If you aspire to be an adjunct professor, don’t believe for a minute that saying about “those who can’t do, teach.” Colleges and universities prize teaching experience, but they also aspire to hire adjuncts who bring “real-world experience” to the classroom to round out the theoretical and research strengths of full-time professors. If you can encapsulate both your teaching and professional experience in a cover letter and exhibit a genuine enthusiasm for teaching, you should open the door to an interview and, ultimately, an adjunct position.
1. Compile a list of colleges and universities in your area and, from there, a list of the people who head departments that are most closely aligned with your field of study. Most colleges and universities require that you possess at master’s degree to become an adjunct, and accreditation rules often require that adjuncts stay within their discipline. In other words, if you have a master of business administration degree, you may be highly qualified to teach a number of MBA courses but would be ineligible to teach graphic design, no matter how skilled you may be after years of self-study and practice.
2. Open your letter with a straightforward but enthusiastic declaration of who you are and the adjunct position you seek. Accentuate in which pursuit you have the most experience, professional or educational. For example, you might say: “I am a full-time marketing consultant with 15 years of professional experience and two semesters of teaching experience who would love to share my knowledge of the industry by joining the adjunct faculty at … starting in the fall semester.”
3. Follow an orderly progression of ideas in the second -- and perhaps third -- paragraphs. In this example, you would provide highlights from your professional experience first. Include the positions you have held and the companies you have worked for. Underscore your accomplishments, any industry awards you have won and any other professional “claims to fame.” Allude to your master’s degree in this section, perhaps in the form of a clause: “I supervised a staff of 14 people in this executive position until 2010, when I left to earn an MBA from ABC University.”
4. Cite the courses you have taught and where you taught them. Be sure to include the full names of the courses rather than simply “business” or “marketing”; specificity will help the department head get an idea of where you might fit in. Mention any positive teaching evaluations, if you have them. If you do not have teaching experience, explain why you believe you would make a good instructor. Be honest and sincere, and not only because you probably will be asked this question in an interview. Maybe you have led training seminars at work and were buoyed by the experience and the positive feedback you received. Or maybe you finally have the time to indulge an interest you’ve harbored since your undergraduate days. Whatever you say, be sure to be genuine and express why you enjoy teaching or why you believe it would be a natural fit for you.
5. Focus on your personal qualities and attributes in the next paragraph, being sure they paint a picture of the type of instructor you are or aspire to be. You might say, for example, that you work hard to (or see the value in) bringing real-world problems and issues to the classroom. Or you might focus on your enthusiasm and engaging personality, saying that you believe students learn best when they actively participate in class discussions and projects. Invoke third-party sources as a prompt for the department to call upon the references you should include with your cover letter.
6. Close the letter with a pledge to follow up within a few days. Thank the department head for her time and consideration.
- Even though an adjunct position may not be advertised, it may be in your best interest to send a letter anyway since turnover tends to be high and openings can occur at any time, especially right before the beginning of a term.
- Be sure to keep track of the academic calendars at the colleges and universities you apply to and call the respective department heads a week before classes begin. This crucial period is often when openings occur, and your ability to “save the day” by filling a teaching slot may put you in good stead at the college or university.
- Don’t count yourself out of competition for an adjunct position if you lack prior teaching experience. Professional work experience and a passion for teaching tend to be more important.
- Be prepared to accept a course that is offered at less than an ideal time, such as first thing in the morning or for four hours on a Saturday, if you really want to teach. Full-time professors almost always get first pick at courses, then regular adjuncts and then new adjuncts.
About the Author
With education, health care and small business marketing as her core interests, M.T. Wroblewski has penned pieces for Woman's Day, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and many newspapers and magazines. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University.
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Cover letters are crucial when it comes to submitting an application for a new job. A poorly written one can hurt your chances of getting a job offer while a powerful adjunct professor cover letter can help you appear more qualified than all the other candidates. It can land you an interview when you present your industry-specific and relevant accomplishments, experience, and skills. For practical tips on drafting an outstanding letter, read through this free adjunct professor cover letter sample and follow the helpful suggestions given afterward.
Free Adjunct Professor Cover Letter Sample
Dear Mr. Dunn,
As a highly enthusiastic individual with hands-on teaching experience, I am positive that I have much to contribute to the success of Downtown University. My natural flair for helping students meet their educational goals and career aspirations is an asset all of my students appreciate.
My extensive teaching experience pairs wells with a proven track record of consistently enhancing the GPAs of my students. I was able to achieve success through the initiation of contemporary teaching approaches and integration of innovative technologies. I am eager to contribute similar success models to your mission.
I have expertise in classroom management, lesson planning, and implementation. I also am adept at assessing and grading students’ progress with a full command on various disciplines. I firmly believe that my subject knowledge coupled with a profound ability to develop innovative and contemporary lesson plans will be very useful.
My attached resume further details my relevant professional accomplishments in the role of adjunct professor. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon.
What to Include in an Adjunct Professor Cover Letter
Here are a few essential tips to help you take your cover letter based on this free adjunct professor cover letter sample to the next level. To begin with, make sure to maintain a professional tone throughout the four-paragraph letter and avoid clichés. Also, get into the specifics of why you are the best fit for the job and reference the job description. Finally, make sure to summarize your information, ask the hiring manager to review your resume, and express gratitude in your conclusion.
Industry Specific Skills to Include
Tailor your cover letter to introduce information associated with the position. The following characteristics can be helpful when you are applying for an adjunct professor job, and you should add them to the ideas presented in the free adjunct professor cover letter sample above.
• Writing skills: Most adjunct professors need writing proficiency to publish original observations and research.
• Critical-thinking: To challenge grounded beliefs and theories, conduct initial investigations, and design experiments, adjunct professors need excellent critical-thinking skills.
• Interpersonal: You need to interact well with others and have outstanding communication skills for giving lectures and serving on committees.
• Speaking skills: As an adjunct professor, you need to possess an exceptional talent for articulation.