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Guide to prospective graduate students and postdocs

I wanted to put together some helpful tips for prospective graduate students and postdocs. Please review them carefully. 


Reaching out:

  1. When reaching out, always include a brief cover letter outlining your intentions. Get to the point as quick as possible, which means being as concise as possible.

  2. If you are inquiring about a possible job listing (either graduate / postdoc fellowship) from our group, please include your CV in addition to a brief cover letter.

    1. ​One tip here, never send an empty email with only CV and say "see my CV". ​​I find this very inappropriate.

    2. Avoid beginning your email with "Dear Sir/Madam." You are not sending your resume to a corporation with thousands of employees with whom you are unfamiliar. 

    3. Always review the admission requirements beforehand, and avoid asking questions that is already accessible in the department's webpage (i.e., when is the application deadline for graduate students?)

A good and concise email can be:

Dear Dr. XXX,

I am writing to apply for XXX position in XXX, as advertised XXX. Currently, I am XXX in XXX.

My research interests are XXXX and I studied XXX for this purpose so far. I believe my background is a great fit for the advertised project because of XXXX.

Enclosed in this application please find my XXX, XXX. Please let me know if I can provide additional information in support my application. I appreciate being considered for this XXX position at XXX and look forward to hearing from you.




Please check the National Postdoctoral Association's "GRADUATE STUDENT RESOURCE FOR CHOOSING A POSTDOC" page. There are some excellent suggestions.


  • A brief statement : Who you are

  • In which laboratory did you complete your graduate work?  

  • When you will/have completed your doctoral degree 

  • A succinct overview of your previous work (graduate student, first postdoc) 

  • Emphasize significant publications 

  • Why are you interested in the laboratory? (Be precise!! Demonstrate that you have conducted research on the lab and the type of job they perform) 

  • What you may bring to the laboratory (Once again, be precise! Suggestions for projects to which you might be able to participate, talents you possess that might be useful to the lab, and so on.) 

  • Include a curriculum vitae and PDFs of (significant) publications

The most critical consideration in the application process, in my opinion, is whether a particular postdoctoral position will assist you in achieving your professional goals. If your professional objectives do not coincide with the group's current activities, it is a time-consuming endeavor for both parties (for both the applicant and the group leader). If you believe you are a great fit for the role, carefully evaluate this and alter your application accordingly.

Another key aspect to note is that postdoctoral positions are intended to prepare early-career scientists (newly graduated or soon-to-be-graduated PhD candidates or postdocs) for careers in academia. We need to look into other options if you already have a position as a Professor in an accredited college/university. Being a visiting scholar, for example, is one alternative. In that situation, your expenses should be covered by your institution (or organization). Another possibility is that we draft a collaborative proposal for a project that will cover your visit. Of course, this is a protracted process that necessitates a strong collaborative effort on both ends. Such cooperation are always welcome. Please contact me via email if you are interested.

Last updated on October, 2021

Prospective Students: Text
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