A grad student in Europe writes:
Now that I'm sitting down to put together some applications for philosophy job positions, it occurs to me that I don't know how to write a cover letter for the American job market. For example, for PhD positions it was natural to state the people I'd like to work with. But now that I have a PhD, is this still the norm? Because while I really would like to work with, and learn from, AAA and YYY, since I'm applying for a tenure track position, aren't I supposed to be something approximating to a finished article - ready to stand on my own and complement my colleagues? In this case, would it not be better just to state why my research would complement the research profile of the department? And if so, would I benefit or harm my case by observing that my research would fill a gap in the department's teaching profile? What would be the right combination of flattery and self-confidence?
Thoughts from readers?