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cover letter, genre, feedback, response, job market, graduate students, graduate mentors, search committees


As preparation for the rhetoric and composition job market becomes more readily available through multiple sources, some cover letter writers may find themselves confused by the well-meaning, but perhaps conflicting, responses to writing given by mentors from differing backgrounds, statuses, and epistemes. This article seeks to illuminate the rhetorical situation behind the cover letter with simulated writing responses to a genuine cover letter by five reader archetypes: a supportive reader, a critical reader, an outside reader, a teaching-centric reader, and a research-centric reader. Through this exercise, cover letter writers are shown how to weigh writing advice through the juxtaposition of each reader’s response. Cover letter readers as a secondary audience are also addressed with considerations for preparing future job market participants.

Anonymized Cover Letter (1).docx (19 kB)
Anonymized Cover Letter



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