the existing relationships between the committee members and me would lead to wasted space on the cover letter. (Who wants to read a paragraph of background information they already know?)
Ultimately, I am seeking advice on how best to leverage my current role in the department in the context of writing a cover letter. I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, or observations on how to tactfully use my connections.