I'm planning to consult a potential future advisor for a postdoc position. However, they do not put up any advertisement for postdocs, thus there is a large possibility that they cannot afford a postdoc. However, even if they cannot afford any postdocs, I still prefer them to read my email, as our work are close in some degree and I do not wanna lose the opportunity for them to point me to someone else. For this reason, is it a good idea to not mentioning postdoc position upfront in the subject and only mention it much later in the body of the email?

  • 1
    " much later in the body of the email" What's much later? It shouldn't be more than 2-3 sentences anyways.
    – user64845
    Jun 17, 2018 at 11:21
  • @DSVA If I were a professor, I won't read such an email unless I know this version. In my view, applicants are supposed to show the connections between their expertise and the position, which cannot be done in 2-3 sentences. Professors are just too busy to figure out the connections for each applicant.
    – xuhdev
    Jun 17, 2018 at 20:07
  • That's why you add a CV, research overview and maybe another cover letter. The email itself needs to be extremely short, otherwise the chances are high that the Prof. decides to read it later and forgets, while short emails are more likely to be read right away.
    – user64845
    Jun 18, 2018 at 13:15

2 Answers 2


Consider a title such as: Postdoc on [subject]



I am PhD student / postdoc working with/at/on institute/advisor/subject (whichever you judge would interest the advisor). I am interested in your work on [subject] and maybe mention a particularly interesting article. Would you happen to have open postdoc positions or other funding options I could pursue?

I attached my CV and here is a link to a related publication of mine that I am proud of, or my homepage etc.

Maybe mention a concrete research idea here, if you have one.

[End matter]

I would not expect the potential advisor to work as a recruitment service, but if they answer positively but do not have positions open, you might ask if they know someone working on related subjects who could hire you.

Also, if you are willing to co-operate even without, or before, getting the position, you might want to mention that and maybe even add it to the subject.


Professors are often very busy. Sometimes they receive more than 100 emails per day, not including automatic messages. An email from a stranger without essential information in the subject field / first line is not likely to be answered.

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