I am in the process of writing a dissertation and applying for a host of positions (if I can use the word “host” for the amount that are available!). Now, I am aware of the general process–how to write a letter of application, how to decide who would serve as the best letter writers, etc.–but I am curious to get some insight from those who have gone through the process (either successfully or unsuccessfully . . . . I trust I can learn a great deal from both!).
Basically, and quite generally, there are a few questions I have (and feel free to add whatever else as well):
-are there particular do’s/don’ts that you found surprising? helpful? harmful? (i.e., emailing professors at the school to which you are applying and introducing yourself . . . . good idea? or not?)
-any specific experiences you are willing to share that were especially eye-opening?
-are there things that absolutely, without a doubt, MUST be in the application letter (and phrased a certain way), and things that have no place at all in such a letter?
Put simply, I am after any insights regarding this whole process. I understand it is highly subjective and political, but what may heighten one’s (read: my!) chances of getting an interview . . . . . and a job?