Career Tips

CV, Cover Letter, Transcript & Work Samples

We ask you to submit your CV, Cover Letter, Transcript, and any additional samples of your previous work in your application. This is because we think these documents are like jigsaw pieces that fit together to help us get a better idea of who you are, what you are capable of, and what your priorities are. Although your application will be considered on a team-based basis, there are several shared aspects we hope you can demonstrate. So, take this guide as a starting point and add your charm to it!

What do we look for in a CV?

Your CV should be within 1-2 pages. Of course, we know that you are much more than these two pages, but with limited space, you can really curate the highlights of your experiences. It’s not about showing us everything you’ve got but more about showing us the best you’ve got.

That said, there are some key areas we would like to see mentioned:

  • Educational background
    • We want to know your educational history from high school onwards. However, you do not need to list out all the courses you took in detail here. Your specialisations can be demonstrated through your transcript.
  • Experiences
    • If you have a background in research or have published some papers, we are interested in learning what they are on.
    • Our work requires a very high degree of teamwork. Your involvement in extracurricular activities or having team-based work experiences can be one way of showing that you can collaborate. Moreover, they also reflect what you are passionate about.
    • We also like people who are organised and can meet deadlines. Evidence of project management skills or being able to deliver outstanding results in pressing timeframes will also be beneficial.
    • We are interested in hearing about your past roles and activities, and what positive impact you’ve created. 
  • Skills
    • In this digitalised and globalised world, we are interested in your language proficiency levels and IT skills. Some of our teams’ work are more quantitatively oriented, so being able to show coding proficiency can be a plus.
    • Mentioning any certifications you have for your skills can also help us get a better idea of where you perform compared to the benchmark.

What do we look for in a Cover Letter?

In a cover letter, we look for the why and the how. We want to know why you would like to join us, how you can contribute to TDRI as a community, and also how you think your work at TDRI can create impact on society. Tell us which areas in public policy you are passionate about, and take this as an opportunity to describe your role in particular extracurricular activities in more detail, including how the skills or knowledge you gained are transferrable to work settings, and further showcase your abilities.

Why do we require your transcript?

We want to get a better idea of which topics interest you and of your academic strengths and weaknesses. We understand that space can be limited in a CV so this is an opportunity for us to learn about the modules you have taken.

What additional work samples should you submit?

Let your work speak for itself. This is an opportunity for you to show that you can think critically and communicate your ideas to the world. Our research is heavily evidence-based so being able to analyse evidence and synthesise them into recommendations is a key skill we look for. This extends to quantitative-based projects. If you are quantitatively oriented, show us your quantitative skills – send us your code but also how you communicate the findings to people who may not be as quantitatively oriented. There is no limit to the amount of work you can submit but most people submit 2-3 that demonstrate different strengths.

Advice from someone who has been through the process:

 “I polished my CV a bit since TDRI is interested in the details of my academic experiences. I shared my experience working as a Research Assistant and submitted writing samples from my university days. I also submitted a summary of my research.”

Gunn Jiravuttipong



If your profile interests us, you will be asked for an interview, although this invitation can sometimes be delayed if we do not have the relevant openings at the time of your application. Likewise with the documents, your application will be considered on a team-by-team basis. This means that you may be invited to an interview with more than one team. The style of questions they ask tend to differ, but they do have some things in common that they look for.


  • Critical thinking
    • At a think tank like TDRI, we like to think! One way to show that you have critical thinking skills is to think out loud. Give a balanced argument and justify how you have arrived at the conclusion. You can also ask questions! As researchers, we always welcome a discussion that would help enrich our analysis. 
  • Growth mindset
    • We find joy in learning, and we hope you do too! We look for people with a growth mindset, ready to take on new challenges and open enough to pick up new skills along the way. We like people who can reflect and notice not only their strengths but also their weaknesses and have a strategy for overcoming them.
  • Integrity and public mindedness
    • At TDRI, we work for the people. We look for people who are willing to challenge the norms and defend what empirical evidence suggests is correct. We look for people who uphold their integrity even when times get tough. We look for people with the initiative to make Thailand a better place.
  • Whether you’re a fast learner
    • Nobody is born knowing how to do policy research. It is a learning process, and we are interested in whether you can learn it fast. Your ideas may be supported or challenged during the interview. Be prepared to adapt your argument to the new evidence, revise your stance, or defend it well.


Advice from someone who has been through the process:

“I think it’s really important that you demonstrate an understanding of your past work and a passion for research in your areas of interest. If you already have a team you would like to apply to in mind, it will be even better if you can show that your interests align with their research projects.”

Teerapat Kammarabutr


Essay Writing

In addition to the interview, some teams may also request you to write an essay under timed conditions. There is a huge variation in what kinds of questions can come up but fret not! This part of the assessment process is designed to test whether you can answer a public policy problem using evidence-based arguments. A top tip would be to make sure that you answer the question, not merely just regurgitate random facts that you know. As researchers, a sizable chunk of our work is to write down our analysis to communicate it to various stakeholders. Furthermore, we often work on pressing problems, which puts us in a race against time. Championing this part of the process is credible evidence that you have the necessary skills of thinking critically and the ability to communicate well under pressure.


Advice from someone who has been through the process:

“The writing test actually came to me as a surprise. Looking back, I think I would have benefitted from listing out existing policies and doing some background research on them. I would familiarise myself with the motive behind each policy, its target group, how it is to be executed. In my writing, I would prioritise evaluating the policy based on evidence and suggesting reasonable alternatives.”

Piyapat Panchim



If we are interested in your work, you will be invited to make a presentation. The presentation is the most critical step of the Research Fellow admissions process.


Who will I be presenting to?

You will be presenting to a panel of Research Directors and Research Fellows, so there will be experts in your field who will be listening. And, since we are a horizontal organisation that values transparency, any researchers who are interested in your work may also attend the presentation.


What should my presentation be on?

We want you to present a research project you are proud of. This does not necessarily have to be in the specific field you are applying for at TDRI. We select people based on their ability to learn, which can be demonstrated in the way you answer the questions. That said, presenting on a similar topic to what you will be doing at TDRI will help us get a better idea of how you fare as a researcher in that context.


How long should the presentation be?

Keep it concise! Most presentations last around X minutes. The presentation is only meant to be a starting point for a fruitful Q&A session to follow.


What kind of questions will I be asked?

As all research presentations go, you will be asked questions about your work. These questions often concern methodologies and implications. You may also be asked to evaluate your work; make sure you understand your work inside out. However, the presentation also doubles up as an interview for us. We may ask questions to get to know you better as a person. So, don’t be afraid if it gets a little personal, and just be yourself!

Advice from someone who has been through the process:

“I initially didn’t think that my research interest would align with those of the institute because I was under the impression that majority of TDRI researchers are economists, using only quantitative research methodologies. After I presented my research during the interview process, they turned out to be very receptive. It showed me that every research project has its own value, so don’t be afraid to showcase your methodology and results. One extra tip I would give is to also think about policy implications of your work.”

Charika Channuntapipat

Research Fellow