My PhD was in computational modeling 3D printing process using Abaqus finite element analysis. It took me 5.5 years to get the PhD and I published 4 first author papers from it. The issue is, I had put forward my desire to do experimental work during my PhD. But that did not materialize. Looking back, I do regret not choosing an experential topic. The true fact is I was not getting any good PhD positions. I liked this topic and started it. I do have an experimental background in my masters and undergrad research. But that's like 6 years ago.

After 3 years of starting, I had realized that I might get into issues securing job after PhD. But I did not want to leave my PhD halfway. Now, I am trying to get a experimental+simulations postdoc position but I am unable to get one (thanks to both my CV and covid). I know that I have screwed up chances for an experimental+simulations position.

But, do you have any suggestions on how I can approach a professor for a postdoc position with such a proposition in mind?

Another negative point on my resume. I am 31 years old.

  • 1
    What field? ....
    – user151413
    Jan 24, 2021 at 0:34
  • @user151413 field is computational materials science
    – rcive
    Jan 24, 2021 at 11:24
  • Can you clarify what experimental work in computational material science would be? To me, this sounds like, well, computation.
    – user151413
    Jan 24, 2021 at 12:06
  • @user151413 well my current field is computational materials science. But experimental work like characterization with electron microscopy, mechanical testing would help to validate the simulation results. Academic and industrial positions for computational work is limited and I am trying to get an experimental position to expand my skillset.
    – rcive
    Jan 24, 2021 at 13:26
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    If you had or have close contact to experimentalists, those are the natural people to approach if you want to work in the lab. You can also offer to start with a short half-year "internship" (even if formally on a postdoc contract), so they don't have to give you a 2-year contract just to realize after three months that in the end it turns out you are not suited for labwork.
    – user151413
    Jan 24, 2021 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


Your age isn't material. You have skills. Tell a potential advisor that you are looking to expand your skill set into experimental work. Perhaps your computational work can complement the experimental, looking at problems from two aspects.

Even if you are still doing mostly computational stuff in a new post-doc you will get connected with the experimentalist's outlook and start to absorb those skills. Joint papers would be a good way to get recognized.

But just ask for what you want and say why. It is perfectly reasonable. A post-doc should be a learning experience, not just a repetition of you doctoral studies.

  • 1
    related: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/153694/…
    – Ben Bolker
    Jan 23, 2021 at 20:28
  • @Buffy Well, my PhD work was extensively in collaboration with experimentalists. I have good understanding of the experiments and how to design better experiments for validation of the computational results. But that's not enough to secure a position with computational+experimental requirements. They require hands-on experience. That's what I want to acquire in my postdoc.
    – rcive
    Jan 24, 2021 at 11:27

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