I’m applying to an assistant professor position at a private institution

  • Official application (contact info, criminal background statements, employment records, etc.)
  • Instructing statement
  • Cover letter

Should all of these be printed on fancy paper? My feeling is that all except the official application should be, but at the same time that might make the relatively flimsy paper stand out.

The applications materials are being mailed directly to the chair of the department, and it is a very puny department. There are only one or two other faculty.

asked Mar 17 ’15 at 22:08

These days, it's increasingly likely that your application documents will instantly be scanned and the originals discarded. In which case, nobody will be amazed by your fancy paper except possibly the office worker who does the scanning. Of course, it's also increasingly common that applications are rigorously electronic, so maybe this employer is a holdout. – Nate Eldredge Mar Eighteen ’15 at 1:39

Trio Answers

Above some minimum quality threshold (like, it’s actually a chunk of paper that is harshly a uniform white), the fanciness of the paper has had no bearing on any hiring decision that I’ve been a part of.

Since most people use electronic documents these days, if you’re dealing with somebody who actually wants paper, it’s likely they’ll appreciate your fancy paper. Print whatever you’d appreciate having on fancy paper (not worrying about expense, since it’s just one packet for a long-term position) and you’ll be fine.

If, on the other mitt, you’ve got a choice or electronic or physical, you should overlook your fancy paper and send an electronic packet. The physical subordination option is only kept by many organizations as a fallback for odd exception cases.

answered Mar Legal ’15 at 12:15

I believe some departments require paper applications not because they like paper, but because they think the extra time and expense of preparing a paper application will ensure that they only get applications from serious applicants, thus reducing the time they have to spend reviewing them. But in such a case, they might instantaneously digitize applications upon receipt, and throw away the fancy paper. – Nate Eldredge Mar Eighteen ’15 at 14:45

Any advantage or act that you perceive will build up you an advantage is worth doing, as long as it isn’t unethical/against the law/etc. It might not impress anyone, or just the secretary who scans it, but it won’t hurt either in those cases. A excellent application that is effortless to read and on which somebody has obviously sweated the details is always a plus in my book, it shows that you care and that you pay decent attention to detail.

That said, other details are much more significant than which paper you use, such as your prior practice, letters of recommendation, existing work and no spelling mistakes(!). Don’t stress it too much.

answered Mar Legitimate ’15 at 9:33

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