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Hard to find a postdoc position for fresh PhD?


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#1 RCholic

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 04:15 PM

I am a 5th-year Biochemistry student and plan to graduate in May 2009. So far, I haven't got any publication yet, which made me feel very bad sometimes. However, I do believe I will be able to publish a small paper in a peer-reviewed journal.

In the past three years, I got very few interaction with my adviser who appeared to be ignoring me all the time, maybe because my project is a very sided non-mainstream project. He always chats with other lab members about their research and publishing. I feel that he just doesn't care what I do and how I feel, leaving me to flounder. Although I have been trying to be very positive in the lab, I feel very bad about myself for choosing this lab at the beginning. I regret I chose my current adviser who seems not to like guys much.

I started looking for jobs in the summer of 2008 in the US, but the response I got from potential employers has been pretty sparse. So far, I only got three on-site interviews and a couple of phone interviews. One of my on-site interview was in a big pharmaceutical company located on the east coast, but they turned me down after the on-site interview. Two other on-site interviews were in research universities and one of them has rejected me already. The only hope I have right now is from the third lab in a very prestigious university. The PI asked me to tell him if I get offers from other places before I make a final decision, and he promised he will do the same. All I can tell is that he is very interested in me as a postdoc candidate, other than that, I don't know exactly what he means. He cannot make a decision until the job advertisement expires in 60 days, per their university policy. I am not sure whether this is just an excuse or it's a real policy (weird though, postdocs are not permanent positions!). This PI has called my current PhD adviser for reference, and the feedback my adviser gave me was very very positive. He said my perspective PI at the prestigious university is very excited about me.

As I have only three months left before graduation, I have been very anxious to get a postdoc position. Sometimes, I feel depressed and cannot sleep at night. I still keep applying for postdoc positions, but I got very few responses. I wonder what else I could do for now.

Edited by RCholic, 02 February 2009 - 09:26 PM.


#2 T C

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Posted 02 February 2009 - 08:29 PM

Hey

Postdoc hunting is always like this....Don't worry about it. You will surely find a position for yrself. You anyways need just one position...right.

I would suggest that you Write to multiple people, choose labs according to yr area of expertise and apply to both europe and US.

And finding a position surely takes time, some people start 1 yr in advance.

I may not be the best person to advise but this is what I feel about the situation.

All the best

TC

#3 little mouse

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Posted 03 February 2009 - 07:43 AM

You should not have too much trouble to find a post-doc position.
Of course, you will receive several negative answers, but has said TC, you only need one positive answer.It sounds like you have a good contact with one. If he would not be interested, he would not let you hope for nothing and would already have told you he has hired someone else. Either there is a policy, or he is interested but still waiting a little.... but from my experience they never wait when they have found the right guy (unless there is some policy), because making interviews is really painful and lose of time.
So continue to apply, but don't depress.

#4 haiyan

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Posted 04 February 2009 - 08:14 AM

Hi Rcholic,
Don't be dipressed and disapointed. I know prett much about looking for post-doc position as my current job is my secondary post-doc position. Just keep looking for and you will find one. Don't think too much of the negtive response. Keep hunting...
Acturally what I want to say is about your feeling of your boss. I can understand this feeling very much as my husband has experienced the same situation in his PhD study although he got 3-4 papers published and one is in a very good journal in his research field. His supervisor just doesn't like him very much. I don't know why but I believe my husband is a very nice man but just not talktive. His supervisor likes his own students, like those who were his students from bachelor to PhD. My husband met him when he started to be his PhD student. Every weekend he came to see me, he will tell me some unhappy feelings. He felt that his supervisor sometime ignore him... What I can do was encourging him. But, finally, he finished his PhD although he could not find the reason yet. I know this feeling more well also because I am the one that my supervisor likes the most in our group. I don't know why too. I just keep hard working, keep communicating with boss but not afraid to meet him.
I think communication is very important. You think boss dones't like you, so, you will start to try to avoid to communicate with him and this will make the situation worse. So, there is a bad cycle...
But, maybe, the only reason is you and your boss are not in the same or close character and your boss bring this to his work, that's it. What you can do is do your best to finish your PhD, don't be against to your boss and everything will be OK, you will get your PhD, you will get your post-doc, believe me... When my husband was looking for a post-doc, out of his expect, his supervisor gave him a very positive judgement and he got the position. No one really want to give his own students veyr bad judgement because it is him that recruits this student, not other people. Bad judgement only means he did a wrong thing...


All the best to you

#5 somu

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:11 AM

YA. DONT GET DEPRESSED. U WILL CERTAINLY FIND A POSITION.

#6 labrat612

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:57 AM

I agree... don't get disappointed. Everyone finishing goes through the anxiety of finding either a job or a post-doc position.
In my PhD lab, there were 3 of us that started roughly at the same time. One of my lab mates had this project that appeared to generate data every 5 minutes, while my other colleague and I would be happy to churn out something useful at least once a week.
My advisor needless to say, loved that one particular student, and wouldn't really get that excited about my work.
As graduation approached, I had much anxiety about finding a position.. I didn't have as many publications as my data-churning colleague, and I didn't receive as many interviews and calls as she did.
But, I eventually found this one position about 2 months after graduation, and as luck would have it, I got hired. The other labmate found a position soon after, leaving the data-producing one in the lab.

it's just luck of the draw, really.
on a side note: she did eventually find a position... it just took her a really long time.

Sometimes it's not what you know, but just being in the right place at the right time. Hang in there-- you had a positive response..that's really all you need.

Best of luck!
Labrat

#7 scolix

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 11:00 PM

From what you have written, I must say the PI is really excited about you and will take you. Of course, as a rule, they cannot hire you before the 60 days of advertisement are over. But then no one goes through the process of getting a reference if they are not interested. Since this PI has asked for the reference, I would say you have got the job with a certainty of 95%. The 5%, hopefully, he does not get anyone much better than you. Keep fingers crossed.

I applied to more than 80 places before I even got an interview. But then that one was a good one and well suited to me and I got the job. So, it can be tough out there. Just be patient and don't lose hope. I am quite sure you will get this job but anyway look for more positions and apply to more places.

Good Luck !!!

#8 RCholic

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 09:02 AM

Thanks guys for the encouragement. I feel a lot better now.

About two weeks ago, I followed up to my postdoc application with the PI at the prestigious university, and he gave me a very positive reply. He told me that he had a great insight on me from my boss, and that I am still in the running. He also said he was getting closer to making a decision, and hopefully I will hear something within a week or two.

It has been more than a week since last email and I still haven't heard anything yet. Does this mean I maybe top 2, not the top 1 candidate? kind of worried now

#9 noelmathur

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:25 AM

I know this feeling more well also because I am the one that my supervisor likes the most in our group. I don't know why too. I just keep hard working, keep communicating with boss but not afraid to meet him.
I think communication is very important. You think boss dones't like you, so, you will start to try to avoid to communicate with him and this will make the situation worse. So, there is a bad cycle...


I bow down to your wisdom, wish someone would have said this to me earlier. This is exactly what happened with me. My advisor is very rude, arrogant and bossy with me, right from day one. Initially, I thought, its just beginning, it will take time for him but over the period of 5 years, he successfully killed my enthusiasm to work as PhD student, got a deal for my first publication with a collaborator and my data is lying unpublished. I don't know why he would do that as its been 3 years since he is got any grant and still he ignores student's projects. The reason is beyond my understanding.
As you exactly said, now I have stopped talking to him unless I really have to. Going to him with any problem is useless as all he does is shouts at me. So in your words, I am in a bad cycle. but what do I do? I am ALWAYS under so much of stress that I have started getting migraine attacks. I never got an advisory support that I should have got but only complaints over some experiments getting delayed, completely ignoring why they are getting delayed. He doesn't like me taking holidays either, never says it explicitly but whenever I am about to go on holidays, he kills the mood successfully.
I just hope to get at least 2 first author publications and get the hell out of his lab... never to see him again in my life.......

Apologies to RCholic for hijacking the thread but don't worry mate, everything will be sorted out very well. I would strongly recommend you to talk to your next advisor and request him for 3 months break. You will be recharged for your next assignment.
Good Luck.

#10 RCholic

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 01:00 PM

Apologies to RCholic for hijacking the thread but don't worry mate, everything will be sorted out very well. I would strongly recommend you to talk to your next advisor and request him for 3 months break. You will be recharged for your next assignment.
Good Luck.


Oh, my boss is a lot nicer than yours, but he just seems to me that he no longer cares about me as a graduate student.

#11 Prof

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 04:54 AM

Hey - Don't be desparate, just keep trying and contacting the labs you want to post-doc in. Good and well-funded labs are always looking for enthusiastic and motivated post-doc's.

#12 jakatta70

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 07:57 AM

Although it is hard to secure a postdoc position if you have no publications yet, I would not let this depress you and certainly do not lose hope. If science and research is what you enjoy and where your ambition and heart lies then just keep applying for as many positions in different labs as you can. Thats what I have had to do and Im now into my third postdoc! It sucks having to search for a job, irrespective of what sector you are in (research, medical, retail etc) but stay determined. A job will pop up for you when you least expected!

On the topic of supervisors, some are complete wasters while others are some of the best people you can meet. Ive experienced both in my time in research. My PhD supervisor is brilliant and a nice, well respected guy. My first postdoc supervisor was intelligent enough (although he does tend to cherry pick data!) but seriously hampered my chances of employment by providing a bad reference for me simply because of personality clash (I stood up to racism and sexism in the lab coming from the male Asian chief technician to female Asian lab members). There are bad and good people in every profession. Depending on the personaility of your supervisor, sitting down and chatting to him/her can be greatly beneficial or completely futile.

If you are based in the UK or Irish Republic I would suggest having a look at www.jobs.ac.uk. This is a great website for searching for possible postdoc/assistant posts.

Im in a similiar situation to yourself in that I have one author publication to date and three more ready for submission; this has indeed done me no favours where securing employment is concerned. I don't think it should be the basis for hiring people as there are usually good reasons for having little publications and not because you are a bad scientist or your project wasn't good enough.

#13 zymolyase

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 01:29 PM

Having applied for a few postdocs I eventually found one at http://www.academicposts.com and was invited for a Skype webcam interview!

Has anybody been through this or have any tips? How long does it last, what to wear, etc.?




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