I am a final year PhD in a STEM field. My PhD research field is fairly stagnant with less scope of future growth. I had chosen this topic because I was interested in the field during my masters and did not investigate seriously about the future prospects in the field.

Now I totally regret it. I managed to publish just 1 publication during my 5 years of PhD, and am planning to submit 2 more. There was no scope getting an internship in my research area and while searching for industrial positions, I have found that such positions are also nonexistent. Lot of red flags for a research topic.

I wish I could have been more serious while investigating for PhD positions. I could have done many things differently. I want to be in academia. And I am looking to switching to a different field during my postdoc to make my profile better. How should I approach a prospective professor if I have nothing to show competency in the new field? Is it even possible, if there's an overlap of just a simulation technique between my work during PhD and the field I want to work in?

  • 2
    Are you sure your field is dead, or maybe it's a usual panic attack of an academic that is obsessed with always "being in the cutting edge of research"?
    – Dilworth
    Sep 14, 2019 at 21:22
  • The title may be substantially misleading: it would/could most likely be read as you're thinking about resurrecting the field you're working in by changing the field's attitudes or directions. Reading your question, I think a better title would end "with hope of changing fields." Sep 14, 2019 at 21:22
  • Hopefully you have fields that are related or close to your field that you can still get into a post doc. It seems unlikely that there is a field that is totally disconnected and totally isolated from every other field. If not then maybe look at doing some courses and networking with more fruitful areas.
    – Poidah
    Sep 15, 2019 at 0:20

1 Answer 1


To some extent, it's expected that you're not an expert in the field of the post-doc. One of the points of doing a post-doc in the first place is to broaden your research profile.

The thing you should be worried about is your track record - from the prospective advisor's side, one of the most important questions is whether you're able to effectively finish up a research project. If one finished publication is way beyond in the norm in your field, then you should indeed be worried; if it is the norm you may be fine.

The other aspect is to put up a convincing job letter that will explain why you are the right fit -- you may want to emphasize relevant skills and experiences and explain how they will help in the job you apply for.

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