It matters very little whether you are an undergraduate seeking a brief "experience' in my lab, a potential graduate student or a post doc. Even a person seeking a technical position. You who have just emailed me. Yes, you.
Look, just about every source of information available tells you not to do it. Just about every professor blog (that's what you kids read these days, right?) has a post like this one. Every other postdoc blog has these comments for the undergraduate assistants and trainees. Any etiquette book I've ever read tells you the same thing.
Do not send me a generic form mail.
I am not fooled. No matter how winningly you think you have managed to keep the focus on you and what you need, it is nakedly obvious you really have very little idea of what is going on in my laboratory. I have a website. It may be technical, brief or woefully out of date. Still. It gives you a toehold on the laboratory's area of interest. You claim to have taken some classes in -ology. I assume you have learned, somewhere along the way, to use PubMed. Do that. Get some idea of what my laboratory does.
Then re-write your letter. I will try to forget that I already think you are an annoying, impolite little twit. Fortunately, there is an excellent chance I will have forgotten about you entirely in about 20 minutes.
As it stands now, you are going in a special little file. Oh no, not the trash bin. Uh-uh. You see, your little waste of my time will not go entirely to waste. I throw these in a special file for trainee inquiries that I have no intent of responding to. You see, when it comes time to apply for training grants, the number of people who have "sought training with the PI" is of interest. Yeah, it is bogus to count these spammy inquiries...but everyone does it. So thanks for giving me your name and email so that I can add another tally to the list.