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During summer 2023 I applied for a PhD position in mathematics at a European university. I got invited for an interview but did not quite make it to being offered a position due to a number of factors.

A professor of the university emailed me and proposed that I apply again for a new PhD position at the same university.

My question is the following: During the period between the two applications nothing changed in my CV, and the letter of motivation I sent during the first application adresses the new position as well, since it is on the same mathematical field. Should I attach the same letter adapted for the new position, changing the name of the project and bureaucratic numbers? Is this a bad idea? Should I change its structure? Should I write a brand new one?

Thank you!

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You probably don't want to hear this, but if a professor has asked you to apply again, they remember you, so it's likely they'll remember your letter too. If you send the same letter, it might be fine, but it also won't send the signal that you're keen/eager enough to try harder than last time and it could make it look like you're just treading water instead of developing constantly. Just write a brand new one - it doesn't have to change everything, but make it more specific to the new position (it's rare you can write the same specific letter for two different positions anyway). At the end of the day, it comes down to how much you want that position.

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  • Of course, you can equally well reason in the opposite way: if you write a completely different letter of motivation for substantially the same position, then this decreases your credibility. So I think it comes down to how similar the two positions are.
    – Pilcrow
    Sep 16, 2023 at 20:36
  • Thank you both for your answers! The positions are pretty much identical. I have already produced another letter just changing its structure and exposition without changing any special aspects about me. I do not want to make an impression as a "lazy person" but I believe that even the first letter adresses the position well enough.
    – Prelude
    Sep 17, 2023 at 11:19

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