I'm a PhD student in social science, currently looking for postdoc positions. One professor I'm interested in working with suggested that he could nominate me for a postdoc fellowship and asked me if I can provide some information about "what makes me a great researcher". He is required to submit a recommendation letter for the nomination. The letter asks to compare how outstanding the nominee is compared to other candidates at a similar stage in their career.

It's understandable that the professor asked me to provide information about my own potential and excellence in research, but I have no idea what to say or where to start from for two reasons:

  1. I'm not comfortable with or good at bragging about myself. I just find it really cringy.
  2. I don't believe that I'm an outstanding researcher compared to peers. I know that I'm a pretty good researcher with rigorous scientific practice and critical thinking, but everyone I know has these qualities as well. So I don't think these don't necessarily make me stand out among other researchers.

I would like to hear how you approach it or what you wrote about when you had to evaluate your own research ability or potential. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  • Unfortunately, you just have to get over the "bragging about yourself" bit. Trust me, everyone else hates it too. Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 18:20
  • Do you have a local professor with whom you could discuss this? Someone you've worked with?
    – Buffy
    Commented Aug 27, 2020 at 19:45


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