I have finished my PhD in pure mathematics 3 months ago, and have just (one week ago) started a 1 year post doc appointment in another area of applied mathematics (it has only very very minor links with my PhD, and I really don't know how it will turn out - but I am not very into it so far).

I have had this offer for a few months, and took it because my other post doc applications in areas more closely related to my original topic were rejected; I was on the shortlist many times, but ended up 2nd in the final choice.

Now I have yet another opportunity to apply for a post doc in a topic that is close to my PhD, back in my home country, with people who are world-leading experts in my field, at a world leading, prestigious department and university (my current one isn't). Another advantage is that my current post doc only has guaranteed funding for 1 year, while the one I want to apply for, has 2 years.

This post doc has a provisional starting date in 2 months time. This means I'd have only worked in my current position also for only 2 months.

In my situation, is it advisable on the application form to state that I have currently just started on a post doc, or say absolutely nothing at all (i.e. not even mention this on my CV)?

I am worried that it won't look good on my application that I am applying for new jobs after having barely started the first one.

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    Are you teaching at all in your current postdoc? If so, there is an expectation that you will finish out the current term at minimum, and usually that you will finish out the current academic year. Sep 7, 2018 at 14:21
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    No, there is no teaching requirements for me at the current postdoc @NateEldredge
    – Astral
    Sep 7, 2018 at 14:47

3 Answers 3


(This answer assumed the OP was going to be job hunting after a few months for a new position following his current one. Clarifications given in the comments shows the OP expects to leave the current one-year position after a few months, instead.)

If your first position is only a year long, then it is expected that you will already be searching for a new position before you've even arrived at the current one. There's simply no choice: most committees are already forming short lists a month or two into the academic year. This is what makes one year positions brutal: as soon as you get one you've got to start hunting for the next one, but your current post-doc position still expects to see you engaged and active in research and whatever teaching you may have.

  • Yes, it's only 1 year long (could be extended by a further 1-2 years depending on availability of funding - they simply don't know). So you say that the hiring committee will not care that I am applying straight after starting a position elsewhere? Also, about references. I am intending to state all my referees from my PhD (my advisor, collaborator and internal examiner); is this ok? Given that my current employers barely know me?
    – Astral
    Sep 7, 2018 at 9:27
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    @Astral Yeah, they shouldn't even bat an eye over it. They should be very aware of the implications of one-year deals on job hunters. Sep 7, 2018 at 9:31
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    @Astral Your question makes it sound like (assuming you get the second post-doc) that you would be leaving the first one after only two months. That's very different from interviewing for a position that would begin after completing your 1-year post-doc.
    – chepner
    Sep 7, 2018 at 13:11
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    Yes, I assume that I'd be leaving the first one after a couple of months (if I get the second one) @chepner
    – Astral
    Sep 7, 2018 at 14:45
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    -1; I don't think the answer is bad, but I think it is answering the wrong question.
    – chepner
    Sep 7, 2018 at 14:50

You should optimise for you, rather than your employer. With this in mind, apply for the second post-doc and push the start date back (by a few months) if you're accepted. Then you get more benefit from your current position and security from the second.


I am going to disagree with the current answer. While it is true that there is a certain amount of expectation that short contract postdocs are looking for their next position, you have just started your first postdoc.

The first postdoc is the hardest one to get. What gets you your second postdoc is doing a good job in your first postdoc. I would be putting all my energy into doing a good job now so that you can get a reference and also get some assistance in looking for your next job.

Once you have been there for a little time, you can have a conversation about your future, including the likelihood of extensions. At that time you can start applying elsewhere for your next position. Starting looking around now will just distract you from making connections where you are.

These are also in different countries and there are practical issues. What are you doing about the expense of moving? Have you entered into a rental agreement yet?

  • 4
    This answer does not reflect reality (at least not in my country and area -- UK pure math). I can give you plenty of examples of postdoc positions where the application deadline is a year or more in advance of the actual start of the job. So your claim "what gets you your second postdoc is doing a good job in your first postdoc" could only be true if shortlisting committees could see into the future. Sep 7, 2018 at 14:01
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    @DavidLoeffler The OP has an application deadline about now with a proposed starting date of only 2 months away. So, at least in the OP's area, the lead times are much shorter than your experience. In my field (UK social science), the postdoc positions for someone else's research are about 3 months from application to start. The > 1 year are only for Fellowships where working on your own research. No funded position could ever give a long lead time as nobody would be working on the project for most of the funded period.
    – JenB
    Sep 7, 2018 at 14:26
  • Regarding the "practical issues", they are non-existent (I have a flexible rental agreement that I can break quickly if I want, and I don't require a visa for the country I am in, currently). So essentially, I can pack my suitcase and be back home tomorrow without essentially any financial / other repercussions. @JenB
    – Astral
    Sep 7, 2018 at 14:57
  • I tend to agree with this answer, and I would add that by leaving so early you might cause trouble for your current PI : they would have to find somebody else for your current position; in case the position is funded by a short project, they might lose the funding and fail to deliver on the project. I'd say it's worth talking to your current boss first at least, otherwise they might hold a grudge and this might harm your reputation.
    – Erwan
    Sep 9, 2018 at 0:57

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