Cover Letters: Salutations

Yesterday I was asked by a graduate student about whom to address a cover letter to when a job listing has no specific person given as the recipient. Here is some practical advice that can help answer that question.

First, if no one’s name is listed, you can always call the secretary of the department to find out who the chair of the search committee is. However, it can be the case that the membership of the search committee has not been solidified at the time the job posting goes out, so you may not be able to get a name even if you try.

If a person’s name is listed: If you know that the person is a PhD, then use “Dear Dr. XXXXXXX,”. If you don’t know or if you are in doubt about it, use “Dear Professor XXXXXXX,”. A comma after the name is appropriate.

If a person’s name is not listed: Use “To the Search Committee:” or “To the Committee:”. A colon after the word “committee” is appropriate in this case.

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This entry was posted in Applying for Jobs, Job Search Process and tagged , , by Jane Alden Stevens. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jane Alden Stevens

Jane Alden Stevens is a photographer and educator who is Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the University of Cincinnati. An active artist, Stevens has exhibited and published her work extensively both in the US and abroad. She is the author of “Tears of Stone: World War I Remembered” (2004). In the course of her teaching career, Stevens taught courses in film, photography, and professional practices for fine artists. Her interest in teaching practices was deepened when she started teaching the "Graduate Teaching Workshop", a required graduate level course for fine artists and art historians that prepares them to teach the courses they will later be assigned. She was also involved in the Preparing Future Faculty program at the University of Cincinnati, which prepares masters and doctoral students across all programs for teaching at the university level. She has conducted pedagogy workshops for a variety of universities, as well as participated in academic practicum panels at educational conferences. The recipient of numerous teaching awards, Stevens was honored with the all-university Cohen Award for Excellence in University Teaching at the University of Cincinnati in 2002 and Professor of the Year honors in her college in 2011.

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