Applying can take a lot of time and energy, but the more you prepare, the more confident you'll be when it's time to hit the "submit" button. Where should you start? Build a strong portfolio foundation using the resources below, and when you're ready to start applying, our office is happy to support your search and do a final review of your materials.
Resume, Cover Letter, and Interview Resources
A cover letter allows you to express interest, differentiate yourself from other applicants, and add a layer of context to your resume. When two applicants' resumes are similar in education and experience, a well-written cover letter may be the differentiating factor. If optional, it is always our recommendation to submit a cover letter to demonstrate your willingness to go above and beyond.
While there are many cover letter samples available online, including those in the links below, our formatting suggestions are as follows. We recommend aiming for a succinctly-written, 3/4 page letter that provides specific context to how your experiences have prepared you for the role's responsibilities.
- Salutation: Consider de-gendering your greeting if no formal title is available (e.g. Dr. or Professor), instead writing 'Dear ___," (first name)
- Paragraph 1: A hiring manager should be able to quickly learn why you're interested in the role with specific ties to the role's responsibilities. For example, "I am excited at the prospect of joining ___ (organization name) because its ___ (e.g. health-equity-focused) mission aligns with my academic preparation, work experiences, and long-term professional goals. The role's responsibilities of ___, ___, and ___ also align with my background."
- Paragraph 2: Demonstrate how you've prepared yourself for the position academically, connecting specific examples of skills you've learned with how they could be applied to this role.
- Paragraph 3: Explain how you've prepared yourself via work, research, and/or extracurricular activities, again providing specific contextual examples.
- Closing: Short closing line thanking the hiring manager for their continued consideration. Avoid overt expectations of an interview. Example: "I would be delighted to further discuss my interests in this role; I can be reached at ___ (email) or ___ (phone). Thank you for your consideration." Add a scanned signature to make your cover letter more personal.
Cover Letter Resources
Similarly to a cover letter, your resume tells a story about where you learned – and applied – new skills in a much more templated format. There are many resources below to highlight the differences between a resume (typically one page for most job applications) and a CV (no page limit and with more details about research experience/publications for PhD, postdoctoral, faculty, and research positions).
Download Brown's Standard Resume Template
Resume and CV Resources
Interview formats vary widely from organization to organization. The resources below can help you to prepare for behavioral interviews, one-way video interviews, consulting case interviews, and multi-stage in-person interviews. Interviewing well is both an art and a science, so you want to be prepared without being too rehearsed.
There are many resources available to support your salary negotiation process. We encourage you to make an informed decision about your salary requirements by researching your job title, location, and cost of living using commercially available tools.
You might also consider using non-traditional methods for determining a potential salary's competitiveness. Colorado and New York City, for example, require salary ranges to be posted in job descriptions. Search for a similar position in those locations – and account for cost of living adjustments to your potential job's location – to help set your salary expectations.
CV Samples for PhD Students
In academia, the CV chronicles a representation of the academic self in terms of scholarly activities such as publications, research grants and projects, conference participation and teaching awards.