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A friend and I are arguing about the number of pages needed for a coverletter, to apply to postdoc in electro-engineering.

Usually, the postdoc offer (what I called a job offer) says up to 3 pages.

My friend fills the 3 pages for the coverletter.

To me, he should stick to one page , presenting himself, his work and why he is the most qualified for this position like any regular jobs actually.

I feel I'm right but as I do not have much experiences applying to postdocs, I cannot validate my claim.

Any insights are more than welcomed.

  • Are you talking about cover letter or CV? – scaaahu Mar 19 '16 at 12:10
  • Hi @scaaahu, I'm talking about coverletter. – Andy K Mar 19 '16 at 15:02
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Please follow the link. Everything is properly mentioned as follows.

http://www.nature.com/scitable/ebooks/english-communication-for-scientists-14053993/118520525#headerAndCitation

The structure of a letter written for an entry-level position will differ from the structure of a letter written by a master's or Ph.D.-level researcher.

Typically, a more advanced position will require a lengthier cover letter.

In all cases, however, remember that your readers are extremely busy. Therefore, keep your letters from extending beyond two pages, unless the job advertisement specifically requests more details about research or work experience.

  • Hi @mithun, many thanks for your link. However, this very much schlolar link does not help. My friend and I are familiar with writing cover-letters. What I want is a fact, yes or no on the 3 pages, based on your experiences. Your answer is here, off-topic , this is why I'll downvote your answer and ask mod's to close it, tonight 8PM CET , unless you amend it and provide a better answer. My tone may seem callous or rude but I'm asking you to do better. Thank you for your understanding. – Andy K Mar 20 '16 at 9:23
  • @Andy K I read your question. Did you carefully checked the link. I think, you did. Maybe you missed the following lines. "The structure of a letter written for an entry-level position will differ from the structure of a letter written by a master's or Ph.D.-level researcher. Typically, a more advanced position will require a lengthier cover letter. In all cases, however, remember that your readers are extremely busy. Therefore, keep your letters from extending beyond two pages, unless the job advertisement specifically requests more details about research or work experience." – Mithun Mar 20 '16 at 10:27
  • I'll be honest with you, I did not read everything. However, I thank you for your answer. Like it or not, Q&A are tricky place where a question goes to look for that article without being precise on what to look. My tone sounds overbearing and I'm sorry for that. Many thanks again for your comment I'll include in your answer. – Andy K Mar 20 '16 at 14:44
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    @AndyK It's my pleasure to know that you got something from the link. Since I got many help from ACADEMIA.SE I tried to help you. :) – Mithun Mar 21 '16 at 11:53
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Like a CV, it should be as long as it needs to be. For a post doc, you need an intro paragraph (what job you are applying for, who you are, where you are coming from). You also need a paragraph that describes what you want to get out of the post doc. Finally a paragraph (or two) on your thesis. That is likely a page. If you did research during undergrad or an MS, then you need to include that. If you have a side project to you PhD or have already done a post doc, then you need to include that research. If the position has a teaching requirement, you need a paragraph for that.

I would be surprised if a Post Doc cover letter hit 3 pages, but trying to get it down to a single page seems hard.

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Yes, cover letter should be one page and that should always contain what you have mentioned in your question. It may be extended up to 2-3 pages. But mostly it is asked to restrict a single page. Do you know why? Because, this tells everything about you in few sentences. Moreover, a cover letter is always kept in the top of application whether it is a hard copy or soft copy. So if your cover letter tells anything impressive about you then reviewer will go inside with much more interest. Just like abstract of a paper. So you should be very concise and more focus when writing a cover letter. It is not a good idea at all to elaborate everything in cover letter just to increase the page number.

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    You have a chance of couple of sentences to persuade him/her so be specific what you really want to – bantandor Mar 19 '16 at 15:24
  • cheers @bantandor – Andy K Mar 19 '16 at 15:39

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