Like any application packet, the postdoc application should present a coherent portrait of you as a potential colleague and postdoc.
The average postdoc application will include some or all of the following materials:
Postdoc Cover Letter
The job letter or letter of interest for a postdoc application is similar to the academic job letter (see the Academic Statements Guide).
The cover letter should be on letterhead of your department or institution, with one inch margins. Font should be Times New Roman, Garamond, or other standard font, at 12pt. If no length guidelines are given, you probably have two sides, but refer to the application instructions.
Following the academic job letter guide, in the second project paragraph, give your detailed research and publication plan for the duration of the postdoc. If the postdoc involves teaching, you will retain a brief teaching paragraph, but you will include a longer discussion of your proposed course. If teaching is not involved, you may choose to include a brief teaching paragraph or not, as seems good to you.
Instead of the “fit” or “tailoring” paragraph, discuss how you will use the postdoc to write and research, and how you will participate in the scholarly community of the campus. Remember that tailoring is key: you must reframe your past work to fit the topic of the postdoc. Be aware that you are being considered solely on how you will be able to fulfil the topic of the postdoc and how you will incorporate that work into your participation in the departmental and campus community.
The research proposal should be on plain paper, with one inch margins. Font should be Times New Roman, Garamond, or other standard font, at 12pt. If no length guidelines are given, you should assume you have one side.
Your introduction should explicitly cover the importance of your project. Use the remainder of the research proposal to discuss a concrete and attainable timeline and plan of work. Focus on the publication plan for this project, and conclude by discussing how the postdoc fits into your larger research trajectory and career plan.
The course proposal should be on plain paper, with one inch margins. Font should be Times New Roman, Garamond, or other standard font, at 12pt. If no length guidelines are given, you should assume you have one side.
Propose a course that is neither so general that anyone could teach it, nor so minutely focused that no student will sign up for it. Tailor the course to both your specific research and the topic of the postdoc. Ideally this course should be timely, rigorous, original, and something that no one but you can offer or do justice to. The course proposal instructions may require that you write a title and catalog description, a proposed syllabus, and perhaps a justification. For the proposed syllabus, make sure you are designing the course around the correct number of weeks of term for your target institution. For the justification, be ready to demonstrate the usefulness of the course in terms of filling a gap in the department catalog, or updating a course previously offered.
Statement of Participation
The statement of participation should be on plain paper, with one inch margins. Font should be Times New Roman, Garamond, or other standard font, at 12pt. If no length guidelines are given, you should assume you have one side.
This statement, if required, is intended to demonstrate that you will be active in your department and on campus while you are there, rather than disappearing into your office, locking the door, and writing your book. You will participate in the life of the department and the scholarly community in concrete ways that you outline based on your careful research into your target department and institution. Consider campus programming or initiatives you’d like to contribute to, or faculty you might collaborate with, and indicate your interest in conferences, campus talks, symposia, speaker series etc.