Canadian job application help
July 28, 2009 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Canadian academic position, what goes in each of the cover letter, CV, research and teaching statements?

I'm thinking in terms of content, level of detail in each, especially teaching and research statements, which are pretty foreign to me. Is it just detail or do they want stuff on top (e.g. mission statement style stuff)? Any advice appreciated.
posted by biffa to Education (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

You should ask a faculty member in your PhD department for advice. If your dept has a "placement director", this is what they're supposed to help you with. Also, try googling "academic job search". There's even a book called The Academic Job Search Handbook.
posted by kestrel251 at 1:44 PM on July 28, 2009

Sorry, I should make clear, I'm an established academic, just not in Canada and with no experience of the Canadian system.
posted by biffa at 2:28 PM on July 28, 2009

Academic jobs in your country don't require this stuff? Whoa, crazy. All this is standard in my field in both the US and (as you know) Canada.

I wouldn't presume to give you an answer that applies to all disciplines or all jobs. But in my field (physics/astronomy) I'd say most people I know tend to submit CVs that are sort of a page or two plus publications, cover letters that are about a page (or less), and research/teaching statements that are a few (3ish) pages.

I've seen wild variations in what's included in each of these things, though. Some people submit cover letters that are basically "hey, I'm applying for this job! here are the names of the people you can expect a letter from," while I've seen others that commented (briefly) on how great a match they'd be to the specific department, etc. Both can work (or at least, I can think of people who've done either and been hired).

For the research statement, some people go for a brief summary of everything they've done plus a taste of what's coming up in the next few years, while others focus almost entirely on what they are planning to do in the future. I tend to think that the summary of prior results is a little boring, insofar as it repeats information that can be found in your publication record, and should be used only to identify the major thrusts of your research -- but again, ymmv, and obviously if you are known for a few key results it wouldn't hurt to highlight those in an opening paragraph or two.

For the teaching statement, things have been even more all over the map -- but basically I would mention the subjects you feel competent to teach, together with a little bit about your approach to teaching, preferably demonstrated by examples from prior work. If you have any especially interesting ideas for new courses or approaches to existing ones, that could be welcome, too (depending on what kind of place you're applying to).

Good luck!
posted by chalkbored at 4:09 PM on July 28, 2009

Have you asked this on the Chronicle of Higher Ed Fora? Doing so would elicit more responses and more potentially useful replies given that you're not coming straight out of grad school.

FWIW, in my field what's good for the US is good for Canada, if that's of any help...
posted by ob at 4:10 PM on July 28, 2009

From what I've seen on the US side of things, US and Canadian cover letters & CVs are structured almost identically.

But what's your field? Expectations will differ accordingly.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:01 PM on July 28, 2009

Canadian schools will be more familiar with UK academic nomenclature than will American ones... but the structure of a CV (for example) would be exactly the same for your average Canadian and American academic. That said, again, you won't have to translate "lecturer" or whatever for a Canadian job.

The Canadian equivalent of the Chronicle of Higher Ed is called University Affairs; this part might be of some help to you.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 7:10 PM on July 28, 2009

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