Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Sent from my iPhone

My favorite part of this Cover Letter entry is the very last line, below the signature, but there are other gems in here.


Dear Ms. Female S. Professor,

Sorry my cover letter is arriving so late.  I would have gotten it in earlier, but you know, I just couldn't get to it because my schedule was really booked the last two weeks.  I've been working on my work/life balance lately and my therapist encouraged me to prioritize work less, which I decided meant focusing my energy for all of December on decorating my apartment for a raging holiday party.

I'd really like to do a postdoc at your university, and you seem like you'd be pretty cool to work with (BTW, I heard about your blog!  Don't worry, your real identity is on the DL).  I haven't seen any announcements that you have any interest in hiring postdocs, and I know your research isn't really in my area, so I figured since you're a professor and all you could probably just write a grant for me.  I can just hang out at my PhD institution leeching my advisor's funding until your grant gets accepted.  I don't really know how to write grants yet so I don't think I should help.  Plus, I know from your blog that you're a really great writer!  So I'll leave the writing to you. 

So anyway, attached are my application materials.  I'm sure you'll gather from this that I have a promising academic career ahead of me.  I have enough teaching experience that I'm sure I'll get a faculty job as soon as I apply, which I intend to start working on full time as soon as I get settled in at your university.  Also, I have a ton of publications and research skills that will also look good on those applications. I won't bore you with the details since you aren't in my subfield anyway. Be sure not to overlook the Science paper that I'm third author on.  The first author is a labmate of mine who is way more ambitious than I am.  The only thing that's really missing from my CV is a postdoc position at your university, so I can't wait for you to round that out for me.

Getting back to my work/life balance, I'd definitely take a postdoc at your university because I'm really excited about all the opportunities to get outside in your area.  I can't wait to spend all my winters skiing only a multiple hour drive away and my summers in the nice warm water that's a few hours drive in a different direction!  I should be able to stop by the university at least once a week in order to do laundry and check my mail for those faculty job offers.

XOXO and TTYS,
Millennium generation grad student

*Sent from my iPhone*

14 comments:

Janice said...

*slow hand clap*

You know, with someone so focused on what they need, a postdoc would be a real imposition on them. Someone should just offer this special snowflake a faculty job.

Amirite?

Anonymous said...

I see no problem from sending emails with an iPhone. I am using an iPhone now to send this comment. I agree that a cover letter might be over the top, but for everyday email, iPhone/blackberry messaging is fine in my view.

Doesn't Matter said...

Yes, Anonymous 10:18...

But before actually sending email from one's iPhone, one should go to their Settings icon > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Signature, and remove the *sent from my iPhone* tagline.

Otherwise you just seem ignorant or lazy.

Kea said...

... you could probably just write a grant for me.

This isn't actually a joke. The system is now so centred around exploitation that most PIs do in fact write the grants. I had to fight hard to be allowed to write grants for myself, and then I was not permitted to submit them. So I tried to submit grants in secret, but even that didn't work. This dude is probably just what they're looking for ...

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:18 - Surely you can see the difference between sending everyday email or commenting on a blog via iPhone vs. sending in a cover letter for an application for a job. Maybe that would be kool and trendy for some jobs and maybe academia is too stuffy to appreciate that, but someone who taps out a cover letter (esp an obnoxious one) on their iPhone may not give a good impression (whether that is right or not; maybe it means they are an incredible multi-tasker).

SoloGen said...

Regarding iPhone: I bet 20 years ago people found sending a cover letter by an email offensive.
That being said, I agree that having a sentence saying that this email is "Sent by iPhone" is as silly as stating that "This email is written on a Linux machine" or even "This letter is written by a Parker pen".

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder if this guy just wanted to get on the blog...

Anonymous said...

So funny!
Yes many Millenials seem very oblivious to the idea that people may actually *gasp* judge them. I'm always amazed at how some students just assume I'll be impressed by them - even if they show little aptitude or effort for a class or research project. Oddly this never comes from my students working 20+ hours a week at jobs in addition to school - they assume they have to meet someone's expectations.

Anonymous said...

Hats off to the applicant's iPhone typing skills that they wrote such a verbose letter on their phone. On the other hand, maybe they dictated it with the new 4S dictation feature.

Doug said...

I was told that "sent by my iPhone" is useful information, so that a brief email is interpreted correctly rather than seeming brusque.

As Anonymous 10:18 am wrote, certainly there is a time and place for brief emails sent from an iPhone. The funny part(to me) of that for the cover letter is not that they forgot to remove the tag, but more that it's amusing to picture someone typing out a huge long email on the phone.

CSgrad said...

Man, I would not want to type all that on a smartphone.

Anonymous said...

Is this a *real* cover letter that was sent to you (or even a paraphrased one)? It's hard to believe anyone, including a millennial, would consider that to be a professional cover letter. Never in a million years would I compose something like to a prospective employer/supervisor.

Doug Natelson said...

Kea, there is also a cultural difference between theory and experiment. In my area, where a lab with experimental infrastructure is needed, it is common for a PI to write a grant requesting postdoc support, and it would be extremely difficult for a postdoc to write a solo grant.

jamieXML said...

So, this person wants to go straight from PhD to tenure, then?