My field of study is Computational mechanics and branch is mechanical engineering. I will be submitting my thesis in September. Subsequently, I will be submitting my 3 manuscripts to journals for publishing. At this moment, I have just one paper published. So, I was wondering what should be the correct time to apply for post doctoral positions in the US?

I also have an offer of continuing a small (7-12 months) postdoc position in my PhD lab till I get my pending papers published and get a position somewhere else. Also, I will get to work on a new project that would help me learn and implement a new numerical methodology. This will help me to expand the scope of my research interests (would make study of different length scales possible), which might help me to secure a better position.

What should I do? My mind says to stay with my advisor's offer and make my CV strong. Will that be a good choice?


2 Answers 2


Get the applications going now. After all, you will be finishing up SEP. It's coming soon. A lot of places are sort of geared to the academic calendar. (Postdocs can be a little more come and go, but still things may move by the ac calendar.)

Try to dress the resume up by listing some papers as "in preparation". Yes, it's not ideal that your pub list is so anemic, but it is what it is. Waiting for it to get better makes no sense. After all you can always hunt again in the fall, if needed, with the stronger resume. But I wouldn't stop from looking for a gig now.

Also, it's not at all clear to me why you can't submit the papers now so you can list them as "in review". This would be normal (publishing pre-thesis) in math, engineering, and hard and soft sciences. But perhaps this is different in humanities if your thesis will be published as a real book.

Of course your research may be dependent on colleagues or shared apparatus time or the like. But in that case, I would not be sanguine about hitting SEP thesis and fall paper timelines. Things can always go wrong. Try to carve off pieces you can publish now.

  • 1
    "Try to dress the resume up by listing some papers as in preparation" People do this, but I do not believe it works. Especially not in STEM fields where many PhD students have multiple publications. Apr 23, 2019 at 8:24

Start applying for postdocs about six months before you would like to start the job. You need six months because most of your applications will fail. Once you succeed, it takes several months to complete a contract and organize your move. If you need a visa, it could take much longer.

In my opinion, a postdoc in your PhD lab harms your record because it indicates you were unable to get a position elsewhere. Fair or not, it is simply traditional to move for your postdoc.

Submit your papers as soon as you can.

  • My advisor has been busy for quite sometime now and has not been able to get the manuscripts correction going. That's why I don't have publications till now. However, I believe that I can get few of them going by September this year. My advisor is suggesting that I delay my defense as long as I can (December being the deadline for graduating this year), so that I can apply for positions in the meantime and move on once I get something somewhere. Does this sound like a fair idea?
    – Quosta
    Apr 23, 2019 at 9:24
  • @Quosta I have heard this before. It is good for your advisor if you keep working for low pay. If you need until December to improve your work or not, I cannot tell you - that is your advisor's job. You should encourage your advisor to act as quickly as possible, though. Apr 23, 2019 at 10:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .