Monday, January 02, 2012

I Am Exactly What You Are Looking For

How many different ways are there to write an obnoxious Cover Letter? There are an infinite variety of ways, but some themes are becoming apparent. Here is another entry in the CL letter contest.

Dear Mrs. Wrong Name:

I saw the ad for computational science postdoctoral research associate, and immediately realized that I was exactly what you are looking for: a physicist with the right mix of computing and science expertise.

I've had a lot of experience answering fundamental questions of the universe with Visual Basic and Excel.  My mom always asks me to fix her computer when something goes wrong with it.  Although I have never used a supercomputer, I've skimmed some of the slides from your supercomputing course, and it looks to be foundational.  I am sure that I will catch on quickly.

The atomic nucleus consists of protons and neutrons.  The proton has a positive charge, and the neutron has no charge.  I've solved Schrodinger's equation on nuclear configurations all the way up to Uranium, using my spreadsheet model, but I'll probably need a supercomputer to get more digits of accuracy.

I am applying for your postdoc position because I am currently unemployed and living with my sister. I did have a postdoc before, but I had to resign because the winters were too cold and I hated all the deadlines.  There's also a guy I met once, a fellow alum of my undergraduate institution (admittedly, 10 years my senior) who works at your institution in a different department and should be able to provide a good recommendation.

I've heard that you pay really well, especially compared to other institutions, but I hope you'll be able to afford to reward someone with my level of experience.  I can't wait to hear from you.

E. Gomaniac


Pramod said...

Happy new year everyone!

I don't know if there's going to be a best letter award, but if there is my vote goes to this one.

Anonymous said...

you sure someone wrote it to you, or you just making it up yourself to get attention and increased readership in your blog ?

A post doc applicant, who obviously is a PhD, can not write such a letter unless he was supervised by a mentally sick professor. Such a letter from an undergrad is not unusual, but from a PhD .. come on ! It's too impossible to believe !

Female Science Professor said...

I think we can safely assume that the letter is a joke, intending to highlight in a rather extreme way some aspects of obnoxious cover letters. Such letters are rare but do exist.

When announcing the contest, I forgot to say that those submitting letters should let me know if they want their name (real or otherwise) attached to their entry. If I have posted a letter from anyone who wants me to add their name, just send me an email.

Kea said...

I saw the ad for computational science postdoctoral research associate, and immediately realized that I was exactly what you are looking for: a physicist with the right mix of computing and science expertise.

As a physicist who was actually offered a good CompSci postdoc in Europe (but turned it down out of an aversion to their collective misogyny) ... ROFLOL. You have no idea how common this stuff really is! On the other hand, there are some CompSci people who have never taken a Physics course in their entire lives, who are quite convinced they know more particle physics than any professional physicist. Really. And most GoldenBoy hep physicists would laugh at the idea that CompSci is anything but piss easy. Hence the letter, because, I mean, how hard could it be?

Funny times we live in. A lot of 'talk' about the need for interdisciplinary research, but no jobs for real interdisciplinary researchers, since Overspecialised HotShot must give jobs to his buddy's latest Overspecialised GoldenBoy. I can almost see the steam eminating from the frustrated heads of fund administrators around the world.

Anonymous said...

We received an excellent one that basically touted this candidates excellence with graduate students, graduate courses, and courses with topics (such as advanced microscopy) for which we have no equipment. We also have no graduate program. Please candidates, just do a cursory poke around on our website and look at degrees offered and also look at the facilities page.

Alex said...

Anon at 1:57 reminds me of all the letters I receive from people telling me that they'd like to be my graduate student. It's a shame that we have no grad program, or I could take on all of these excellent students and build an amazing group, hampered only by the small issue of my group being populated by people who can't read.

The best, by far, was when I was a postdoc, and I got a letter with awful grammar, from a student saying that he/she wants to work with me because I'm a famous professor in a field in which I'd just published one paper as a side project.

Anonymous said...

Cleaning out my inbox, I found this gem (edited only to protect the "innocent"?):

Dear Sir/Madam
I am Dr. XYZ, Assistant Professor, ABC University, Foreign Country, I have done my PhD form Austria in field of Analytical/Phyto/Natural Product chemistry under kind supervision of Prof Someone. I am also working on a project to be submitted soon, funded by ? in collaboration with Prof Collaborator. To avail this opportunity to enhance knowledge and research exposure, I need a formal Invitation letter from your side as soon as possible (in today's date) so that it can be submitted to officials in no time, else am afraid of losing this golden chance.

It is therefore requested that kindly send me an invitation letter (stating that you or your research group accepts me as a Post. Doc. Researcher in Fullbright scholarship scheme 2012) to join your team. fellow and work in your kind collaboration. It would be an honor for me to work with you and learn from your expertise, to be implemented/introduced in my home country in future.

Best Regards,