I face this problem at every stage of my life after graduation. I have searched for many sample research plans, CVs, and cover letters, but none of them were for someone who has finished their education and doesn't work anywhere right now.

I searched for the answer and even asked it from several people, their suggestion was:

  1. used your home postal code and address for cover letter
  2. use your last affiliation that you had (the university you have finished your education at)
  3. you are not allowed to use your last affiliation since you are not an employee there now. If you were to use your last affiliation it could assumed that your are an agent of your university who applied (for example as a mission)

What should I do? Which affiliation is correct to write? Is it ok to write "independent researcher, Ph.D from X univerisity"? Whenever I am not allowed to write such a thing, what is another good option?

1 Answer 1


I think there are a lot of views. My own is that an "affiliation" has to be mutually agreeable. Once you graduate, you are no longer affiliated with the university. If you consult to a company you are probably not "affiliated" in the view of the company.

Independent Researcher is a valid affiliation and saying that you earned a PhD or had a prior affiliation with an institution is also valid.

And each use can use different wording. A CV normally has room for a few qualifying words such as you suggest. Likewise a grant application can list a former affiliation if it relates to the subject. But these are easy cases.

Papers for publication is a bit trickier, since one of the reasons for listing it is so that people who don't know you can find you, say via a permanent email address. But a paper can also usually include a footnote or a paragraph that qualifies "Independent Researcher" as needed.

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