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Written by Paul DruryPaul Drury

Scientist cover letter example

The scientist cover letter should contain the personality and behavioral skills that you bring to the lab. When you work in a team, your results come from how you work as well as what you think.
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Scientist cover letter example
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The nuances of scientific career success are often impossible to convey in a factual resume. The scientist cover letter offers the chance to explore some of your key accomplishments in detail, sharing how you work with others and how you deal with the inevitable obstacles. It is these personal touches that interest your future boss.

The scientist cover letter is a starting point for an interview. Think about your science stories that most fit the future role. The hiring manager will then take their lead from what you share.

Bear in mind the employer’s corporate culture and try to adopt the language of the laboratory where you will be working. The language that you use in your cover letter will be noted.

Scientist cover letter example

Adaptable scientist cover letter example

Dear Mrs. Green,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Scientist position at Pfizer. As a highly motivated and skilled life sciences professional with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and over five years of experience in pharmaceutical research, I am confident that my qualifications and passion for scientific innovation make me an ideal candidate for this role.

Throughout my academic and professional career, I have developed a deep understanding of the drug discovery process and have consistently demonstrated my ability to design and execute complex research projects. My expertise in protein chemistry, cell biology, and assay development has enabled me to contribute to the advancement of multiple drug discovery programs.

In my current role as a Senior Scientist at Merck, I have been responsible for leading a team of scientists in the development of novel small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of oncology indications. My work has involved the design and optimization of high-throughput screening assays, the analysis of complex datasets, and the identification of lead compounds for further development. Through my efforts, I have successfully identified several promising drug candidates that have progressed to preclinical studies.

One of my notable achievements was the development of a novel assay platform that significantly improved the efficiency and accuracy of our drug screening process. By collaborating with cross-functional teams, including bioinformatics and automation specialists, I helped to reduce screening timelines by 30% and increase the quality of our data output. This innovation has been widely adopted across the organization and has contributed to the acceleration of our drug discovery efforts.

I am particularly drawn to Pfizer's commitment to pushing the boundaries of scientific innovation and developing life-changing therapies for patients in need. I believe that my research expertise, problem-solving skills, and dedication to scientific excellence would make me a valuable addition to your research team.

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further how my skills and experience can contribute to the groundbreaking research being conducted at Pfizer.

Sincerely,

Thomas Brooks

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Sections of a scientist cover letter

The scientist cover letter should cover some of the highlights of your career, but only the stories that are relevant to what you will be doing next. What are your motivations for the role? How does the job fit in with your wider career plan? What are the personal traits that will ensure that you become a valuable member of the lab team?

You likely have a lot to say, so it is important to choose an effective structure for the scientist cover letter.

  1. Cover letter header. Include your contact details—full name, email, mobile, and maybe LinkedIn account. Including your pronouns is also a valid choice that many candidates are following.
  2. Greeting. Look up the hiring manager if they are not included in the job description. Try to personalize the letter—you may be speaking directly to your future boss.
  3. Introduction. Start with your most relevant scientific accomplishment. Remember, this is just an introduction. Leave the full detail until the interview but quantify the achievement to offer some sense of scale if possible.
  4. Body. Make sure that the body of the cover letter is full of scientific success. Don’t waffle too much and quantify your accomplishments where possible. Ask yourself whether you are sharing things that will truly elevate you above the competition.
  5. Conclusion. The last few sentences should focus on your desire to find out more about the role. Every scientist is curious. This is a great way to prompt the hiring manager to invite you to an interview.
  6. Signature. End the cover letter with a professional goodbye.

Every section of your cover letter should fit together to further your narrative. Tailoring your letter to the precise needs of the role is essential. Go beyond what is written in the job description. What are the real challenges in the role that few others will be able to handle?

Brevity is key. A one-page cover letter is more than enough for any scientist. While your results should be easily measurable in your resume, those few lines of personality and motivation will complement your accomplishments nicely.

For more cover letter advice, check out our comprehensive guide on how to write a cover letter.

After designing the header and addressing the hiring manager, it is time to get into your scientific career sales pitch.

Introduction of a scientist cover letter

Thinking about how to start a cover letter can be confusing for a scientist. Their job is so complicated, so simplifying it into a few select stories may take some time. Which projects are most suitable to include? How much detail should they share about their lab work? What will resonate with their future boss?

Select the most complicated and scientifically advanced project that you can, showcasing your knowledge of cutting-edge technology and your ability to achieve results within the context of a wider team. Very little great science happens in isolation.

Do

Dear Mr. Whittle,

With over six years of experience and a proven track record of increasing lab efficiency by 40% and reducing cross-contamination incidents by 30%, I am eager to contribute to your innovative team. My expertise in microbiological techniques and data analysis has enabled me to effectively streamline processes and enhance quality control measures.

Don't

Hi, I like being a scientist and working in laboratories on interesting projects. I have a biosciences degree and am interested in furthering my knowledge in biotechnology. I would love to work with an industry leader in this field.

Including figures and percentages is essential for any scientist. The hiring manager has to understand that you measure everything that you do. If a figure is not that impressive, leave it out. Is reducing cross-contamination by 30% really that impressive?

Adaptable cover letter introduction example

Dear Mrs. Green,

I am writing to express my strong interest in the Scientist position at Pfizer. As a highly motivated and skilled life sciences professional with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and over five years of experience in pharmaceutical research, I am confident that my qualifications and passion for scientific innovation make me an ideal candidate for this role.

Copied!

Scientist cover letter body

In the body of your cover letter, consider the following template:

  • Think about the value that you add, over and above the laboratory job description.
  • Mention your teamwork skills, i.e. how you achieve with those around you.
  • Come across as meticulous, curious, and ambitious. You will go the extra mile.
  • End with a sense of urgency.

First body paragraph: your suitability for the role (skills & experience)

There are a few different approaches for the first paragraph of the cover letter. They will depend on the nature of the role. Here are a few ideas that may work for you:

  1. Highlight your education. ​​Sharing the latest courses and qualifications is a great way of showing a scientist hiring manager that your knowledge is cutting edge.
  2. Emphasize the specifics of the science. Don’t be afraid to go deep into the details of what you have done. This is a risk, but if you are certain about the demands of the job it is a great way to differentiate yourself from other generic cover letters.
  3. Demonstrate being process-driven but creative. Scientists are driven by laboratory processes, but how do you cope when things go wrong? Show that you have you have what it takes to deal with unexpected situations and get things back on track.
Expert tip

Browse the LinkedIn profile of people that you will be working with. They will likely share information about their most recent work. Make sure that you do it in incognito mode though – you don’t want to seem like a stalker.

Second body paragraph(s): alignment with the organization

When you think about the employer that you are joining, consider the skills that they need you to bring to work. This will very much depend on the type of science that you will be involved with, but there is certainly plenty of crossover.

According to the American Society for Molecular Biology, the top ten real-world skills that scientists bring to the workplace are:

Teamwork, mentoring, teaching, project management, independent learning, clear writing, presentation design, public speaking, data organization, and problem-solving.

Adaptable cover letter middle part example

Throughout my academic and professional career, I have developed a deep understanding of the drug discovery process and have consistently demonstrated my ability to design and execute complex research projects. My expertise in protein chemistry, cell biology, and assay development has enabled me to contribute to the advancement of multiple drug discovery programs.

In my current role as a Senior Scientist at Merck, I have been responsible for leading a team of scientists in the development of novel small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of oncology indications. My work has involved the design and optimization of high-throughput screening assays, the analysis of complex datasets, and the identification of lead compounds for further development. Through my efforts, I have successfully identified several promising drug candidates that have progressed to preclinical studies.

One of my notable achievements was the development of a novel assay platform that significantly improved the efficiency and accuracy of our drug screening process. By collaborating with cross-functional teams, including bioinformatics and automation specialists, I helped to reduce screening timelines by 30% and increase the quality of our data output. This innovation has been widely adopted across the organization and has contributed to the acceleration of our drug discovery efforts.

I am particularly drawn to Pfizer's commitment to pushing the boundaries of scientific innovation and developing life-changing therapies for patients in need. I believe that my research expertise, problem-solving skills, and dedication to scientific excellence would make me a valuable addition to your research team.

Copied!

Call to action & conclusion: finish off strong

Sum up your cover letter in the final lines and leave the hiring manager curious to find out more about you during a potential interview.

Share that you are also looking forward to finding out more. This call-to-action will show that you are keen and may hint that you won’t be on the job market for long.

You might wish to express your gratitude for the opportunity of an interview.

Adaptable cover letter conclusion and sign-off example

Thank you for considering my application. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss further how my skills and experience can contribute to the groundbreaking research being conducted at Pfizer.

Sincerely,

Thomas Brooks

Copied!

Conclude by signing off with your name. Make sure that you include first name and surname – don’t risk ruining your chances by being too casual.

How to write a scientist cover letter with no experience 

It is unlikely that you will get a scientist role with zero experience, but if you have done things like volunteering and internships, it is likely that you will have enough to talk about in that first permanent job interview.

Consider these points:

  • Highlight transferable skills. While you might not have a lot of lab experience, communication and interpersonal skills can be transferable from many other jobs that you may have done thus far.
  • Showcase accuracy and attention to detail. If you are a fast learner, you will cope with working in the demands of a busy lab. Having said this, without detail-orientation, you won’t last long.
  • Mention industry experience. It may help if you have worked in a non-scientific role in your target industry. Any kind of transferable experience might make a difference.

These points will help balance out the lack of direct experience. For more detailed advice, check out our guide on writing a cover letter with no experience.

Key takeaways

A successful scientist cover letter highlights your relevant skills, experiences, and role fit.

Try our cover letter builder to experiment with the possibilities. Don’t send the cover letter off until you are happy with it.

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