Re: Application for Job in Sahrk Biology

Dear Dr. Schiffman,

I am a recent graduate in biology. After several attempts to work in a population genetics molecular biology lab, I realized that there was way too much maths and other difficult concepts and that I would be much better off studying orgasmal biology such as sharks or skates or rays. As you know in these difficult economic times none of the labs doing real science are hiring, but hopefully YOU are!

I am very interested in studying the eating behaviors and tropic connections between hammerheads, mullet, and phytoplankton and would be an asset to you in you research. Maybe I could accompany you to the Galapagos for sampling….

I have wanted to work with sharks ever since I saw West Side Story and can’t think of a better person than you to work with. I have never done any science with marine life, but I am a fast learner. We just measure and weight them right? I can’t swim and get seasick on floating docks, that’ not a problem right? If you’ll cover airfare, I can come out and visit your lab in person.

I couldn’t find your e-mail address so I hope this blog post is an acceptable way to send you an job application, that’s not a problem right?


Eager, poorly-informed applicant


How not to apply for a job working with sharks

This week marked an important e-mail milestone for me: I received my 100th request for a job. I do not mean job offers (i.e. people saying “David, we’d like to hire you”), or requests for job advice (i.e. people saying “David, can you point me in the right direction?”). I’d be thrilled to answer any of those e-mails (particularly the job offers). I mean job requests (i.e. people saying “David, please hire me”).

I get all kinds of e-mails from readers, and I’m always happy to answer them. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that applying for a job in this way is incredibly ineffective. I thought I’d take some examples from some of my favorite job request e-mails to explain to you all how not to apply for a job working with sharks.

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