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I have a offer letter from a very well-known group in my field for a postdoc position. The proposed starting date would be early next year. However, I am currently also applying for a faculty (assistant professor) position at a different institution.

Should I mention this offer in my application for the faculty position (on cv or cover letter) and/or include the official offer letter?

update:

there is another sublety for one application. One faculty position I consider requires experience abroad (i.e. not in the same country) of at least 1 year. I only have 6 months but the postdoc offer would be abroad giving me the 1 year total if I take it before starting the faculty position. Should I then mention the offer?

my field is health and medical sciences

  • Why? I don't know academia much so I'm curious about what you could gain from this. I would do something like that to negotiate a better salary in industry, but I thought that faculty had fixed salaries, at least at the beginning. – Elzo Oct 14 at 14:01
  • @Elzo I would hope that having an offer letter from this very well known group would increase my chances for the faculty position. Everybody knows this group in my field. – spore234 Oct 14 at 14:03
  • But didn't this group see the same CV you are sending to this different institution? That the group accepted you just tells them "these very smart people liked the attached CV so you should too". Couldn't it even offend them? – Elzo Oct 14 at 14:06
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    @Elzo this is exactly the question – spore234 Oct 14 at 14:07
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    Are you going to do the postdoc position? You could always just accept it, and then you're not listing an offer but an actual position (one that you will hold between now and your start date in any other position that you're applying for). Of course, that limits you to definitely doing the postdoc, since if you show up having not done it there could be questions... – user3067860 Oct 15 at 11:47
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I think that it would be unwise to include a copy of an offer in another application.

But whether you inform them of the existence of an offer is a bit more subtle. I doubt that anyone will rush to hire you just because you have another offer. They will evaluate you on other things as usual. So, at best, mentioning the offer initially gets you nothing.

However, later in the process if you need a decision and they are delaying making it, you can let them know that you have a deadline. Whether that helps or hurts is also subtle. Whether it is wise, or not depends on the nature of any relationship you have been able to build with them. In the absence of any relationship, it might hurt more than help. It is easy to just cross you off the list unless they are very interested and have few other interesting applicants.

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To be blunt and clear, if anyone had done this on any of the previous hiring committees I have been on, we would have rejected them instantly. They would not have even been long-listed, let alone short listed. Having another job offer is not a reason for anyone to hire you. Indeed, it indicated a number of negative things:

  1. You are the sort of person who goes all the way through the process of getting one job but still fishes around for something "better": read, you waste everyone's time
  2. If they do want you, you are likely to try to pull off some sort of bidding war for you, increasing your package etc. That's annoying to everyone.
  3. You are implying that the research group you have a PostDoc offer from is somehow better than the place you are looking for a Faculty Position from. Like some temporary position is as good as a tenure track one. Ouch!
  4. You are lacking in subtlety, diplomacy, and general workplace etiquette.

Basically, don't do this. It is a very bad idea.

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    This actually happened during my first hiring committee experience: An otherwise impressive application has a competing job offer attached to the cover letter. All the senior people in the committee completely ignored the application. When I voiced my support for this candidate, I was given the "are you stupid look". – ssquidd Oct 14 at 19:09
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    This is a rather extreme answer. Particularly item 1, which sounds very unreasonable. Really, it is wrong to simultaneously apply to multiple positions and not jump on the first offer that comes along (especially for a postdoc when you were hoping for an assistant professorship) but hope to get additional offers and do whatever you need to to maximize your chances? That’s news to me and everyone I know (but maybe we’re all “that sort of people” you were referring to). What am I missing here, GrotesqueSI? – Dan Romik Oct 14 at 19:59
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    (To be clear, I agree that including the other offer letter is a bad idea. Mentioning the offer itself may or may not be a good idea, depending on many specific details as discussed in Buffy’s answer. But the absolutist tone of this answer does not leave a good impression, especially item 1 as I said.) – Dan Romik Oct 14 at 20:03
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    You sound like a very sensible person and I generally like your answers a lot. This one seems off the mark. Ruling out candidates for committing a minor social faux pas (even assuming that the action we’re discussing is such a thing; if done correctly it doesn’t have to be) doesn’t sound wise or fair to me, nor does jumping to conclusions about someone’s character based on such tiny amounts of evidence. – Dan Romik Oct 14 at 20:23
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    @DanRomik People are generally on their best behaviour when applying for a job. If this is the OP's "best behaviour", it's hardly "jumping to conclusions" to consider how they might behave in "normal" situations, and betting with the odds is usually a good strategy. Recruitment isn't about looking for the ideal candidate (because with limited information you have no way to achieve that). It's about making the lowest-risk decision that someone is good enough. – alephzero Oct 14 at 22:17
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You do not show a letter addressed to you personally to other people without the sender`s (explicit or implicit) consent. Never, if you have any doubt, unless you get a formal court order to do so.

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