I like to see a cover letter that works even though it bends the rules. In this case, it's a cover letter that's quite long and filled with details — more than I would suggest for the average job seeker. But this is for a scientist and such a long letter will work well in his field.
Stuart sent me this sample cover letter, which helped him become one of the finalists for the position he wanted. In the end, he didn't get the job but he wanted to share it with us, and get my feedback. Take a look.
Sample Cover Letter for an Environmental Scientist
Dear Mr. X,
I am completing a Master’s degree in Environmental Geology at X University with course work focusing on hydrogeology, water quality, and hydrogeochemistry. A demanding course load, multiple campus leadership positions, and a variety of challenging work experiences have prepared me for the rigors that comprise the X Fellowship position, and I am confident that I would be a great addition to the project.
My resume highlights my ability/knowledge/expertise in technical report writing and data collection related to environmental assessments. I have had extensive experience in both basic and applied research, plus over 2 years experience in planning and reporting of hydrogeological investigations. The Fellowship position is very appealing to me because I am interested in water quality and control of water resources for human protection. My long-term goal is to gain more research experience with contaminant exposure and human health, eventually leading towards a doctorate degree in Environmental Engineering focusing on the cleanup and protection of surface and ground waters.
During my recent tenure at X Company, I excelled in groundwater investigations and developed knowledge for the implementation of environmental regulations. I quickly gained a promotion where I was charged with planning and implementing geologic investigations for entire projects. My project manager commended me for my efficiency and effectiveness in report preparation, knowledge of the regulatory framework and guidelines, and in identifying appropriate drilling locations to completely characterize release sites. After only three months of employment, I was provided the opportunity to completely manage multiple projects that included the evaluation of remedial strategies on a site-specific basis and project correspondence with clients and environmental regulators. With this responsibility, I became interested in the analytical chemical data and analysis procedures, and how they relate to human exposure limits as I developed site-specific conceptual models and conducted risk assessment modeling.
Through my professional experiences, I have developed excellent verbal and written communications skills, and I am confident that my experience, education, and enthusiasm to conduct extensive research will make me a strong candidate for the Fellowship position. I have included my application package, and a recommendation letter from my former project manager. Please do not hesitate to contact me at X; I look forward to meeting with you so I can provide you with additional information to supplement what is provided in my resume.
A Tip for Making This Cover Letter a Little Better
I think this is an excellent cover letter sample, especially for the right reader. That reader, of course, is someone in your field who understands and values the points you make.
If possible, I suggest you go through and check for run-on sentences. See if you can break them up. You might even think about using some bullet point formatting to achieve that, the way these cover letter do:
Thanks very much for sharing your letter with us. I hope you'll have success with your next job application!