How to build a successful science cover letter
Professionals in the scientific field work in a wide array of positions and disciplines, from the study of biology and medical research to humanities and social science. Earning a position in your scientific discipline requires an optimized cover letter that showcases your most relevant professional strengths.
In this guide, we teach you all the essential information to include in a science cover letter. Continue reading to learn more about:
- Formatting your science cover letter header and headline
- Making your science cover letter personalized to specific employers
- Writing an effective introduction for your science cover letter
- Highlighting your professional strengths as a scientist
- Concluding your science cover letter with a well-written closing statement
1. Format your science cover letter header and headline properly
The beginning of any great science cover letter starts with an excellently formatted header and headline.
A cover letter header always comes first, placed at the top of the page. This header should contain key pieces of information about both you and the employer, such as:
- Your name and professional title
- Your professional contact information
- The name of the employer and/or company
- The department of the company you are applying to (when applicable)
- The address of the company
Here is an example of a well-formatted science cover letter header
John Doe, Biology Scientist
(123) 456-7890 | email@example.com | linkedin.com/in/john-doe
To: General Labs & Development, Inc.
Biology Science Department
1234 Street Address
Washington, D.C. 2001
Following your header is a cover letter headline. Think of this as a title to your cover letter that highlights key points and helps to captivate the employer’s attention.
Your headline should be one sentence or line of text and include compelling details that are highly relevant to both the position you are applying to and the content of your cover letter.
Here is an example of a well-written science cover letter headline
My 3-Step Approach to Conducting Scientific Research & How This Approach Can Benefit Your Lab
2. Make your science cover letter personalized to specific employers
Writing cover letters is a fairly commonplace practice, with most employers expecting to receive a cover letter when job applications are submitted for open positions.
What many applicants don’t realize, however, is that a core requirement of a successful cover letter is personalization. Personalization refers to a process of tailoring a cover letter to be highly specific to each individual employer, addressing their specific wants and needs.
To personalize a cover letter, it is crucial to research the employer thoroughly ahead of time to find out essential details, such as the company’s values and goals.
Additionally, you should always include a personalized greeting on your cover letter that addresses a specific person by name, such as the company CEO or a hiring manager.
Here are 3 examples of personalized science cover letter greetings
- Dear Lab Supervisor Jack Green,
- Dear Mr. Jack Green,
- Dear Hiring Manager Joe Johnson,
3. Write an effective introduction for your science cover letter
The next necessity for your science cover letter is an effective and compelling introduction.
Introductory paragraphs should be concise, typically between two to three sentences in total. In this introduction, you want to provide the employer with a clear explanation of why you are a qualified candidate that should be considered for the job.
Here is an example of an effective science cover letter introduction
Dear Lab Supervisor Jack Green,
I am a recent graduate of Columbia University with a Master of Science in Clinical Research Methods. In my time as a student at Columbia, I worked for 3 years as a lab assistant and 1 year as a lab teaching assistant. My experience in the university labs has given me the technical prowess and interpersonal competence to effectively fulfill the role of assistant lab supervisor at your company.
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4. Highlight your professional strengths as a scientist
In a resume, you spend a lot of your writing space delving into the specifics of your educational and work experience. Comparatively, in a cover letter, you should spend more time explaining your top achievements and relevant skills, highlighting these qualifications as your professional strengths.
As you describe your key skills and achievements, make sure to include details that are highly relevant to the position and include contextual information. Your primary goal is to show the employer the real-life value you bring to the table that gives you an edge over other applicants.
Here are 6 skills to describe in a science cover letter
- Examining and analyzing lab samples
- Documenting and writing reports on lab results
- Developing hypotheses that can be tested
- Communicating and collaborating with other scientists
- Specific scientific specializations (biology, botany, etc.)
- Deep knowledge of utilizing scientific equipment
Here is an example of how to describe an achievement in a science cover letter
As a Lab Scientist at [Former Employer], I worked as a lab assistant helping to supervise experiments carried out by undergraduate students. In this role, I play a key role as a student mentor, helping to implement safer laboratory practices that resulted in a 15% decrease in dangerous lab incidents. Additionally, I led a research experiment that resulted in the development of a new scientific patent for the university.
5. Conclude your science cover letter with a well-written closing statement
Anytime you write a science cover letter, you should always end with a strong conclusion that reiterates your excitement for the position and encourages the employer to get in touch with you.
In your conclusion, make sure to include:
- An enthusiastic sentence saying you are looking forward to hearing from them
- Key information on how to best get in contact with you, as well as the best days and times for contacting you are
- A formal sign-off
Here is an example of a strong conclusion from a science cover letter
As your company is one of the top scientific research centers in D.C., it brings me great excitement and gratitude to be considered for this position. I look forward to speaking with you more about this opportunity and am available to meet on Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. To best reach me, please call me at (123) 456-7890.
If you have ever wondered how a cover letter differs from a resume, this article will tell you everything about the key differences between the two.