This brief blog discusses what not to do when applying for a M.Sc. or Ph.D. position in a research lab. The aim of this post is to give advices to those applying for such positions.
I had previously discussed about this topic in another blog post, where I explained that it is important to send personalized e-mails to potential supervisors rather than sending the same e-mail to many professors. I will thus not explain that again.
In this post, I will rather emphasizes another important aspect, which is to give a good impression of yourself to other people. I discuss this by using an e-mail that I have received today:
Subject: Apply For Scholars ship Ph.d
Sir Philippe Fournier
IHOPE TO APPLY MY TO YOR PROGRAM OF DO PH.D ON COMPUTER SCIENCE ,I HAVE READ THAT YOU OFFER PH.D PROGRAM ON COMPUTER SCINCE AS GENERAL MY TOPIC IS WEP APPLICATION SECIRTY ALL THAT .I HAVE BE IN PAKISTAN FOR SEVEN YERS IDID MASTER THERE SO MY PROJECT WAS WEB SIDE FOR SINDH UNIVERSITY FROM THAT DATE 2010-7-21 IDID TWO PAPER PUBLICATION .WITH ALL OF INTERESTED TO WORK WITH YOU HOPE TO APPLY MY ON YOUR PROGRAMS. THANKS FOR YOR TIMEM
A person sending this type of e-mails has zero chances of getting a position in my team. Why?
- It is poorly written. There are many typos and English errors. If this person cannot take the time to write an e-mail properly, then it gives the impression that this person is careless, and would do a bad job.
- The person did not take the time to spell my full name correctly. Not spelling the name properly shows a lack of respect or shows carelessness. This is something to absolutely avoid.
- The person asks to work on web security. I have never published a single paper on that topic. Thus, I would not hire that person. This person should contact a professor working on such topics.
- The applicant does not provide his CV and very few information about himself. He mentions that he has two publications. But it does not mean anything if I don’t know where they have been published. There are so many bad conferences and journals. An applicant should always send his CV, to avoid sending e-mails back and forth to obtain the information. I will often not answer the e-mails if there are no CV attached to the e-mail, just because it wastes time to send e-mails to ask for the CV, when it should be provided. Besides, when a CV is provided, it should be detailed enough. It is even better when a student can provides transcripts showing his grades in previous studies.
- The applicant does not really explain why he wants to work with me or how he has found my profile. For a master degree, this is not so important. But when applying for a Ph.D., it is expected that the applicant will chose his supervisor for a reason such as common research interests (as I have discussed above).
That is all I wanted to write for today.
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