Nov 12 2022

Experiences in applying scholarships and science jobs.

Sven Johanson


Finding a scholarship (which can cover living expense to study abroad) can be the best way for many people who really want to pursue a science career. However, the job market in science is often extremely small, and how to get a scholarship is not an easy solution even with people having very good background in studying. Thus, in this post, I want to share some skills from my own experience in my toddlers stepping into this path.

First, it must be said that the job in science is an occupation, just like hundreds of other occupations in society. Each occupation needs its own knowledge and skills as well as jobs in science. It requires professional knowledge and supporting skills for research. Research can be conducted at universities, institutes or even companies (if there are research laboratories) and there are many different fields in science: medicine, biology, mathematics , physics, materials, electronics ... Perhaps this is normal for overseas scientists, but I have to mention this with people who do not do science or prepare to enter the scientific profession from developing countries. Note that English is still the main language in science, although working in any country, English is always needed. So what should be prepared for the job?

1. Investigating carefully recruitment information:

Have you ever sent email to recruiters with content as follows:

“I graduated from university A, field B, under the guidance of professor C, graduating from high school ..., so I am qualified or not. “

You should not do as above email (although many employers have stated: email inquiries about ...).  Instead you should carefully read the recruitment requirements in the job advertisement (except for someone just write a line with no detailed information) and cross-check with your background instead of asking: am I eligible?

If you ask that question, the answer you may get is the silence because the employer is often too busy or "sorry, I do not know". Further, you should use Internet, visit the website of research group, discover about the research topic of the group and check if it matches your abilities and interests.

2. Preparing your application:

Once you are certain that your qualifications, abilities, and jobs meet your expectations, you need to prepare a very meticulous and professional profile.

- The first step is to prepare a curriculum vitae (CV) written in English. The CV should be written professionally and in the form of an academic CV. You should search many beautiful academic CV online for reference.

- In the CV, you should have a list of publications (if any) that you have published (this is very important for research work). Also, include a list of 2 to 3 reference people (as fame as possible) who can understand your abilities and be willing to write a letter of recommendation (LoR) to your employer. These people should be your nearest supervisors. The contacts of references should be detailed in this list so that employers can contact them easily. And you should also ask with references in advance so they will be willing to write LoR if required. Note that you will have to write academic CV, unlike working CVs for non-research jobs. Academic emphasis on knowledge, skills for academic work and research. But pay attention to the length of the CV. If you apply for a PhD position, your CV should not be more than 3 pages.

A CV is one of the most important document which the employer can know in advance what your qualifications (training qualification), ability and work experience are appropriate for the job.

In addition, you should also be prepared with the attached documents: scanned degrees from bachelor or master degrees which your grades may be known. Of course, all information should be in English. To make your profile more strong, you can include some of your best research results in form of publications. They should be articles you stand for in the lead author, and a detailed research plan.

3. Prepare a Cover Letter:

 When you are ready for your personal profile, you must think about a cover letter. A good cover letter should give the employer a sense of where you are in a specific research area and tell the employer what your passion is for this job. Also, show to the employers your skills which fit well to the requirements of project. A cover letter should not be longer than one page, words just proving confidence, and not pretend to be haughty, just humble.

4. Submit your application and keep in touch:

After you send your application, along with the attached documents in pdf format, you should calmly wait for the responses from the recruiter. When you receive positive feedback from the employer, you should carefully read the information and try to respond as positively and as quickly as possible. Never let the employer waits a long time, when the employer is interested in you.

You should also note that do not use free e-mail (such as gmail, yahoo, etc.), but instead use organization email to send them. Free email services that are filtered by your organization's mail-filtering system may be marked as a spam mail if it's sent from free mailboxes. The use of bussiness email also increases your professional style in the eyes of the employer. If you are a student at a university, you should have a mailbox. This is also the type of professional email that you should use to send your application. In addition, you should send your resume by yourself, avoiding asking someone to apply a job for you.

A hint:  let use MS Word to write, just have the ability to automatically check for English errors, and can be easily repaired, before Copy the content and send it.

Note: You are self-confident, but do not talk too much about yourself, be honest, but do not be too cocky.

Western style recruitment (including Australia and Singapore) is where you send your application to employers, employers will look at your resume and then send an email to your references (Listed in the CV) in order to ask about the candidate. Then they will study LoR to see how references evaluate about candidates, before selecting the best candidates for the next round. There are many employers requesting to send LoR with application.

4. Interview preparation:

Once you have passed the pre-qualification, employer is interested in your application. You will be interviewed by some people. The most popular interview if you apply abroad will be by phone or voice chat on the internet (eg via Skype). You need to be prepared for an interview:

Prepare to speak English fluently, prepare relevant knowledge so that you can confidently enter the final pass to hope for a job offer. Interviews are completely unstructured, but depending on the employer and the type of job, it is important that you are well prepared for communication as well as knowledge. Should pay attention to the stability of the Internet, if you are interviewed over the Internet, you should use a small room and guarantee that the Internet is stable and there is no disturb during your interview.


Good luck!

Tags: applying scholarships and science jobs.