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Oversupply of Ph.D.s in Canada?

Arthur Sowers arthures at magpage.com
Wed Jan 12 19:59:50 EST 2000

On 12 Jan 2000, Placid Ol' Dingo wrote:

> Arthur Sowers <arthures at magpage.com> wrote:
> > I have heard a few remarks that a poorly written cover letter and
> > CV/resume, or one with lots of spelling and grammar mistakes will not get
> > any sympathy by a reader, so those are the places one should be doing the
> > proofreading and using the spell checkers (and maybe even getting another
> > person to proofread what you are producing).
> Especially when applying for a position for which there are likely to be
> a large number of other well-qualified candidates, as is the case for
> most post-doc applications. Hence my assertion that "prospective
> post-docs who exhibit bad spelling or grammar will be at a disadvantage
> when job hunting in a competitive market".

This makes sense, but its still wrong when you consider that such a large
fraction of graduate students in many areas (particularly biomedical
areas) are from the China-Pacific Rim area and I can tell you that they
really can't read or write but they can use a dictionary. I have had, over
the last decade, while I was a grant-funded PI, many many dozens of
resumes and CVs come to me from these and East European countries and
India where none of the letters and resumes impressed me at all. 

I also know of laboratories where they just could not get a US-born person
to come. Ergo, the whole lab is full of people who can't speak or
understand English. After about one year, they start doing better. But
I've known of several in considerable detail and while their science
project progressed, their writing ability would never allow them to be
successful with grant proposals or teaching or being primary author
(regardless of where their name is on the author list). 

You need to think about this kind of situation when you write about all
this competition; when its all not that great, then it doesn't matter.
I've known PIs and profs that would rather have a lot of "dumb" warm
bodies in thier labs than an empty lab.

Art Sowers

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