Even if it is not expressly required, a cover letter should be included with your application materials to act as a marketing tool for you and your application information. This is particularly important for a postdoctoral work candidate because there is more information in a curriculum vitae for a hiring professional to negotiate. Utilizing some key points can help you write an excellent cover letter for the postdoc position you desire.
Use your graduate department’s letterhead. For an academic position or postdoctoral work, it is considered proper to use the letterhead of the institution and department that granted your doctoral degree for your cover letter. Two spaces beneath the department heading, type your address block. Skip two spaces and spell out the current date. Skip two more spaces and address the letter to the hiring manager or appropriate faculty member for the desired position. Plan your cover letter to be a single page and approximately four paragraphs long.
Begin the first paragraph of your cover letter by expressing interest in the particular position. Write your cover letter in the first person. For example, start your first sentence, “I am writing to express an interest in the Structural Engineering position,” followed by where you heard about the job offer. Give a brief overview of the cover letter and express an interest in an interview to discuss your qualifications in person.
Summarize your educational background in the second paragraph. Work your degrees and the institutions you received them from into promotional but professional sentences. Elaborate on how the experience gained earning your graduate degree helped qualify you for the position you seek. Discuss any research you were involved in during your graduate studies. Discuss how your experience and skills make you a valuable asset to the organization.
Use the third paragraph to direct attention to relevant areas of your curriculum vitae. According to the University of California at Berkeley, you should use your cover letter to point out information on your CV that exemplifies applicable experience. Continue to express ways in which your experience makes you an excellent candidate for the position you seek. Direct employers to your most important educational and work references, like your dissertation faculty adviser, and your most important work supervisor.
Write a closing paragraph that reviews the undergraduate and post graduate educational work that exemplifies your ability to fill the position. Repeat your assertion that you can bring value to the organization and restate an interest in meeting in person to give more information about your skills. Express appreciation for your potential employer’s time and consideration.
Always have a good editor look over your cover letter before sending your application materials to a company.