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  1. #1
    andrey_m is offline Newbie
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    Default Please check my CL for PhD position

    Greetings to all!

    It's my second attempt to write an academic cover letter (the first one was just awful). Now I think that I have used everything I know about letters, English and academics, and I need some outside perspective to be more confident.

    So, here is a cover letter for a PhD position for german professor, and it would be very nice if someone would review it.

    Dear Dr. Someone

    I am writing to apply for the PhD position in the Group Name research group. I am currently a research student at the My Institute Name (MIN) basically dealing with Web Technologies, User Interface design and Geographic Information Systems.

    I believe that my academic training and work experience prepare me to be an effective researcher. For the last 10 years I have been studying Computer Science and particularly Internet Technologies. Being a High-school student I graduated extended education courses of Web-master (2002) and Perl developer (2003). In 2008 I took Specialist Diploma (equiv. Masterís degree) in Applied Mathematics and Informatics. In 2008 I became a research student in Mathematical and Software support of computer complexes, systems and networks at the MIN.

    In high school I attended Olympiads on Mathematics, Geography, IT, Chemistry and Economics (school, district and city rounds). In 2005 I attended the ACM quarter final (International Collegiate Programming Contest). My high school grade point average (GPA) is equal to 5 out of 5 (5 corresponds to 1 in German educational system) and Specialist Diploma GPA is 4.6 out of 5.

    I have solid experience in PHP, MySQL, (x)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, JQuery and since recently Backbone.js (my other computer skills are presented in CV). I have developed more than 15 business websites, most of all based on my own CMS. On my current position of research student my academic work is generally devoted to development of the Geoinformational Internet-portal of MYN. Iíve designed and implemented several web-applications for this portal, including wiki (based on DokuWiki), client-side metadata catalogue, user authentication library and others. I also have several conference reports and publications that are listed in my CV.

    In addition to what is said above, this month Iíve started to study German as a second foreign language. I would enjoy discussing this position with you in the weeks to come. In the meantime, I am enclosing my Curriculum Vitae. If you require any additional materials or information, I am happy to supply it. Thank you very much for your consideration.

    Sincerely,

    Me.
    Everyone, thank you for you consideration.

    BTW, could you check my entire post for mistakes?

    Thanks again.

    PS: I really like English, but I almost haven't got any practice for 3 years, so excuse my illiteracy :(

  2. #2
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Please check my CL for PhD position

    What does this mean -- "for a PhD position for german professor"??
    It's a tenure-track position or are you applying for a PhD program?

    Your letter isn't appropriate for either. But I'm going by American/Canadian conventions. I don't know what they want in Germany.

  3. #3
    andrey_m is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Please check my CL for PhD position

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    What does this mean -- "for a PhD position for german professor"??
    Hm. Stupid phrase indeed. Pardon me. It means, that I write this letter to german professor to apply for a PhD position, not for a tenure-track.

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    Your letter isn't appropriate for either.
    Could you explain it more definitely?

    And thank you for your attention.

  4. #4
    konungursvia's Avatar
    konungursvia is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Please check my CL for PhD position

    This letter should be 2 pages long, about 600 or 700 words. Take away the vagueness of "basically" and put in the details of what you have been doing for your research. Include the title of your thesis, what you did in it, and how it relates to the research of the actual department you are applying to. Get rid of the high school references, no one cares at the PhD level.

  5. #5
    andrey_m is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Please check my CL for PhD position

    Oh my! You're quite right.

    I feel like everything I wrote is dumb. Why haven't I noticed it before? :/

    Thanks a lot, konungursvia.

  6. #6
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Please check my CL for PhD position

    And indicate how your previous research will tie in with what you want to research if admitted to their program. What you have done is great, but what are you going to do? Be as concrete as possible. Avoid vague and cliche words.

    Your letter reads like you're applying for an office job. You should be checking on how to write *academic* cvs and applications.

    The style of resumes and cover letters you write when applying for other kinds of jobs is not appropriate.

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