How to search for a research advisor by e-mail?

In this blog post, I will talk about how to search for a research advisor by e-mail.

I will talk about this because today, I received an e-mail from a Ph.D student from abroad asking to work with me as a post-doc on the topic of “Web Services”.  Let’s have a look at the e-mail and then I will discuss the problems with this  e-mail.


Dear Professor Fournier-Viger,

My name is XXXXXX. I am interested in many areas, including but not limited to “XXXXX”. I am very interested in applying for a postdoctoral position in your lab.

I completed my Ph.D XXXXXXXX majored in XXXX, from XXXXX University, in XXXXXX. Before that, I focused on XXXXXXX both in Master and Bachelor studies.

My research goal is to provide a novel service model XXXXXXXXXXX and so on.

I have many years’ experience in service computing research. And the areas I can pursue is as following,
Mulit-agent research;
Services computing research;

I would be grateful if you would give me the opportunity to work in your group. The attached is my CV for your review.
I am eagerly looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

When I read this e-mail, I see right away that this message was probably sent to hundreds or thousands of professors. The reason why I get this impression is that I’m not working on “web services” and that the student write about HIS research interests instead of talking about why he is interested in working with me. When I receive this kind of e-mails, I usually delete them and I know that several other professors in other universities do the same.  On the other hand, if I receive a personalized message from a student that explain why he wants to work for me, I will take the time to read it carefully and answer it.

The advice that I wanted to give in this post is that to be successful when searching for a research advisor by e-mail, it is important to write personalized e-mails to each professor, and to choose professors related to your field. It takes more time. But it will be more successful. This is what I did when looking for a post-doc position when I was a Ph.D. student and it worked very well.

This is what I wanted to write for today.  If you like this blog, you can subscribe to the RSS Feed or my Twitter account ( to get notified about future blog posts.  Also, if you want to support this blog, please tweet and share it!

This entry was posted in General, Research and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to search for a research advisor by e-mail?

  1. kasi says:

    nice post teacher

  2. Kingofthespill says:

    I’m getting these and I’m a student. I’ll pass this along from another website:

    In Gmail, add a “FROM:” filter with the following text: “||||||||||||||zsr

  3. Pingback: What not to do when applying for a M.Sc. or Ph.D position? - The Data Mining & Research Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *