Biocurious is a weblog about biology, quantified.

Covering cover letters

by PhilipJ on 2 October 2007

YoungFemaleScientist asks:

Anybody have any suggestions for

a) How to get revved up to self-promote? Do you listen to the theme from Rocky? What works for you?

b) What’s the most important thing to get across in a cover letter?

You’d think there would be a 10 Simple Rules article on this, but somehow there isn’t.

Having just done a round of cover letters when applying for my PhD position, I’d also like to ask those who are a couple of steps ahead: What differentiated your post-doc and/or faculty cover letters with those from grad school? For faculty searches your teaching experience comes into play, but are there any other tips or tricks we should all know about?



  1. John Dennehy    3429 days ago    #

    A piece of advice I heard several times when applying for faculty jobs is to mention faculty who have similar interests to your own. I found evidence that this important in job interviews where I was asked about the potential for collaboration within the department.


  2. Larry Moran    3429 days ago    #

    In my field (biochemistry/molecular biology) the job search is very competitive. Most of the time the candidates on our short list will be on many other short lists as well. We don’t want to waste our time on candidates who have no interest in coming to our city if they have other offers.

    One of the things that always attracts our attention is when candidates explain why they find our city (Toronto) attractive and why they would seriously consider choosing us over someplace else. This could be because they have friends or relatives here or because of the research environment.

    It’s a good thing to keep this in mind when you write a covering letter. Tell them why you want to move to their city.


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