How to Write a Great Postdoc Cover Letter

While a good cover letter makes an explicit connection between how your past experience will help you succeed in the postdoc position, a great cover letter sparks the PI’s interest and ensures they read your CV. Here are some tips to make sure your cover letter is a great one.

Before you start writing, learn as much as you can about the position and the lab. Do some research on the department’s website and talk to your mentors about the group. It’s also a good idea to take a look at their recent papers to familiarize yourself with the kind of work they do. Once you have a good understanding of the position and group, you can determine which of your qualifications would be most applicable. Be sure to emphasize them in your cover letter.

The Cover Letter Format

A cover letter starts like a formal letter with the date at the top followed by the name and work address of the job poster. This is followed by the salutation. For a postdoc position, you will often be addressing your letter to the PI. However, if it is not clear from the advertisement who the job poster is, you can always address the letter to “members of the search committee).

The Introduction

The opening paragraph should explain why you are writing this letter. Indicate the specific position you are applying for and where you saw it advertised. If another professor at the university or someone the PI knows suggested that you apply for the position, mention it here. Follow it up with a short description of yourself that will allow the reader to place you academically. This could be something like “I am in the final year of my PhD in (field) at (name of university) and will be graduating/defending/finishing in (month). My dissertation is titled (title) and is supervised by Professor (name)”.

The Body Paragraphs

The bulk of your cover letter will be spent demonstrating how you are the right candidate for this postdoc by highlighting your qualifications and showing how they will benefit this specific project. One of the biggest mistakes you make is not tailoring this section to each position you apply for.

In a postdoc cover letter, it is common to dedicate one paragraph to your dissertation or current research project. Summarize your research topic, your key findings or arguments and why they matter to the field.

Now, this next step is important: you must translate your dissertation and previous research to the postdoc project. What expertise will you bring to the project by virtue of your past research that no one else can? Give specific examples that show you understand the proposed projects. Work in reference to you major awards and accomplishments while doing so. Depending on the requirements of the position, it might also be relevant to discuss your teaching experience here. Remember, the theme throughout the body paragraphs should be how your research experience will make this postdoc project successful.

The Final Paragraph

This last paragraph covers some job applicant formalities. In it, you should write that you have attached your CV and other necessary documents in your application. Mention that you look forward to hearing from them and are available to discuss the position further in an interview. Finally, thank them for their consideration before signing off.

Get Feedback

Once you have written your postdoc cover letter, ask your supervisor or a mentor to review it for you. They are likely to have had some experience hiring and will be able to make valuable suggestions from the other side of the table. They can also check that your cover letter is formatted according to the conventions of your field.

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cover letter example postdoc

How to write a killer cover letter for a postdoctoral application

Bill Sullivan

Many graduate students applying for their first postdoctoral positions underestimate the importance of the cover letter. While it may be true that your awesomeness is beautifully outlined on your curriculum vitae, your cover letter often will dictate whether the busy principal investigator puts your application at the top of the heaping pile or into triage.

First impressions are everything for some people, so leave nothing to chance. If you provide only your CV, you aren’t being very personable, and you lose a precious opportunity to highlight some things that make you stand out. On the other hand, a cover letter is also an opportunity to shoot yourself in the foot, so here are a few do’s and don’ts.

A few do's

Start off right. Address your potential future PI properly, as “Dr. (insert surname here).” If you begin your letter with “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern,” your application could be dismissed as generic and untailored for the position. A letter that appears to come off an assembly line is likely to ride directly into the trash bin. If you do not invest the time to learn about the PI and his or her research, then the PI is not likely to invest the time to read your application.

After the salutation, the first statement should be a formality that states why you are writing to the PI. It is important to respect how hectic a day in the life of a PI can be, so get right to the point — something like, “I am applying for the postdoctoral position available in your laboratory that was recently advertised (where).”

The second sentence should specify your current position, place of work and mentor. If you are not immediately available for hire, it is useful to mention when you will be able to start. End the first paragraph with just one or two concise sentences that hint at why you are the ideal candidate for the position — you will expand on these points next.

In the second paragraph, elaborate on why you should be considered for the postdoc — not just any postdoc, mind you, but this particular postdoc in this particular lab. Yes, it is infinitely easier to use the same cover letter for the dozens of postdoctoral positions for which you are applying, but that is not going to cut it. These uniform letters are easy to detect and usually dismissed as lazy and insincere. If you fail to convince the PI that you are taking the postdoc search seriously, then the PI is not likely to take you seriously. It is essential that you customize your letter, emphasizing how your background is aligned to the PI’s studies and the specifics called for in the advertisement. Consider this the first demonstration to your future PI that you are resourceful and thoughtful — if you fail to do your homework, it does not build confidence that you will be diligent with your project. Equally important to convincing the PI that you have the right stuff is conveying your excitement for learning something special that is studied by his or her lab. Strive to balance what you would give to the lab and what you would gain from it.

In paragraph three, it is time to brag about a few key achievements, such as your most important paper or two, a grant or fellowship, or other notable honors (an award-winning presentation at a conference, for example). You also can briefly mention that you have experience training more junior people if that is the case. But don’t give a laundry list of every minor award — that is why you submit a CV. The cover letter is the trailer, and your CV is the movie.

End your cover letter with the same professionalism you used at the opening. Thank the PI for his or her time and consideration. Be sure to provide your contact information and state that you look forward to hearing from him or her. Everything discussed above should fit onto a single page — 1 ½ pages at most.  

A few don'ts

There are a number of important don’ts that apply to cover letters. Things that might seem trivial to you actually can be turnoffs. Use plain email stationary free of distracting backgrounds or pictures. Choose a font that is not too big, not too small, not in color, definitely not comic sans and NOT IN CAPS. A plain, boring font like 12-point Arial or Helvetica is easy on the sore eyes of a PI struggling to read the 87th postdoc application. At midnight. After struggling with an online manuscript submission. I can hear the chorus of nonconformists arguing that unconventional fonts and graphics make their applications stand out. Of course it does, but I contend that it is a gamble to present yourself in this manner. If you have the goods, you don’t need the glam.

Some applicants waste valuable sentences describing how they “deeply admire” the “esteemed” laboratory or how they always dreamed about working with the PI. When the cover letter is heavy on flattery, the applicant usually is light on talent or productivity. If your cover letter contains significant blocks of text copied straight from the advertisement, you may be construed as someone with poor language skills or unable to paraphrase. It should go without saying that spelling and grammatical mistakes are inexcusable and often taken as a sign of laziness and carelessness — two of the worst attributes a scientist could possess. Finally, avoid slang and attempts at humor, and do not end your sentences with an exclamation point!

I hope these tips help you land that perfect postdoctoral position.

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Bill Sullivan is a professor at Indiana University School of Medicine and the author of several books.

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cover letter example postdoc

Postdoc Cover Letter Example

cover letter example postdoc

Written by Mark DeGrasso

May 4, 2023.

A postdoctoral position is an excellent opportunity for early-career scientists to develop their research skills and make significant contributions to their chosen field. However, before securing a postdoc position, you must write a compelling postdoc cover letter that captures the attention of potential employers. In this article, we will discuss the essential components of an effective postdoc cover letter, common mistakes to avoid, and provide an example to guide you in crafting a cover letter that will help you stand out in the fierce competition.

What Employers Look for In A Postdoc Cover Letter

Postdoctoral positions are highly competitive, and employers receive numerous applications from qualified candidates. A well-written postdoc cover letter can make a significant difference in your chances of getting selected. Employers use postdoc cover letters to assess your qualifications and determine if you are a suitable candidate for the position. To increase your chances of getting selected, it’s essential to identify the needs of your potential employer and tailor your cover letter accordingly.

One of the critical factors that employers look out for in postdoc cover letters is relevant research experience. Employers seek postdocs who are skilled in conducting research and have experience in the field. Highlighting your research experience and how it aligns with the position you are applying for can make you a desirable candidate.

Another essential factor that employers consider is publications. Having one or more scholarly publications to your name is a valuable asset. It shows that you have a track record of producing high-quality research that has been peer-reviewed and published in reputable journals. If you have publications, be sure to mention them in your cover letter and highlight their relevance to the position.

Collaboration is an essential aspect of postdoc research. Employers look for candidates who can work effectively in a team and collaborate with others. Highlighting your ability and experience in collaboration can make you a desirable candidate. Provide examples of collaborative projects you have undertaken and how you contributed to their success.

Finally, employers also look for unique qualifications. Emphasizing your unique skills and experience relevant to the postdoc position can distinguish you from other candidates. If you have specialized skills or experience that aligns with the position, be sure to highlight them in your cover letter.

In conclusion, keeping these factors in mind as you write your postdoc cover letter ensures that you capture your potential employer’s attention and improves your chances of success. Remember to tailor your cover letter to the specific position and employer, highlighting your qualifications and how they align with the job requirements. Good luck!

A postdoctoral position is an exciting opportunity to further your research career and gain valuable experience. As such, it is essential to craft a cover letter that showcases your skills and experiences in a clear and concise manner. In the header section of your cover letter, include your full name, address, phone number, and email address. Additionally, add the date of writing the cover letter to show that you are timely and organized. When addressing your cover letter, it is crucial to avoid using a generic ‘Dear Sir/Madam.’ Instead, research the name of the person who will be reviewing your application, and address them directly. This personal touch shows that you have put in effort and are genuinely interested in the position. In the introduction section, introduce yourself and state the postdoctoral position you are applying for. Keep this section brief, as the body of your cover letter will provide more detail about your qualifications. The body of your cover letter should address the essential components of the postdoc position. For example, if the position requires experience in a specific research technique, highlight your experience in that area. Additionally, highlight any publications, presentations, or awards that demonstrate your research skills. Be sure to connect your skills and experiences to the requirements of the position. In the conclusion section, summarize your main points and express your enthusiasm for the position. This section is your final opportunity to make a strong impression on the hiring committee, so make it count. Finally, end your cover letter with a professional sign-off and your name. Ensure that your formatting is appropriate and that your letter does not exceed two pages. These factors demonstrate your attention to detail and professionalism, which can set you apart from other applicants. In conclusion, crafting a well-organized and professional postdoc cover letter can increase your chances of being selected for an interview. Highlight your skills and experiences, connect them to the requirements of the position, and express your enthusiasm for the opportunity. Good luck!When it comes to applying for a postdoc position, the cover letter is one of the most important documents you’ll submit. It’s your chance to showcase your skills, experience, and passion for the field. However, there are several common mistakes that applicants make that can hurt their chances of getting the job.One of the most common mistakes is not following the instructions provided in the job advertisement. Employers often provide specific guidelines on what they want to see in a cover letter, such as the skills and experiences they’re looking for. If you don’t follow these instructions, you risk coming across as unprofessional or not paying attention to detail.Another mistake is forgetting to address the cover letter to the potential employer. Using a generic salutation such as “To Whom It May Concern” can give the impression that you didn’t take the time to research the company or the person who will be reading your cover letter. It’s important to personalize the letter and make a connection with the reader.Failing to demonstrate compatibility with the postdoc position advertised is another common mistake. Your cover letter should show that you have the skills and experience needed to excel in the position. It’s important to highlight your relevant accomplishments and explain how they make you a good fit for the job.Using too much technical jargon and acronyms is also a mistake that can make your cover letter difficult to read and understand. While it’s important to showcase your knowledge and expertise, it’s equally important to communicate clearly and concisely. Always define technical terms if necessary.Lastly, including information that is not relevant to the postdoc position that you’re applying for is a mistake that can make your cover letter seem unfocused and unprofessional. Stick to the skills and experiences that are most relevant to the job and explain how they make you a good fit for the position.By avoiding these common mistakes, you can ensure that your cover letter stands out and gains the attention of your potential employer. Remember to personalize the letter, highlight your relevant accomplishments, and communicate clearly and concisely. With these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream postdoc position.

Final Steps On Writing Your Postdoc Cover Letter

Writing a postdoc cover letter can be a daunting task, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience. As you near the end of the writing process, there are a few final steps you should take to ensure your cover letter is as strong as possible.

First and foremost, it’s important to proofread your cover letter thoroughly. This means checking for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and formatting issues. Even the smallest typo can detract from the overall quality of your letter, so it’s worth taking the time to go over it with a fine-tooth comb.

Once you’ve proofread your cover letter, it’s a good idea to have someone else read it as well. This could be an academic mentor, a colleague, or a career development officer. Getting an outside perspective can help you identify any areas that may need improvement, and can give you valuable feedback on how to make your cover letter even stronger.

When you receive feedback on your cover letter, it’s important to take it seriously and make any necessary changes. This may involve rewording certain sentences, expanding on certain points, or reorganizing the overall structure of your letter. Remember, the goal of your cover letter is to convey your suitability for the postdoc position you’re applying for, so every word and sentence counts.

Finally, before you hit send on your cover letter, take a moment to review the job posting one last time. Make sure you’ve addressed all of the key requirements and qualifications mentioned in the posting, and that you’ve highlighted your relevant skills and experience. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of standing out from the competition and landing the postdoc position you’ve been dreaming of.

Example Postdoc Cover Letter

Here’s an example postdoc cover letter to help you write your cover letter.

Overall, I believe that my research experience, teaching and mentoring skills, and collaborative nature make me a strong candidate for this position. I am excited about the opportunity to work with your team and contribute to the ongoing research projects in your department. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Postdoc Cover Letter FAQ

Are you looking to apply for a postdoc position? Do you want to make your application stand out from the rest? Here are some frequently asked questions about a postdoc cover letter to help you get started:

What is the purpose of a postdoc cover letter?

A postdoc cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself to your potential employer and showcase your skills and qualifications. It is a critical component of your application that can help you stand out from other candidates. Your cover letter should highlight your achievements, research experience, and your passion for the field.

How long should a postdoc cover letter be?

A postdoc cover letter should be concise and not exceed more than two pages. It is essential to keep your cover letter brief and to the point while still providing enough information to convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the position.

When writing your cover letter, ensure that you use a simple font and spacing to give your cover letter an organized appearance. The hiring manager should be able to read your letter easily without any distractions.

Should I follow up after submitting a postdoc cover letter?

Yes, it’s ok to follow up with an email to check the status of your application. Following up shows that you’re interested and keeps your application at the top of the hiring manager’s mind. However, avoid making multiple follow-up attempts, which can seem pushy and harm your chances.

When following up, make sure to be polite and professional. Thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration and express your continued interest in the position. This gesture can go a long way in showing your enthusiasm for the postdoc position.

Can I use the same cover letter for different postdoc positions?

While it may be tempting to use the same cover letter for different postdoc positions, it’s best to tailor your cover letter to the specific job that you are applying for. Employers appreciate when applicants take the time to customize their cover letters to the job advertisement.

Make sure to highlight the skills and experiences that align with the requirements of the position you are seeking. This approach shows the hiring manager that you have taken the time to research the position and that you are genuinely interested in the job.

In conclusion, writing an effective postdoc cover letter requires understanding the essential components, crafting it to fit the job advertisement, and proofreading it to eliminate errors. Follow our recommendations, avoid common mistakes and use our example to guide you in writing an excellent cover letter. With these tips, you can improve your postdoc application and increase your chances of securing the postdoc position you seek in your field.

Remember, your cover letter is your chance to make a great first impression. Take the time to craft a compelling letter that showcases your skills, experience, and passion for the field. Good luck with your postdoc application!

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Table of Contents

Cover letter for a postdoc (5 samples)

cover letter example postdoc

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This blog post will show samples of “cover letters for a postdoc.”

Samples of postdoc cover letters

To get a postdoc position, you need a well-written cover letter that showcases your passion for and dedication to the industry. When writing a postdoc cover letter, these are some of the essential things to include in your letter:

  • Address the employer with a formal salutation. For example, “Dear/Hello (name of the recipient or hiring manager).”
  • The next step is to state the position you are applying for and how you found the opening. 
  • Write a short sentence about why you’re interested in the position.
  • State your skills and work experience; ensure they are similar to the job position. When stating your skills, provide the accomplishment you have achieved. 
  • Conclude your letter with a forward-looking statement. For example, “I look forward to discussing the position further.”


Dr. Harold Bergman

Enteny University

113 Sunnyside Circle

Enteny, Illinois, 60002

Dear Dr. Bergman,

I am writing to express my sincere interest in Enteny University’s open postdoc laboratory position. I would love to pursue my postdoctoral studies as a member of your team. I am a recent graduate of Bertrum University where I gave my presentation on hydrogen fuel cell viability. You may remember Juan Sosa mentioning my interest in your laboratory at the end of the last school year.

In my research, I focused on developing hydrogen fuel cell delivery and storage solutions focusing specifically on portable applications for military use. In my doctoral studies, I worked to develop charging and backup systems for portable electronic devices (PEDs). Current military operations cannot effectively use fuel alternatives because emergency and frequent charging solutions remain unavailable. Most of my work has revolved around alternative energy-harnessing systems and long-lasting batteries. In my work, I produced fuel cells less susceptible to environmental degradation factors and extreme temperatures. I look forward to continuing my research and working toward miniaturizing fuel cells to improve their PED compatibility as a member of your research team.

I would appreciate the opportunity to continue my research in your laboratory and pursue a long-term future with Enteny University. I believe the nature of my research relates to your lab because, as the leading institution in fuel cell research, my chosen field of study is extremely relevant to your efforts. I think my knowledge and experience surrounding PEDs and battery longevity could aid in your research.

I am a self-motivated, independent researcher with eight years of experience. As a detail-oriented, qualified and creative candidate, I feel my fuel-cell research, grant proposal writing and tutoring experience could be a major asset to your laboratory. I’ve attached my CV and would be very interested in setting up a time to further discuss my skills and qualifications with you. Please let me know if you have questions and I look forward to hearing from you.

Harriet Browne”

“[Today’s Date]

[Hiring Manager’s Name]

[123 Company Address]

[Company City, State xxxxx]


[[email protected]]

Dear [Dr./Mr./Ms./Mx.] [Hiring Manager’s Last Name],

I am writing to express my interest in a postdoctoral position in your lab. I am a PhD Candidate in the Andrew Dwyer lab at James Hill University expecting to graduate in June 2022. My graduate work, published in Science this year, investigated the RNA virome in various aquatic environments using metagenomic analysis. My future research goals are to apply my computational skills and develop my skills working with non-human primate models to better understand and design therapeutics against pathogenic viruses. I believe my strong background in virus biology, library preparation, and next-generation sequencing analysis make me an ideal candidate to study respiratory disease viruses in your lab.

In my thesis lab, we use viral evolution to find trends that unite eukaryotic disease viruses. However, our current picture of RNA virus taxonomy is still incomplete, with the five-clade organization largely informed by human and agricultural animal and plant studies.

Therefore, to refine and complete our understanding of the global RNA virome, I sampled multiple complex aquatic environments and performed metagenome analysis. Confirming that the five-phyla classification based on RdRP sequence comparisons holds true, my analysis nearly tripled the number of currently known RNA viruses.

Host assignments proved to be tricky during my thesis. But I tackled this problem through various methods, including developing machine learning algorithms and comparing RNA viruses to size-separated microbial preparations subjected to DNA and RNA sequencing. I am continuing to characterize the novel and more highly divergent RdRPs discovered by our sampling. Also I mentor one graduate and one undergraduate student with their independent projects drawn from my work.

While I have focused primarily on RNA virus ecology and evolution during my graduate work, I am comfortable extending my research to studying RNA viruses in human disease. I collaborated with Dr. Henry Fields on a publication, currently under review at Frontiers in Immunology, studying rhesus macaque responses to MERS-CoV. The skills I learned through our collaboration, as well as from electives and literature search in immunology and human virology, have prepared me well to transition from studying viruses to studying virus-host interactions. Additionally, I look forward to applying my computational skills toward single-cell sequencing analysis examining the effects of age, diet fat content, and viral strain on primate responses to SARS-CoV-2 challenges, building on the methods and results in your recent Cell Reports Medicine paper. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to talk with you more about my fit in your lab. Thank you for your time and consideration.

“Anshu Mahajan

Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

+91 84 90184020

[email protected]

Pondicherry, 10.01.2022

Kajol Samra

Head of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Pondicherry University

Chinna Kalapet

Kalapet, Puducherry

Dear Ms. Samra,

As an alumnus of Pondicherry University, I was thrilled to learn about the Post-Doctoral Fellow position available at the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. During my PhD studies at Pondicherry University, I researched the relationship between circadian regulation and neurodegenerative diseases and wrote my doctoral thesis “Circadian activity and memory performance in Alzheimer’s patients” under the supervision of professor Qadim Ray. Seeing that Pondicherry University hopes to move to the forefront of neurodegenerative disease research with a new team led by professor Abbas Sengupta, I believe that my analytical skills and academic experience could be a great asset to this programme.

The fellowship offer mentions you’re looking for candidates skilled in the areas of lab management, cytometry for apoptosis detection, and data collection. I am happy to say that I possess all of those qualities:

  • Lab management: During my PhD research, I collaborated with fellow doctoral students to create a lab maintenance plan, which included up-to-date information on equipment booking, planned activities, instrument inventory, scheduling details, and a list of consumables and chemical supplies for restocking. By implementing this system, we were able to reduce the instances of conflicting activities by 67% within two months, and we maintained a stock of consumables and chemical supplies 88% of the time.
  • Cytometry for apoptosis detection: I am familiar with various methods of apoptosis detection, having conducted flow cytometry to detect changes appearing in organelles, monitor activation of caspase 3, oversee changes to the plasma membrane, and changes in the nuclear DNA, using cells at a concentration of 1×106 cells/ml.
  • Data collection: For my doctoral thesis, I have conducted 74 detailed interviews with Alzheimer’s patients, covering their current memory-related symptoms, overall health, family history, and sleeping habits. I have compared this information with data gathered using sleep trackers that collected information about sleep cycles. Instead of paper copies, I have used Excel spreadsheets and Cloud solutions for storing information, which helped to speed up the process of pulling up specific data by 89%.

What makes me particularly interested in your post-doctorate fellowship program is the chance to continue my research. Having worked with Alzheimer’s patients, I have seen first-hand how this disease influences the quality of life of not just the patients themselves, but also their loved ones. I believe that working together with other researchers under the guidance of professor Abbas Sengupta can lead to significant discoveries in the nature of neurodegenerative diseases. Recently, I have observed how another team of researchers at Pondicherry University achieved a major breakthrough in the study of endosome function and dysfunction. I believe that professor Sengupta’s team can replicate this success and lead to a better understanding of diseases that afflict over 50 million people worldwide.

I can’t wait to discuss my ideas for managing data gathered by professor Sengupta’s team and for introducing changes to laboratory procedures to create a smooth workflow. Could we schedule a meeting next week to discuss how my research experience can contribute to this project?

Anshu Mahajan”

“Dear Professor Knightly,

Having completed my doctorate in Slavonic Studies last semester, I am applying to continue my Postdoc research in the area of the Old Church Slavonic language.

Researching the homeland and language of the Slavs has always been a passion and I have undertaken many translation projects that have contributed to the modern understanding of how language influenced the early Slavonic church in the Moravian Empire.

I will be spending much of my Postdoc period in libraries across Eastern Europe, presenting at local symposia and writing my second book on the development of early Proto Slavic and Common Slavonic languages in conjunction with a number of leaders in the field. My travel has mostly been funded by the publishers, but given the considerable expense in my work I am continuing to request the bursary from the university.

I teach classes for local students and will continue to lead seminars six times a year on my return trips to Chicago. I enclose my latest research paper for your interest. It has received critical acclaim in over 15 industry publications. After analyzing over 2,000 church manuscripts, it is fascinating to see the evolution.

I was proud to receive my doctorate, but the work is just beginning. Understanding the origins of language is helping to unlock the secrets of the early Slav Church – exploring many of the rituals that still hold firm to this day.

Simon Bartley”

“New Haven, June 26, 2020

Professor B. Hawthorne

Faculty Search Committee

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305

Dear Professor Hawthorne,

I am writing to apply for the position of Postdoctoral Researcher at Stanford. I am completing my PhD in Clinical Psychology and Criminology at Yale University under the direction of Professor Mark Fisher with an expected graduation date of May 2021.

Within my research, I have focused on a multidisciplinary approach to examining the nature of self harm and how social support networks affect the likelihood of self-harm being fatal. The thesis ‘Cry for Help: Non-Suicidal Self-Harm Characteristics’ takes 128 participants aged 15-39, 50% male and 50% female. Analyzing quantitative statistical data on the angle and depth of NSSH, the comparison versus factors such as time of contact with therapist, standardized family awareness of issues, number of social support network points as well as self-reported severity of suicidal ideation found the following.

It was found that severity of suicidal ideation didn’t reliably predict the severity of NSSH, i.e. its actual objective risk to life. However, it was found that gender was a reliable predictor of location of NSSH, with females mostly harming their arms and legs, while males were more likely to harm their chest and private areas. It was also found that the combined strength of social support was a significant predictor in the severity of NSSH, i.e. depth and angle. Early time of contact with a therapist was not affecting severity of NSSH, but had a significant correlation with frequency of harm.

With the NCHS reporting a 30% increase in death by suicide in the United States between 2000 and 2016, it is a highly pressing issue to reverse engineer the factors that lead to heightened risk, and many scholars consider NSSH a stage in the development of fatal suicidal ideation. The next part of my study intends to look at the relationship between strength of social support for young males and risk of online political and religious radicalization, another great risk to our civilization in these uncertain times, and there aren’t many better places to conduct this study than Stanford. My approach is highly informed by the modern machine learning cross-factor analysis that has been innovated by Professor Musk, and upon which I based my own analysis.

I am well-prepared to do my part teaching as well as researching, having taught a range of courses in Psychology, Criminology, Sociology and Statistics, such as ‘Radicalization: Social and Scientific Factors’ which has been wildly successful with the undergraduates at Yale, and grew from 7 students signed up in 2018 to over 55 in 2020. All in all, I have taught 400+ undergraduates and mentored 20+ master’s students, and achieved increasing participation in courses designed by me year and year, and higher than average results on all previously-established courses.

I am enclosing my curriculum vitae, research and teaching statements, as well as copies of transcripts. I also attach letters of reference from Dr Smith, Dr Jones, and Robert Martinson. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if I could provide additional information or materials that will aid you in the evaluation of my application. I am available for interview during the next Criminology conference at Stanford, or by phone or email at any other time.

Best Regards,

Sam Marks PhD


[email protected]

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Academic Cover Letters

The cover letter is a single spaced, two-page introductory document that creates a narrative for your application package. It introduces the search committee to your:

  • Enthusiasm for the position and your expected availability (e.g., expected defense date)
  • Teaching and teaching assistantships
  • Other relevant experience (internships, previous professional experience, etc.)
  • Fit (why you are the right person for the position, understanding of campus culture and values, etc.)

Because no cover letter can convey all this information appropriately in only two pages, you will need to tailor your letter depending on the department, the university, the requirements specified in the job call, your application package, etc.

Keep in mind, the cover letter should not directly lift content from other supporting material. For example, if a job call also asks for a Teaching Statement or Philosophy, you should not feel pressure to condense all of that content into a paragraph. Rather use the cover letter to illustrate how your teaching fits into your scholarly identity. Consider how it is informed by your research, commitment to equity and inclusion, etc.

  • How the job call is written, which responsibilities are presented and in what order – is teaching prioritized over research?
  • What application documents are requested – is there something not requested that you could elaborate on in the cover letter?
  • What student populations would you engage with as a faculty member in the department – undergraduate? graduate? both?
  • Is the institution mission-driven – how does that impact your professional narrative?

The cover letter could include a combination of the following paragraphs:

Opening Paragraph

Just like articles and dissertations have a central “thesis” or research question, this paragraph gives the letter’s thesis statement, clarifying how your mix of experience makes you the best candidate for the job. This paragraph lists the basics of the cover letter:

  • Introduce yourself
  • Explain your interest in the position and institution
  • Basic rundown of who you are as a scholar in relation to the role

Body Paragraphs

This content could address your research project(s), areas of interest, methodological training, and future research agendas. Think about how you would fit into the department and the expertise you would provide. If you are applying to a research institution, your research paragraphs should come first.

You will want to include some of the following points:

  • Your current research project (dissertation)
  • Potential future projects (dissertation to book, next research project, etc.)
  • Impact of your project(s) (publications, conference or poster presentations, public lectures, etc.)
  • Other achievements (grants and funding won, awards earned, public-facing work, etc.)
  • Potential collaborations within the department and/or across the institution, depending on the interdisciplinary nature of the position.

This content discusses your teaching experience, whether as an instructor of record or a TA, your pedagogical training, and any mentoring/advising. If the job is teaching-focused, this should be where you start. Use this space to introduce how your teaching is a part of who you are as a scholar.

  • Your approach to teaching
  • Other ways you have engaged with and/or mentored students (office hours, summer research opportunities, etc.)
  • Expertise in relation to courses you are prepared to teach

This content communicates how you contribute to the collegial nature of the institution or department to which you are applying. It might range from a full paragraph to a few sentences supplementing your research or teaching paragraphs.

You can pull from:

  • Graduate Assistantships or other service you have done within your department (e.g., serving on committees), the institution, or professional organizations
  • Conference volunteering and service
  • Search committee participation
  • Other volunteer work and community involvement

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This content discusses how your current and future experiences consider diversity, equity, inclusivity, and accessibility. Commitment to DEI can be shown through:

  • Research areas, pedagogical applications, or service in and outside of institutions
  • Where you align with the mission statement of the institution and/or department
  • How you can contribute to the student population or wider community

These considerations are communicated most seamlessly not as stand-alone paragraphs, but woven into your document as a whole.

Closing Paragraph

Think back to your thesis statement and reinforce your excitement about the role. Keep it short and to the point – thank them for their time and consideration, ending with a professional sign off and full name.

General Tips Before Submission

  • Prior to submitting, double check that the cover letter is signed and saved as a PDF (preferably on Northwestern letterhead).
  • As with all application documents, make sure to have multiple eyes on the content before submitting it to the hiring committee.
  • Take advantage of the support Northwestern provides from the Graduate Writing Place and Northwestern Career Advancement.
  • Postdocs can make appointments for individualized feedback with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs.

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Postdoctoral Researcher Cover Letter Sample

Get invited for more job interviews & learn creative tricks to use in your cover letter with our free, easily editable Postdoctoral Researcher cover letter sample. Copy and paste this cover letter example for free or edit it directly using our easy-to-use cover letter creator.

Milan Šaržík — Certified Professional Résumé Writer

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Postdoctoral Researcher Cover Letter Sample (Full Text Version)

Angela Ellis

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the postdoctoral researcher opportunity as a Doctorate of Environmental Sciences graduate with a strong passion for addressing climate change crises. Currently, I work as a part-time Research Coordinator at the University of Sunnybank’s Office of Biotechnology and Environment, focusing on research that drives environmental and social change. Additionally, I serve as an undergraduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Environmental Sciences, where I am responsible for instructional planning, grading papers and tests, proctoring labs, and teaching Microbiology and Bioremediation.

My research areas have centered around social and legal aspects of the environment, as well as energy planning and the intricate human-environment relationship. I have contributed to the research and writing of "Chapter 2: Energy Planning" in Erick Miska’s (2017) publication on Environmental and Social Change in the 21st Century. Furthermore, I have conducted fieldwork and interviews with environmental scientists and microbiology experts across Europe for the University of Sunnybank’s Environmental Heritage Report.

With 6 years of research and teaching experience, along with a recent doctorate, Master of Biotechnology, and Bachelor of Environment and Society, I am well-equipped to excel in this role. I have also participated in professional workshops and courses in environmental ethics philosophy.

I have greatly valued my time at the University of Sunnybank and am now seeking a full-time research position to delve deeper into climate change crises alongside a team of experts. I have attached my curriculum vitae for your review and would greatly appreciate the opportunity to discuss how my background and skills align with the needs of your team.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the possibility of discussing next steps.

Milan Šaržík — Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Milan Šaržík, CPRW

Milan’s work-life has been centered around job search for the past three years. He is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW™) as well as an active member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers & Careers Coaches (PARWCC™). Milan holds a record for creating the most career document samples for our help center – until today, he has written more than 500 resumes and cover letters for positions across various industries. On top of that, Milan has completed studies at multiple well-known institutions, including Harvard University, University of Glasgow, and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

Edit this sample using our resume builder.

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Important info.

For inquiries and submitting the required material please contact: [email protected] with the subject: Application for a Postdoctoral Fellowship.

We are looking for a scholar with research interests in applications of machine learning to health, interested to pursue a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford University, School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California. The Scholar would work on a project with a team of Stanford faculty with expertise in maternal and infant health, and global health. The project provides a unique opportunity to apply advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence approaches to analyze data from multi-site cohorts of mothers and infants, with an aim to develop relevant prediction models to improve maternal and infant health globally, including in low-resource settings.

The fellowship is a one-year appointment, with an option to extend. The pay offered to the selected candidate will be determined based on factors including (but not limited to) the qualifications of the selected candidate, budget availability, and internal equity.

1. Ph.D. in an analytical field with research experience in developing/applying machine learning models. 2. Excellent publication record. 3. Interest in medicine and biology. No previous expertise in life sciences or global health is necessary.

1. Curriculum vitae 2. Cover letter describing research background and interests. References will be requested later during the recruitment process.

Stanford is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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  1. Postdoctoral Scientist Cover Letter

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  1. How To Write a Postdoc Cover Letter (With Example)

    3. Write your introduction. Use your beginning paragraph to explain why you are writing the cover letter. Refer to the position you're applying to and explain where you heard about the opportunity. If you have a personal connection who works with the PI, job poster or hiring manager, you can mention them here.

  2. Postdoc Cover Letter Sample & Writing Tips

    research patents. Only list one or two relevant and high-profile publications in your cover letter. Your complete list of publications belongs in your academic CV. 3. Describe how you uniquely fit the position. To connect your skills and expertise to the target position, propose a project you could do if hired.

  3. Postdoc Cover Letter Templates & Examples [2024 ready]

    This postdoc cover letter sample comes from Sam, who is due to complete his PhD in 2023, and is applying for a research position. Let's see how he presents his arguments. Save hours of work and get a cover letter like this. Pick a template, fill it in. Quick and easy. Choose from 18+ cover letter templates and download your cover letter now.

  4. Postdoc Cover Letter Sample [+Postdoctoral Template]

    Here's how to write a postdoc cover letter: 1. Use the proper postdoc cover letter format. Use 1" cover letter margins on all sides. Choose single or 1.15 line spacing. Use a professional cover letter font in 12pt size. Read more: The Best Covering Letter Layout. 2. Create a professional postdoc cover letter header.

  5. Postdoc Cover Letter Examples & Expert Tips ·

    With 125+ cover letter examples and occupation-specific writing guides, is here to make an impressive postdoc cover letter easier than you think. This guide, along with our postdoc cover letter examples, will cover these topics: The best format for structuring a postdoc cover letter. How each cover letter section speaks to your ...

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    A cover letter starts like a formal letter with the date at the top followed by the name and work address of the job poster. This is followed by the salutation. For a postdoc position, you will often be addressing your letter to the PI. However, if it is not clear from the advertisement who the job poster is, you can always address the letter ...

  8. How to Write a Postdoc Cover Letter (With Example)

    How to write a postdoc cover letter. You can follow these step-by-step instructions to create an engaging postdoc cover letter that increases your chances of securing the position: 1. Include a header with your contact information. It's a good practice to begin the cover letter with your name and contact information to make it easy for the ...

  9. Cover Letter Best Practices: PhD and Postdoc Success

    Give a clear indication of the skills and experiences that make the applicant a good fit. Your cover letter should translate how your experiences have developed both technical and non-technical skills necessary for the role. Provide evidence of the skills in action. Show, do not tell—provide concrete examples that craft a compelling narrative.

  10. How to write a killer cover letter for a postdoctoral application

    End your cover letter with the same professionalism you used at the opening. Thank the PI for his or her time and consideration. Be sure to provide your contact information and state that you look forward to hearing from him or her. Everything discussed above should fit onto a single page — 1 ½ pages at most.

  11. Postdoc Cover Letter: Samples & Templates to Fill

    This postdoc cover letter sample comes from Sam, who was due to complete his PhD in 2023, and is applying for a research position. Let's see how he presents his arguments. Sam Marks PhD. 37 Sunset Boulevard. New Haven, CT 06520. 211-978-1043. [email protected]. New Haven, June 26, 2020.

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    Here are some guidelines to create the first paragraph of your postdoc cover letter: Greet the recruiter with Dear Mr./Ms. XYZ. State your interest in the advertised postdoc position. Spark the interest of the recruiter with your most relevant experience and accomplishments.

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    (for example, it wasn't obvious why the candidate was pivoting from their PhD work to the potential postdoc PIs lab, and they wanted to know more about the argument. Pro-tip : don't attach your cover letter as a separate document. Just make it the text of your email, and attach a CV.

  14. Postdoc Cover Letter Example

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  16. How to write a postdoc cover letter (with example)

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  19. Best Postdoc Cover Letter Examples for 2024

    Great postdoc cover letter example. Dear Mr. Smith, I am extremely interested in furthering my postdoctoral studies as part of your team. I am a recent graduate of Caledonia University, where I researched all aspects of cell biology and microbiology.

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    Category headings influence how readers perceive you. For example, the same experience could belong in a category entitled: "Service to the Field," "Conferences Organized," or "Relevant Professional Experience." Use active verbs and sentence fragments (not full sentences) to describe your experiences. Avoid pronouns (e.g.

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    Academic Cover Letters. The cover letter is a single spaced, two-page introductory document that creates a narrative for your application package. It introduces the search committee to your: Enthusiasm for the position and your expected availability (e.g., expected defense date) Research. Teaching and teaching assistantships.

  22. Postdoctoral Researcher Cover Letter Sample

    Kickresume's AI Cover Letter Writer runs on GPT-4 and can generate human-like cover letters in a matter of seconds. Try it now and say goodbye to writer's block. Get invited for more job interviews & learn creative tricks to use in your cover letter with our free, easily editable Postdoctoral Researcher cover letter sample.

  23. Sample Cover Letters & Correspondence

    The Office of Career Strategy works with students and alums of Yale College and Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as well as Yale postdoctoral scholars from all disciplines. The Office of Career Strategy advisors help students, alums, and postdocs to clarify career aspirations, identify opportunities, and offer support at every stage of ...

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    General worker cover letter example To help you learn more about cover letters, here is a sample cover letter for a general worker: Chuck Ferris Chicago, Illinois 304-555-0192 [email protected] March 14, 2024 Mr. Bob Richardson ABC Company Dear Mr. Richardson, I am writing to express my keen interest in the general worker position at ABC Company as advertised.

  26. Open Postdoctoral position, faculty mentor Ivana Maric

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  28. How to Write a Process Operator Cover Letter (With Examples)

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  29. How To Write a Procurement Assistant Cover Letter (With Example)

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