Careers in NeuroscienceDr. Mansi A. ShahPA 8 - The Cover Letter (taken/modified from UC Davis’ career center)1.The pages that follow go over the basics of a cover letter. Now, these are relevant for jobs you areapplying for in undergrad and during your post-undergrad period. If you are going to graduateschool, where you would use a cover letter is to apply to research labsduring undergrad.2.We will go over the basics of cover letter writing because it will be relevant for you at some point,however I will detail the specifics as it relates to getting into a research lab. The overall format is thesame for getting into a research lab as an undergrad as in a “typical” job, but a few extra detailsshould be included.3.Using a basic cover letter when “cold” applying to research positions will set you apart from othercandidates and help you get a response back from PIs. Many students simply ask the PI whether aposition is available without offering any details about themselves, which is a way to certainlyreceive no response back from the PI.4.For a cover letter to apply to research labs, everything listed in the next few pages applies with thefollowing modifications:a.Try to keep your cover letter shorter than the 3 recommended paragraphs, and I think 2are more than sufficient. I say this because PIs likely want “quick” information about you interms of GPA/experience and too long of a letter is harder to get through.b.In the opening paragraph, state what year you are in, your major, and why you want tospecifically work in their lab (research perspective).c.In the second paragraph, list your GPA (and state specific science courses and your scienceGPA if it is strong), and any other experience you have (USE transferable skill list). Thenstate what you hope to get out of the experience and why you could contribute (in a broadsense).d.End with stating you are attaching your resume and look forward to hearing from them.1
A cover letter or letter of intent should go with most resumes submitted for consideration forjobs or internships. If you can only upload one document, you can make your letter/resumeinto a two-page document with a page break in-between the two sections. A cover letter isimportant because:•It introduces you and your resume.•It explains why you are a good fit forthis opportunity.•It bridges the gap between yourresume and the reader/employer.Cover Letter Do’s•Limit the cover letter to one page ifpossible, unless applying to academicfaculty, teaching or researchpositions.•Use the same font and formattingin the cover letter as you use inyour resume.•You might also want to use thesame header in both a cover letterand resume. See header formattingexamples.