How to Write a Cover Letter for Job in the Life Sciences

A cover letter is an important part of any job application, but for those in the life sciences it is especially important. Find tips for writing a scientist cover letter as well as an outline and examples in our guide.

A cover letter is an important part of any job application, but for those in a competitive industry like the life sciences, it is especially important.

Your cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the job and explain the specific skills and experience you have in the scientific field.

Data shows that cover letters are important to employers. In a survey by ResumeLab, 83% of recruiters said that they would review a candidate with a nice cover letter even if their resume alone didn’t stand out, and 72% expect to see a cover letter even if the job ad doesn’t mention it.

How to Write a Cover Letter

So while a cover letter may not be the deciding factor in whether or not you get the job, it is definitely worth your time to write a good one.

Depending on the job you are applying for, your cover letter will vary in length and format. For example, if you hold a Ph.D., you will likely have a different cover letter than someone who is just starting their scientific career.

However, there are some elements that all cover letters should include.

Cover Letter Outline

There are many ways to format and write a cover letter, but the following is an outline of what should be included in every cover letter for a scientific position.

1. Heading and Introduction: The heading of your cover letter should include your name, address, phone number, and email. The introduction should briefly state who you are, what position you are applying for, and why you would be the perfect candidate. (Word Count - 50)

2. Body Paragraph 1: The first body paragraph should explain your motivation for applying to the specific position and organization. What about the job caught your eye? How does it fit with your career goals? Why are you the best candidate for the job? (Word Count - 100)

3. Body Paragraph 2: The second body paragraph should discuss your experience and skills that make you the perfect candidate for the job. What scientific experience do you have? What research skills have you acquired? How have you demonstrated leadership in your field? (Word Count - 100)

4. Body Paragraph 3: The third body paragraph is your opportunity to sell yourself as a well-rounded individual. What non-scientific skills do you have that would benefit the organization? Are you involved in any extracurricular activities that show your dedication to your field? (Word Count - 100)

5. Conclusion: The conclusion of your cover letter should briefly reiterate why you are the best candidate for the job and thank the reader for their time. (Word Count - 50)

Explain Why You Want the Job

In the first paragraph of your cover letter, explain why you are interested in the position. This will show the employer that you are not just applying for any old job, but that you have carefully considered this particular position and believe that you would be a good fit.

Grab their attention with a catchy opening line, and then explain why you would be perfect for the job. For example, you might say, “I am interested in this position because of my passion for environmental science and my desire to make a difference in the world.”

If you have any connection to the company or the hiring manager, mention it in the first paragraph. This could be something as simple as, “I was referred to this position by principal researcher, John Smith.”

Highlight Your Skills and Experience

In the second paragraph, go into more detail about your experience and skills that make you the ideal candidate for the job. This is your chance to really sell yourself and convince the employer that you are the right person for the job. Be sure to include specific examples of times when you have used your skills to achieve success.

You may also want to mention any relevant coursework or research experience you have. If you have had any publications, presentations, or awards, this is the time to list them.

The key here is to focus on your relevant experience and skills and to avoid being too general. It’s also important to know when to keep your cover letter short and sweet, and when you can afford to be a little wordier.

If you are applying for a job that is very similar to a role you have held in the past, you can be more concise in your cover letter. However, if you are changing careers or industries, you will need to spend more time explaining your skills and experience.

Explain Why You are a Valuable Addition

In the final paragraph, reiterate why you would be a valuable asset to the company and how your skills and experience can help them achieve their goals. This is your chance to leave a lasting impression on the employer and convince them that they need you on their team.

You can even end it off with a question or a call to action, such as, “I would love to come in for an interview and discuss how I can help your company achieve its goals.”

A well-written cover letter is an essential part of any job application, but for scientists, it is especially important. Your cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself as the perfect candidate for the job, so make sure to use these tips to write a great one.

To find life science jobs worthy of crafting the perfect cover letter, visit BioSpace‘s job board.

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