106

So, you put it on your CV, the future employer does what employers do and phones the institution to check details of awards, years etc. BOOM - the institution does not confirm you were "top of the class" as that is just not done. Now the future employer is confused - what else may be wrong on your CV AND your referee is pissed at you as well. Do you ...


55

I have never seen a photo on CV to be a requirement (although the fact that is included in parenthesis might implicitly mean that is optional?) My interaction with colleagues in Europe (especially Germany) seems to suggest that this is a relatively common requirement, or at least a default expectation for what is a "complete" CV that they may feel the need ...


52

No. It is you as a person who is applying, not you as a representative for your university. Univ. Y would probably look very negatively on an application on such lerterhead, as would Univ. X. Letterheads are intended for your official business of your position at X as teacher, researcher etc. Applying for a job or for example writing somewhere for your ...


45

Because it's a cover letter, I think it's quite natural that you say a lot about you in it. That's actually not to be avoided, because you want to give the addressee a good idea of your background, your motivations, your interests, etc. In short, you want to show them who you are, so they want to work with you. This is a totally different exercise than usual ...


38

There are many reasons why people choose to go to one program over the other. While there might be some thin-skinned people, I don't think that should lead you to rule out applying. Since applying to a job at a school is minimal cost to you, you should go ahead and do it. Much more likely is that the only person who remembers is the person who would have ...


36

I see no ethical problems with this whatsoever. One has to understand most academic ethical principles through the lens of academic society. In particular the belief that academic writing should be solely that of the author unless otherwise scrupulously documented is not an absolute ethical principle but a belief and expectation of practicing academics ...


31

There's plenty of examples on the Web of the basic format a cover letter should take. There's a good template here on page 23 from Harvard. (Make sure to do it in TeX if applying for a math or comp. sci. PhD.) Otherwise, my own personal advice ... What not to do The most common mistake I have found in cover letters is that they are too generic. Either ...


31

I personally side with Peter Jansson on this one (do not use an institutional letterhead if you're not conducting business on behalf of your institution), but you will have to note that this position is not universally shared. I cite only one example, of somewhat high-profile blogger/consultant, who says: Your letter must be on letterhead if you have a ...


29

I address all cover letters, letters of rec, etc. "Dear Committee Members:" Don't waste your time addressing it to an individual. The only thing you can achieve by doing that is embarrassing yourself and giving the search committee the chance to have a good laugh at your expense. If you do it correctly, it doesn't actually achieve anything; why give ...


29

This is not uncommon when you have a large pool of applicants, because makes it easier to identify you vs other candidates. It is likely that this approach has been adopted for all recruitment at this institution, in a one size fits all strategy rather than specifically for this post. Some people remember faces better than names, so having both available ...


29

I think that it would be unwise to include a copy of an offer in another application. But whether you inform them of the existence of an offer is a bit more subtle. I doubt that anyone will rush to hire you just because you have another offer. They will evaluate you on other things as usual. So, at best, mentioning the offer initially gets you nothing. ...


26

As someone who actually has experience chairing a postdoctoral hiring committee in math in the US (maybe F'x has? s/he is an international wo/man of mystery...), I think the answer is "it's unclear." I think there's no question that mentioning your spousal situation in connection with a job will increase the probability of you both getting jobs and decrease ...


26

In many countries (UK, US) it's very unusual and possibly illegal to request a photo on a CV and it's very rare that people put one spontaneously. In Switzerland however, it's still pretty much standard. While there is growing criticism about the obvious bias issues associated with that practice, I'm not surprised to still see that requirement in ...


25

In the U.S. mathematics departments I'm familiar with, writing "Ph.D." after your name would not be disastrous, but it would be a bad idea. It can look insecure, like you are worried readers will assume you don't have a Ph.D. if you don't remind them frequently, or pompous, like you feel having a Ph.D. is an important distinction that must be emphasized, ...


24

For many jobs, willingness to keep confidential information confidential is essential, far more important than class rank. If a potential employer finds out during a background check that you disclosed something you were told in confidence, you may lose the job regardless of how well you did in class. Class rank is not something I would have cared much ...


20

Use the plural when referring to the paper and its content. No exceptions. "Our paper", "we used", etc. I have never seen a multi-author paper referred to with the singular. Readers will either think that it is a mistake, or that you are referring to a different solo paper; if they realize it is intentional it will come across as extremely arrogant and ...


19

I would ask a senior person in your field. In my experience in mathematics in the US, no one gives a flying flip how you format your cover letter; in all likelihood, no one will read it. Using department stationary is common, though far from universal and I don't think affects anyone's thinking one way or the other. I don't think this advice is ...


19

To be blunt and clear, if anyone had done this on any of the previous hiring committees I have been on, we would have rejected them instantly. They would not have even been long-listed, let alone short listed. Having another job offer is not a reason for anyone to hire you. Indeed, it indicated a number of negative things: You are the sort of person who ...


18

(1) For the cover letter, should it end by saying something, In my experience (~10 years on hiring committees, starting my second year as hiring committee chair), almost nobody will read your cover letter. If you have something to say about your research, say it in your research statement. If you have something to say about your teaching, say it in your ...


18

Several countries in Europe do this, although it is becoming less common due to the obvious problems with bias, so you should not treat it as an extraordinary request. What will happen if you do not do it is hard to predict, but may range from nothing to your CV simply being binned. My advice is to proceed as if failing to provide it will result in your ...


17

Signs of professional maturity in a researcher: Having written and administered a grant proposal Having been invited to sit on a review panel Having been an invited speaker Having guided or mentored students Having organized a conference session Having published a review paper


15

This is not bad. I did this exact thing. Hopefully they remember the application and the good things they thought about you! I had personally met with someone that I wanted to be my advisor for my PhD and then ended up going somewhere else for my PhD. Five years later, I explicitly asked the person I turned down to be my PhD advisor to be my Postdoc sponsor ...


14

I think the advice that applies to tenure-track applicants also pertains to postdoc applicants. Employers aren't allowed to ask about two-body problems in terms of interviewing and hiring candidates. There's no need to force the issue ahead of time. If you get an offer, then you can discuss the two-body problem. Otherwise, I wouldn't make an issue of it ...


14

No you may not. The use of an official letterhead implies not only a current affiliation with the university, but it some countries and contexts also implies that the correspondence is for official purposes. Each university has it's own rules and policies, but I would be shocked if your university would consider this acceptable, and both universities that I ...


13

I'd not risk it: you have more to loose by mentioning it than to gain. It seems fairly unlikely that this would be a motivating factor for the department to offer you both a position, but it could be interpreted badly (such as “I won't come if you don't offer us both a job”). This answer is not based on personal experience with US post-doc committees, but ...


13

Personally, I think your sentence fragments all suggest both a lack of evidence and a lack of confidence. But more importantly, I think you're simply asking the wrong question. Instead of focusing on the detailed language of your cover letter, focus on the content. Who are you? What have you done? What makes you an asset to your target departments? ...


13

JeffE has given an excellent answer, but I want to give a slightly differing viewpoint on the purpose of the cover letter, which will address items (1) and (2) in the question. It will take a few paragraphs to motivate the answer; the summary is "Use the cover letter as an opportunity to show you are genuinely interested in the school." Two important ...


13

Since I am looking at tenure track cover letters in mathematics anyway, I just opened 12 of them, more or less at random, to gather statistics on this point. Of these letters: Nine are signed Firstname Lastname Two are signed Firstname Lastname PhD. One is signed Dr. Firstname Lastname The minority three had at least some of their schooling outside of the ...


13

From the admissions perspective, it shows dedication but also chutzpah in a bad way. Many competitive programs have an admissions rate between 5-20%. Even if you are a strong candidate, it is not guaranteed that you will get in anywhere this year. This is why you have to apply to multiple programs as well as have a backup plan if you don't get in anywhere. ...


12

I'd say that given a single typo is enough to get your resume thrown out, it would be extraordinarily unprofessional NOT to have your work proofread. That said, after crazy numbers of people had commented on and proofread mine, I realized that I'd had "DBMS" written as "BDSM" for about two years. Nobody had caught it :(


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