Write a cover letter: sample and thoughts

For many, the end of an academic year marks the transition from students to employees. Whether you are seeking a job in a company or a PhD position in a university, mastery in writing a cover letter is critical. Here, I will share a sample from my own writing, and hope that it helps 😉

“A model cover letter” would be an overstatement for the sample I am going to present, because I know that anything I wrote/write is far from perfect! Nonetheless, with the help of cover letter I was shortlisted in 2 out of 3 PhD applications. It still works!

Writing a cover letter is the art of matching and elaborating. You match your skills and qualifications with those demanded by the employer, and elaborate curtly and convincingly why you are the best. The first things I did, was to sift out the requirements, either written explicitly or implicitly in the advertisement.

By doing so, the advertisement was simplified into four key items. They can be regarded as the four pillars, on which the content of your letter should be built.

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Course Review: Proteomics

Proteomics BB2510 is always the subject I am compelled to talk about. There is a reason: three months after the course ended, I started a master thesis project highly relevant to proteomics; another six months I got a PhD offer from a proteomics project! In another word, Proteomics BB2510 shapes my career path and I would love to share with you how enchanting it is!

“-omic” is not merely a suffix to protein such that it rhyme with “genomics” and “transcriptomics”. Indeed, it refers to the large-scale analysis  of proteins in biological samples. We know that protein is the last chain of the so-called “Central dogma of molecular biology”, the end product of DNA, which is your exclusive genetic material.

What does that imply?

Just imagine that our body is a university that is called KTH. Then, DNA would be our vice chancellor, Sigbritt Karlsson, who has the highest command; “proteins” would be best to play the teaching professors, as each of them have different tasks and whether a course is good highly depends on them!

In school, we evaluate the teachers’ performance to decide the quality of the courses; similarly, scientists are especially interested in proteins as they have everything to do with disease and health!

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Finally, our graduation

The 31th of May, 2018 is the day that I will never forget. After all these things, which include one-and-half year attending the identical lectures together, six months delving in complicated codes, and above all, tons of laughter, the 2016 class of MTLS was graduating on a summerly May-day at Karolinska Institutet (KI).

Aula Medica is the hall mark of KI

Unlike other programmes at KTH, whose graduation ceremony is held yearly in the City Hall, where the Nobel Banquet takes place; at MTLS we attend the graduation ceremony together with other KI’s international master programmes at Aula Medica where the Nobel Lecture in Physiology or Medicine is held annually.

The ceremony lasted only two hours, including an one-hour rehearsal. It was a simple, yet ceremonious one. It started with the speech from our vice-president, Prof. Karin Dahlman-Wright, who confessed at once that she did not remember the graduation speech at her time ——- which effectively leavened the air with bright laughter.

There are all together eight global master programmes at KI. For each programme:

MTLS class 2016 on the stage

  1. Speech from programme director

  2. Students were invited on the red carpet on stage

  3. They shaken hands with vice-president, from whom they receive a small certificate

  4. Group photo

  5. Students returned back to their seats

There were two short breaks between the programmes in which all students, teachers and guests were entertained by Swedish music performed by Riltons Vänner.

At last, light refreshment, desert, and champagne are essential!

Small souvenirs for the big day!

An authentic unofficial group that half of the class were not looking at the camera

I have imagined hundreds of times how the two-year master programme would end. In the end, it turned out to be a jubilant afternoon with family, friends and celebration. Then I understand: the 120 ECTS were completed, but the skills that we acquired in the study, our friendship built after all of these tests will keep going on and last long.

If I’m admitted without scholarship, what are the alternatives to finance myself?

As the deadline of fee-paying (31th May) approaches, I received a lot of inquiries about student accommodation, public transportation…..and, finance! True, how to finance yourself is central to the decision-making, in particular for the majority who do not enter on an admission-scholarship basis. Today, I will discuss the alternatives that you can support yourself: non-admission scholarships and part-time jobs on campus!


1. KTH one-year scholarship

Perhaps all of you have applied (or at least heard of) the KTH admission scholarship, but do you also know that there is an one-year scholarship that you apply when you are first-year master student?

  • Type: one-year school fee waiver

  • Selection: based on academia excellence = your grades on KTH transcript

  • Time to apply: usually in April every year

Website: kth.se/en/studies/master/fees-funding/kth-one-year-scholarship-1.290744

So, check the above website in April and file your application in time! As far as I know, the scholarship is usually granted to those straight-A students. Therefore, my personal tips are:

1) Do your study  (of course!) and plan it early

2) Re-exam is a good chance, don’t waste it!

For MTLS students, KTH one-year scholarship probably won’t apply to you, as most courses in the first year are conducted in SU and Karolinska. Instead, try KTH Joint Programme Scholarship!

2. KTH Opportunities

KTH Opportunities is a fund from KTH alumni and friends that support current students (bachelor, master, phD) to explore something meaningful for themselves, KTH and the society.

  • Type: highest amount = SEK 50,000

  • Selection: project-based

  • Time to apply: usually from March to April every year

Website: kth.se/en/opportunities/sok-medel/ansok-om-stod-fran-kth-opportunities-fund-1.552270

The closest example around me is a friend from Medical Engineering who was funded by KTH Opportunities for a volunteering internship in a hospital in Nepal. You may want to have a look at the type of funded projects: youtube.com/watch?v=E6NSuuUiyDA

3. Karolinska Institute Foundation Scholarship

A good news to MTLS students is that you are eligible to apply for scholarship in Karolinska and SU!

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Why you should start cycling today

Rememberme discussing whether to have a bike or not in my previous blog To bike, or not to bike? It’s time to give a definite answer: Yes!


Weather is the first thing to talk about (just like the Swedes open a conversation :P). As summer approaches, the average daytime temperature of the latter half of May, June, July, August, and the large part of September can be as high as 25 to 30-degree.

With a bike, you won’t miss the flower season: just imaging wandering the fields and fields of elder flowers and rape flowers on your bike:


As I mentioned in To bike or not to bike, there are at least three options to have your own bike:

The cheapest: join the Facebook group “Lappis” or “Lappis market“, there are always graduating students selling their own bicycles at low price

To have more options: visit the local website blocket.se and search for “cyklar” you will find numerous advertisement from locals selling their bike, at all prices

The most convenient: go to any of the bicycle shops in the town and pick one. The price is usually a little bit higher compared to the two alternatives above, but you can adjust it until it fits and in this way you will never get a malfunction one

The good news is, I am adding two more now:

Flea market of bikes (Swedish: Cyklelloppis)

Usually at the beginning of summer, there are flea markets that look for new owners of hundreds of bikes, such as this one to be held on 20th May 2018 in Solna:


At an auction (Swedish: Cykelaktion):

Believe me or not, the police sales out bikes that were not reclaimed for a long time to new owners. You may visit the related website here.  There are different forms, some are sold on a “Polisen Dag” (Police Day) or via an auction website, such as this one:


It could be expensive to repair or replace parts of your bicycle in local bike shops, given that their staff are professional and well-paid. But now this situation is undergoing a change: with the prevalence of bicycling in the city and the passion of cyclers, in the city, there is increasing chance that you can have your bicycles tune, for free!

Cykelköket is a newly emerged non-profit organization. The concept is, you will be provided by tools and guidance, but you have to do it on your own!

The Bike Day on Karolinska Campus offers free bike tune-up and check of tires, chain and brakes on 18th May this year.

Nevertheless, don’t worry if you miss the chance this year! You may want to follow THS Grad “n” Bike Project on Facebook, as they offer free tune-up occasionally: the last one is on 26th April.



Same, pumping should not be an issue: according to the official website of Stockholm, there are hundreds of pumping spots scattered in the city:

Klick here to visit site

In addition, you may simply borrow the pump from most of the bicycle shops. When I first realised it, it was too nice to be true!