In the field of Materials and Chemical Engineering, what exactly is to be done in order to secure a postdoc position (or even face an interview) at an overseas university especially when you have got no connections of your own or your PhD advisor?

So far, I have tried (1) cold emailing the professors to which I barely got any response, (2) applied for postdoc openings announced at different platforms like LinkedIn, jobs.ac.uk, etc. but unsuccessful in both of them.

To further add to my pain, my PhD adviser has barely got any connections, she has an expertise in Theory and Modelling while I have done research on interdisciplinary experimental and theoretical studies on materials. Although, I have good publication record to my name with seven papers in internationally peer reviewed journals and other skills as well. A few professors have replied to my email that I have a good CV and strong credentials but they don't have funding for me.

I want to know what is the right way to connect with the professors that I want to work with and how to approach them in a right way through an email. (Since I don't have funds, I can't afford to connect with them through a conference or in person!)

Please help!!

CV attached

  • I don't see how strangers on the internet will help with this problem. At least not without reading your CV. Nov 27, 2019 at 10:26
  • Added my CV link to the question. Thanks for the input
    – LekhaS
    Nov 27, 2019 at 10:35
  • This question is quite clearly not a shopping question and should not be closed for that reason.
    – Tommi
    Nov 28, 2019 at 10:32
  • does any of you work have any citations? Maybe people who have cited you would be interested. Dec 27, 2019 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


This is what I have done in mathematics. I have applied in Europe mostly.

  1. Go to conferences relevant to your subject and get to know people. Give presentations. Ask around for jobs.

  2. Find senior researches active in your area; start, for example, from a bibliography of a recently published article and search online for the names. Are there open positions at their departments?

  3. Take one country at a time, or, in case of a large country, even less. Wikipedia might very well have a list of universities in that country. Go through them, one-by-one, and see if they have research (projects, researchers) relevant to what you are doing. Keep track of particularly relevant universities and check them periodically for new open positions, or set up some kind of alert or RSS feed if possible.

  4. If there are any country-specific job databases, follow those, too, and use alerts or check periodically.

  5. When writing the application, include a few words about how your current skills are relevant for the department or what you would be working on. This shows that you know where you are applying to, but also requires you to have done the work.

  6. If you have contacts who are also applying for jobs, ask them if they know of any that would be suitable for you. They might not want to have you as a competitor, and it might not be polite to ask, so this is best with people who have somewhat different career stage or research interests. Also share jobs relevant to them with them, possibly excluding the ones you are applying for.

  7. Your advisor seems to have published with a number of people. Maybe some of them are possible contacts?

  • I am doing what you suggested in #2. Looking for their names in literature and then emailing them after going through their lab group page that mentions they have open position. However, I am still not getting any response from any of them.
    – LekhaS
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:13
  • Should I approach grad students working under profs to know if there are any positions available? Of course assuming that profs won't reply to reminder emails as well!
    – LekhaS
    Nov 27, 2019 at 18:15
  • I doubt contacting a more junior person would not hurt; the professor might be too busy to read emails or might get too many of them. but I would primarily send applications to open positions, as in many places all or all substantially long positions are by default conducted as open search. But this depends on the country.
    – Tommi
    Nov 28, 2019 at 10:34

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