I am going to apply for a postdoc position in the US. Application requirements include a cover letter and research statement.

I am not a native English speaker and in my department, unfortunately, there is no natives. My question is whether (i) it would be useful/necessary to have both texts checked by a professional copy-editor for grammatical correctness, or (ii) whether I should send them uncorrected.

I understand that '(i)' would facilitate the understanding of the texts. However, '(ii)' would more honestly reflect my level of written English communication.

  • 2
    Are your publications in English? If so, how did you polish them up? How about your advisor? Is there a native-speaker in the department?
    – Jon Custer
    Nov 11, 2021 at 22:50
  • 1
    Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking.
    – Community Bot
    Nov 11, 2021 at 22:59
  • I have publications in English and Spanish. I polished the English ones (JCR Q1) with the help of professional editors. When editing the post, I indicated that there are no native speakers in my department. Thank you for your response.
    – Natorp87
    Nov 11, 2021 at 23:52

2 Answers 2


There is no reason that you shouldn't have someone else give you advice. But hiring a proof reader might not be necessary. Your advisor can give you advice on content, which is more important, and they or another faculty member might give you advice on the language issues. Your advisor might even give you advice on the question you ask here. If such things are common where you are it is probably harmless.

You need to be able to communicate effectively in the job environment, of course, and will probably have to undergo an interview.

You want your application to be clear and understandable. The worse your writing, the harder it will be for you to break through. Your writing here seems fine, actually, though it is pretty short. Keep it pretty formal, which might be harder or easier, depending on how you learned English.

And, Spanish is the second most used language in the US.


In my opinion, you should not let someone edit your letter. As you said yourself, it "would more honestly reflect my level of written English communication." It is OK that you polish your English publications because you need to explain your research process and conclusions as clear as possible, you present your work in public. But the goal of a cover letter is to introduce yourself, your experience, your goals, why you want to apply for this position. It is about you as a person and researcher, and an editor will remove your individuality, I think so.

If you want to check some grammar moments, spelling, for example, you can install the Grammarly extension to your browser - most of its functions are free. Even if you make some little mistakes, an admission officer knows that you are not a native speaker, so it will be OK.

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