Dear Dr. __________A paragraph follows here that outlines the boring details of what went on during campus visits, and the difficulties involved in their final decision, ... as if it matters to me. Then he closes with:
... Let me thank you personally for your interest in this position. The competition was enormous*, since so many of our applicants had such outstanding credentials. After long study of the numerous applications by our search committee**, we selected the three applicants we agreed were best***.
Again, many thanks for your interest in our program. Good luck in your continuing search for a teaching position. You should have little trouble, since your credentials are so excellent.* This is actually quite funny, since the chair of the committee had earlier informed me via email that they had a mere 45 applicants for the post, which is measly in terms of most postings.
** Get on with it already. I don't care how much effort you put into it. It's not like it doesn't take time to write FIFTY application letters!
*** Not best fit, or best according to these specific criteria, mind you. Just the best.
Today, brought a rather more interesting one, from one of my more more highly prized postings:
Dear Colleague*:A paragraph (in fact the longest in the letter) follows describing the successful candidate's dissertation, and area of research specialization, and how it will expand existing areas, and forge new interdisciplinary avenues at their institution. I must admit, it's nice that they are that enthusiastic about the person they hired.
Thank you for your interest in joining our department and for providing us with the information and references requested in our announcement for two faculty positions.
While we received nearly two hundred applications**, we reviewed your materials carefully. We were impressed with the overall quality of the work being done in [Field1] research, and of the opportunities for younger members of the discipline to engage in scholarly exchange with other colleagues through conferences and publications***.
We are pleased to announce the appointment of ____ ____ to our position in [Subdiscipline].
Then, the letter closes:
The search for the other position has been continued. We hope you will consider reapplying when we distribute a revised position announcement next year.* That's a nice start.
** See what I mean?
*** Okay, this could be seen as a bit condescending... but then, hey, I'll take it in stride.
Interesting. From the comments I've gotten in the past, that committees often draft different letters for different stages in the search, I'll take this as genuine sentiment. Of course, I realize that I was not among the top three or four who were invited to campus. But, it was a thoughtful letter. As disappointing as they all are. But thoughtful nonetheless.
So, that was the latest.