I have sent the following cover letter to several scientists but I haven't gotten a single reply. How can it be improved?


I am writing this letter for a postdoctoral position in your reputed laboratory. Presently, I am working as manager at Z limited. I have completed my doctoral work at A, supervised by Dr. B.

I will be submitting my thesis on A in August of 2022. My Ph.D. work on A has helped me develop skills relevant to the postdoctoral position. My article published in Journal X in 2021 discusses B. I have further mentioned about my findings.

I studied your recent research projects on A in mice, and I am interested in the ongoing topics. I liked your article, "P," published in M in 2016.

Therefore, I want to pursue my postdoctoral studies in your lab. I have attached my CV for your perusal. Please look at the CV and let me know if you need some more information about my research career and interest. Thank you for your time, and looking forward to hearing back from you at your convenience.

  • 8
    You need paragraph breaks.
    – Oliver882
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 16:21
  • 1
    There might actually be paragraph breaks (attempting to edit the post reveals at least line breaks), but the markdown system removes them.
    – Ian
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 17:29
  • yes, thank you. I have incorporated paragraph breaks.
    – mini
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 17:35
  • 1
    Sorry, we only take questions that could potentially be useful to others in the future; we don't offer individualized editing. That said: my advice to you is to count the number of words, divide by two, and rewrite the entire letter to contain only this number of words, but don't remove any of the important content. For example: almost all of the things you wrote in the last paragraph go without saying -- you can reduce this paragraph to a single sentence without removing anything important.
    – cag51
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 18:24
  • 1
    Also: why do you want to work with this professor? As it is, you just say "I liked your article P" -- this is so vague as to be meaningless.
    – cag51
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 18:25

2 Answers 2


This question is probably too specific for this site, but here is some advice: insert several paragraph breaks, cut "reputed", make it clear whether you are applying for an advertised position or not, make the description of your research shorter, cut obvious points like "Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide", and say something more interesting about their research than that you found it "interesting" and you "liked" it.

  • 1
    Yes, delete "reputed" at the beginning. More paragraph breaks. Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 17:59

On top of Oliver882's suggestions:

  • explain why you want to work there (many people do something "interesting", especially if you don't explain how the interesting stuff relates to your own stuff)
  • explain why they want to work with you (what can you bring in they are lacking, or at least need for the project)
  • explain why you are (one of) the ideal candidate(s) for this position

... and don't write the same letter to "several" scientists with just a different reference you "liked" (which is 6 years old) - people notice that.

  • so, i cant mention 6 year old letter or should I mention latest one
    – mini
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 18:07
  • you should explain WHY you like their work, ideally spanning several papers..
    – Mark
    Commented Jul 14, 2022 at 18:13

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