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I am in the process of preparing various applications for postdoctoral positions in the US, and I need advice on what is the appropriate way to include contact information on my cover letters and CVs.

Presently, I am an international student studying in Australia. I foresee completing my PhD program (including conferral of the degree) by the end of Jan. 2017. Most of my applications will be lodged through the MathJobs system by early Dec. 2016. My Visa expires at the end of Feb. 2017, and I'm not sure if I can get a visa extension. Meanwhile, my current lease agreement terminates mid-Jan 2016. As you can see, there is a fair amount of uncertainty about my situation next year.

I have always thought that the purpose of writing addresses on any document is not primarily based on the desired affiliation with an institution but so that the recipient of the letter knows whom to reply to. However, and I might be wrong in this, it seems to me that putting your home address in your cover letter and/or CV, as opposed to your current departmental address, is deemed unprofessional. Bear in mind, though, that upon submission of my thesis, I am effectively no longer a student at the university, and hence, I think it somewhat dishonest to use the Maths department address for my mail. By the way, I expect to submit my thesis around mid-October.

So my first question is: Is it considered unprofessional to put my home address as opposed to my institution address on my CVs and cover letters?

My second question is: In light of my situation and the answer to the first question, what is the best way to address my cover letters and CVs?

I understand that I can update my application materials through MathJobs. Thus far, my plan is to use institution addresses (with a c/o Secretary of the Mathematics Department) throughout and then update forwarding addresses through MathJobs as things become more certain. What do you think?

1 Answer 1

As you probably know, your communication with search committees will almost certainly be via email until late in the process. So as long as you use an email address that you will retain access to through the spring, there's not much chance of a communication breakdown.

In fact, you would probably be fine not listing a physical address at all. But since it looks slightly weird not to have a mailing address, go ahead and use your address at your current institution. You will still officially be a student there at the time the applications are submitted, so there's nothing even arguably improper.