Effective Cover Letter Tips for PhDs

Free resume

critique

  • Roman

Effective Cover Letter Tips for PhDs

Follow these 3 strategies to make sure your cover letter stands out as a PhD graduate.





It's no secret that a cover letter is just as important as a resume during the job application process. A great cover letter expands on experiences with more detail and allows candidates to showcase their skills for a particular role.


If you're a PhD graduate, make sure to follow these 3 quick tips for an effective cover letter for biology, chemistry, consultant, or non-academic jobs.



Personalize your introduction


Think of the first paragraph as a sales pitch to formally introduce yourself. In this section, try to be concise as possible as you present your background. As long as it's relevant to the exact job posting, you can pretty much talk about anything here including your education, interests, area of expertise, career goals, and other experiences.


Unless you found the job posting yourself through an online job board, the introduction is also a way to let the hiring manager know how you heard about the opportunity - always mention if you talked to someone internally about the role in this section as it shows your interest.


Finally, if you're 100% confident in the hiring manager's name, it's always best to formally address the cover letter to them. Often times, job descriptions have the role of the hiring manager but not their name. If this is the case, use LinkedIn to look them up and make your cover letter a bit more personal.



Compartmentalize your body paragraphs


An effective way to plan out your body paragraphs is to simply take a few skills that the employer is looking for and talk about personal examples when you demonstrated them. Try to keep to 3 skills to make sure that the cover letter doesn't get too messy. Remember that you're also trying to make these examples as detailed as possible so you're already working with limited space. As you expand on your experiences, use STAR (situation, task, action, result) format to build your story.



Make the last paragraph about the company


A common mistake that candidates do is making the last paragraph too much about themselves. Use this opportunity to do research about the company and mention any relevant particulars such as new initiatives underway or current organizational challenges. This shows you did your research and didn't just send off a generic cover letter.



Personalize your introduction


Think of the first paragraph as a sales pitch to formally introduce yourself. In this section, try to be concise as possible as you present your background. As long as it's relevant to the exact job posting, you can pretty much talk about anything here including your education, interests, area of expertise, career goals, and other experiences.


Unless you found the job posting yourself through an online job board, the introduction is also a way to let the hiring manager know how you heard about the opportunity - always mention if you talked to someone internally about the role in this section as it shows your interest.


Finally, if you're 100% confident in the hiring manager's name, it's always best to formally address the cover letter to them. Often times, job descriptions have the role of the hiring manager but not their name. If this is the case, use LinkedIn to look them up and make your cover letter a bit more personal.



Compartmentalize your body paragraphs


An effective way to plan out your body paragraphs is to simply take a few skills that the employer is looking for and talk about personal examples when you demonstrated them. Try to keep to 3 skills to make sure that the cover letter doesn't get too messy. Remember that you're also trying to make these examples as detailed as possible so you're already working with limited space. As you expand on your experiences, use STAR (situation, task, action, result) format to build your story.



Make the last paragraph about the company


A common mistake that candidates do is making the last paragraph too much about themselves. Use this opportunity to do research about the company and mention any relevant particulars such as new initiatives underway or current organizational challenges. This shows you did your research and didn't just send off a generic cover letter.



Thanks for reading and I hope you found this useful as you're rewriting your cover letter for scientist, consultant, or non-academic jobs.