My situation is that I want to work with Prof. A, but in the advertisement another professor (B) is the contact person. Now, I need write an email to send my CV and research statement to the contact person. What shall I write in the email? I will write in the email I want to work in the institution and my previous research activity very briefly (The institution does not want the cover letter, so the email will serve as my cover letter). Then the problem is: Shall I simply write "Dear Prof. B,..."? If so, I worry that Prof. B would think I want to work with him. But if not, I would write "Dear Prof. A", which sounds weird because the email is sent to Prof. B.

What shall I do in this situation?

  • Your question is unclear- is Professor B part of Professor A's group and handling the search for a post-doc to work on research within their overall research group, or is professor B recruiting a post-doc to work under Professor B's supervision? Sep 14, 2015 at 2:25
  • @BrianBorchers Thanks! I do not have the idea. This is my first time to apply for a postdoc. I think I need learn more. But I do not think Prof. B is part of Prof. A's group. I am not sure if Prof. B is recruiting for himself, because I checked his publications which do not match the advertised research areas very well. But prof. A certainly works more on these areas. Sep 14, 2015 at 2:38
  • 1
    It sounds as though Prof. B is recruiting a post-doc to work under B's supervision. It would not be unusual for Prof. B to be looking for a post-doc with expertise different from B's. The idea would be that the post-doc would collaborate with B on research that involved both areas. Sep 14, 2015 at 3:08
  • @BrianBorchers Thanks a lot! You are very helpful! Sep 14, 2015 at 3:31
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    It sounds like Prof. A might not have an open postdoc position.
    – Cape Code
    Sep 14, 2015 at 10:49

2 Answers 2


It's simple: follow the instructions. If the contact email address is of prof. B, then you should address him in the greeting.

Do not make assumptions such as prof. B is recruiting postdoc for prof. A, or at least you should not bring this assumption to your conversation with prof. B, even if your assumption is correct. Many people may take it as disrespect.


You should write the application in the form requested. Send the first contact to Prof. B since he is the one to whom the instructions direct you to send the materials. If you know Prof. A otherwise or know someone else who does, you might also try contacting A outside the explicit process to find out about working with them directly.

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