For a cover letter to be effective, it must avoid doing harm, show what sets you apart, and be tailored to the institution you send it to.
A student who arrives with little specific knowledge of the graduate program or its faculty "is bound to make a bad impression." --James Faubion
“Researchers themselves must maintain labs from a safety perspective.” --Jim Kapin, 2006 chair of the American Chemical Society Division of Chemical Health and Safety
“If the cover letter is to be effective, it must definitely be tailored to the particular institution.” --Kenton Whitmire
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