I interviewed or was requested for an interview multiple times both over the phone, Skype, and in person. This is the cover letter that worked for me. I want you the reader to gain something useful for your own cover letters of the present or future.
My First Paragraph:
Dear Sir, Dear Madame,
I came across the Position Title at Company Name and in reading the description I thought it was interesting. I believe that I am qualified to apply for the position. I have 7 year of experience in organic synthesis, 5 years of experience in polymer synthesis and characterization ranging from thermoplastics to thermosets to hydrogels, and 3 years of experience with nanoparticles such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, cellulose nanocrystals and their implementation as fillers for nanocomposites. Additionally I have 1 year of experience with bacterial cellulose aerogels, fermentation, and pyrolysis to carbon fiber aerogels. I also have 3 years of experience working in a venture capital funded start-up company developing a completely implantable glucose sensor and am familiar with difficulties in signal processing, optics, and basic construction of sensors to detect specific molecules through fluorescence spectroscopy.
This paragraph is meant to act in lieu of my resume not being read or if my resume is read then it’s a succinct summary of what is on the resume. Most hiring managers want to know if you have what it takes to perform the required duties. This paragraph should immediately qualify you in terms of length and diversity of experience, skills, and also explain your motivation for wanting to apply.
The first paragraph flies in the face of most cover letter guidelines, but I have heard from multiple sources that hiring managers both academically and privately appreciate how direct this paragraph is to the reader. If the first paragraph was about experience skills, and motivation then the second is about how I work with people.
I have worked extensively in collaborative and cross-disciplinary groups with a wide variety of engineers, scientists, and marketers in both professional and academic settings. I organized collaborations with different universities as part of my research project, which resulted in several scientific publications. I am comfortable presenting results to both technical and non-technical audiences, while bridging the gap between early research and manufacturing. I have strong experience in communicating technical details both at National Conferences in Europe and the United States and to our labs industrial partners. I directed independent research projects for B.S and M.S. students. I was the leading researcher in managing a multi-million dollar NSF funded project: Partnerships for International Research and Education (PIRE-RENEW), which involved close collaboration between our lab, engineers at Case Western Reserve University, and two labs in Europe.
This paragraph is meant to highlight my soft skills or experience in working with people and the results of working with those people. I mention that collaborations that I organized have resulted in several publications (which they can find in my resume). This paragraph demonstrates I am capable of communicating knowledge to others in a wide variety of settings. Finally, this paragraph serves to demonstrate that I have project management experience and am capable of acting as a mentor. This paragraph serves to supplement the technical capabilities highlighted in the first paragraph with soft skills and is the Yin to the first paragraph’s Yang. Now it’s time to set the hook.
I believe that my strong background in polymer and materials science, cellulose modification, nanocomposites and characterization therefore of make me a strong candidate for the Position. I also believe that I will continue to expand my skill set at the same time and continue to expand my knowledge of polymer science, while contributing to the betterment of the The Company. This position interests me greatly. I look forward to the opportunity to discuss my qualifications further with you. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Quickly reaffirm the first 2 paragraphs and highlight that I am motivated to keep learning and bettering myself. I will not be a lump on a log once I’m in the company. Reaffirm my interest, but don’t say why (If you get called be prepared to answer this question). Always frame the job application as a discussion and thank the person for time and consideration (if they make to the end). I actually felt that this was the weakest part of my cover letter. If you the reader have suggestions leave me a comment.
Finally, your signature should have all the required information to contact you.