Forum: When to start searchin for Postdoc?
1
gravatar for Medhat
7 months ago by
Medhat6.7k
Poland
Medhat6.7k wrote:

As it is declared in the title How long before PhD graduation should I start applying/contact for post-doc positions?

as lab/group leader what do you search in the application or contact e-mail?

what advices you can give?

related post
What to look for in a potential postdoc?

Thanks,

bioinformatics forum postdoc • 615 views
ADD COMMENTlink modified 4 months ago • written 7 months ago by Medhat6.7k
5
gravatar for Charles Plessy
7 months ago by
Charles Plessy2.1k
Japan
Charles Plessy2.1k wrote:

As a group leader, according to the circumstances I have three kind of positions.

First, there are rare moments where I can hire on my core budget: that is basically when my group was created or when the person hired moves to his next step. These are positions where it is extremely hard to fire, so I would rank social skills very high.

Second type, I sometimes get a grant for a project with enough funding to hire one person. In that case it is essential to hire somebody who is technically compatible with the project and who is able to deliver under time pressure. (Unfortunately, more and more post-doc positions are like this. I strongly dislike this system, and I am very tempted to downsize my research to rely more on consumable grants and collaborations and less on that kind of top-down research, but it is very had to do as research institutions become increasingly addicted to overheads, and will always prefer PIs with big grants.)

Third, there are cases of post-docs who obtain their own funding. As mentioned in another comment, it can take a lot of time to secure the funding. Often, the project sent to the funding agency will be ironed out together. This phase is actually a good test to see if the applicant and the lab are a good match; and if it is not the case, the project will not be exciting and the risk of accidentally ending up working together will be very low...

Some of this may sound a bit negative, but my message is: think about science: where are the labs that do something that you want to learn, which are the research environments in which you think you will expand your mind and keep it young, and reach out these places early, by meeting their researchers at conferences, by collaborations, by giving seminars, by contacting the lab heads directly, etc. If you only rely on open calls you will miss many opportunities and you will waste a lot of time, as many of them are there for only... ahem... administrative reasons. Aim at the best, and if you do not find, consider another job and do not look back :)

ADD COMMENTlink written 7 months ago by Charles Plessy2.1k
3
gravatar for Jean-Karim Heriche
7 months ago by
EMBL Heidelberg, Germany
Jean-Karim Heriche11k wrote:

I'd say one year because if you need/want to apply for a fellowship, you often need to have found a lab first and then the fellowship application/review process takes time. Also you have to factor in time for administrative work like visa application if required. You can shorten this if you have the possibility of staying in your current lab after graduation. Finally, you may have to wait before joining your new lab i.e. when space/resources are limited, you have to wait for one of the current students/postdocs to leave before joining. What works best in my experience is to know what you want to do/work on and then approach the lab you think is the best to carry this project out. This has the dual advantage of showing your motivation and having you work on a project which motivates you. If you want to pursue an academic career, then have a look at the track record of the lab not just in terms of papers (not just for the whole lab but also papers per postdoc/unit of time) but also look at where alumni have gone. The next important step is to visit the lab and talk to people there, not just the PI.

ADD COMMENTlink written 7 months ago by Jean-Karim Heriche11k
2
gravatar for genomax
7 months ago by
genomax30k
United States
genomax30k wrote:

6 months prior to graduation may not be an unreasonable time to start.

If your current advisor or committee can send an informal recommendation for you then it may be a very useful thing. You will have a better chance of success if you know the person you want to do a post-doc with (from a meeting at conference etc). Otherwise a good record of publications will help.

While nothing is guaranteed, you would want to take a look at the other people in the lab, past successes/publication track record of the PI before deciding to contact him/her.

If you are able to bring your own funding (see that you are in Europe and I hear that there are more opportunities there for fellowships) then many will be open to having you in their labs :)

ADD COMMENTlink modified 7 months ago • written 7 months ago by genomax30k
1
gravatar for ando.kelli
6 months ago by
ando.kelli30
University of the Sunshine Coast
ando.kelli30 wrote:

I agree with six months prior to graduation. I was lucky to get my first postdoc while I was waiting to receive the reviewers comments on my thesis. The employer/head of lab asked me to send through my uncorrected thesis, and he judged me to be the right person for the job after reading my thesis and an interview. I completed my thesis corrections while working in his lab.

I'm currently working in my third postdoc. I found the first one by applying to an international job listing online, and I didn't know anyone from that lab at the time. The I got the other two through academics I know and word of mouth. So I can't overstate the importance of building connections however you can and putting your name out there.

Charles Plessy has given you some excellent insight. The postdoc jobs I've had have fitted into two of the categories he's described.

Goodluck!

ADD COMMENTlink written 6 months ago by ando.kelli30
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