Is it ok if I mention one of my published papers in the motivation letter when applying for a postdoc position, in the following way:

I published an article "authors, title, journal, volume, issue..." where I used an approach which interfere with the research interests of the "name of research group of the employing institution".

  • 2
    I don't think "interfere" is the word you are looking for here. Unless you really mean to say "if you hire me, I will stop you from working"? – nengel Nov 24 '17 at 3:24
  • Mention the article, but don't spell out full bibliographic details, since doing so would be distracting and weaken the power of your presentation. Say "In my earlier work, I used basketweaving to improve the memory recall of dev-ops (Nature 2017)." – lighthouse keeper Nov 24 '17 at 9:50
  • @lighthousekeeper Please don't answer in comments. – Tommi Nov 26 '17 at 8:09

You can mention a publication, but you can also simply refer to what you have done, as in "I have researched / worked on / etc. [subject matter]. I am interested in exploring it further.". If you are certain that the relevance of this is obvious to the people reading the letter, then you don't need to be explicit about it; mention some keywords in [subject matter]. If you are not certain the target audience knows of the connection, then you should certainly mention how [subject matter] is connected to whatever they are investigating.

The full bibliographic details are presumably available in your CV or list of publications (or both), so I would not mention anything more than the title of the paper or some prestigious collaborator (in my paper with professor blargh, we discovered...).

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