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What to write in a research statement for postdoc after working in unrelated fie

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#1 hianghao



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Posted 02 November 2014 - 04:33 PM



I got my PhD in molecular entomology where I studied insecticide resistance and gene expression in mosquitoes. After I've submitted my thesis (before viva voce and convocation) I went to work in service line in July 2013 (the only option that provide me enough money for my family at that moment) up till now.

Now I wanna apply for postdoc position. I've found an interesting position which study doesn't relate to my PhD work. It does involve molecular works (although I've never conduct those assay before) but the analysis is more on phylogenetic and evolution. I would like to apply for it but I don't know how to relate my previous work (my PhD and current job) to this position. I've read some guidelines in writing Research Interest Statement but all revolve around "previous work > contribution > current work > future work".


For my case, how should write it?? And, is it uncommon for PhD grad to do postdoc unrelated to his previous work? Because it may take a life time to wait for Postdoc opportunity that matches my PhD experience, at least in my region...

#2 Ameya P

Ameya P

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Posted 05 November 2014 - 05:26 AM

Dear Hianghao, 


It is difficult to find a post doc position with a job description that exactly matches what you did your PhD in and like you said, it could take a life time to find one. 


What you can do instead is use your experiences in a manner which your prospective employer would be interested. With your PhD done, you have massive experience under your belt, just that you have not thought of it that way for a while now. 


You could start by saying why you want to join the lab, what interests you there and why would you like to be a part of the team. Then, move to your strengths as a researcher and cite examples where you used your troubleshooting skills, phenomenal understanding of chemistry/ biology / entomology to good use or simply handled a bunch of irritating project students well and how you could use all these to good effect at the new position. A little acknowledgement of how you have not done the techniques in the lab but how you would like to learn new things (by yourself or under minimal supervision) and how you got along with other members of the team would also be helpful. 


So yes, focus on your strengths and apply to the places you'd like to work in. You surely don't want to get stuck in a place, where you would do not like working ! 


Good luck with your application and do let us know how it goes! 

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Posted 15 January 2015 - 05:02 AM

It is all about selling yourself. All you need to do is to make them interested in you by demonstrating how your technical expertise and knowledge of different field would be of great value to them that they would not find generally in researchers working in their field.


For example you are doing structural biology,and you are now interested in research on how fish breathe underwater. You can tell them that you can help with figuring out how fish gill protein structures are unique in their affinity to dissolved oxygen because of your insights in structural biology. Of course, once you join the lab, you go scuba diving..

So. Now that you have your first ever question on bioforum answered (or not), mail yourself your username and password so you don't forget them, and then come back soon to update us on how it all worked out. That's how you build Karma in science.

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