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I have submitted an application for a research assistant position in field of psychology and neuroscience in the USA. The person to whom I submitted my application seems to be the lab manager (not quite sure though). Let's call this person A. But I also find the job posted under another lab member (let's call this person B). It has been 20 days since I submitted my application.

  1. Should I send a follow up to person A?

  2. What if I still do not hear back from person A after sending a follow up?

Or

  1. Should I send an email to person B referencing that I have submitted my application on … to person A?

  2. What is an appropriate amount of time to wait before send email to the PI of the lab inquiring about any opening her/his lab?

Note, my qualification does fit the job requirements. Also the job posting dated at the beginning of this year so there is a possibility that the job has been filled. In this case, can still express my interest in this job and ask to be considered for future opening?

Edit: please assume that the job has not been filled. Also there is no deadline for this job. They have something along these lines "Job will be closed when the right candidate is selected."

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    Job posting was beg of the year, but when was the position supposed to start / to be filled? it is quite likely it has already been filled. – EarlGrey May 3 at 8:58
  • "Research assistance" or "research assistant"? – A rural reader May 3 at 15:04
  • Usually in the US, "research assistant" is a graduate student. Are you sure this is a job available to applicants who haven't matriculated as a PhD student at the university? – Bryan Krause May 4 at 17:40
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The answer written here assumes the position is still open and they are still searching for candidates.

Send a follow-up email to person A, cc'ing B.

Then, give them one week to reply (I mean, wait one week, not giving them a deadline :) ! ). If they do not react, try to call them on the phone (A or B, they seem to be equally involved in the decision process). It is by far less time consuming for both parties (you and A, or you and B) to discuss such a thing via phone.

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  • Do I need to make any notes for person A about cc'ing person B? Do I also need to great person B in my follow up email to person A? And thanks for the response. – Rick May 3 at 9:41
  • I would put as object "Follow up for application to position X" and then start the email "Dear A, dear B," and then concisely write as if you were talking to one person only. Depending on their answer, it is a good time to ask about possible other openings/future collaborations. – EarlGrey May 3 at 9:46
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    For calling on the phone, this depends on the professor. Some are only required to list their phone number on their website or course syllabi, but won't actually answer the phone (I had one professor do this during my undergrad). – Daveguy May 3 at 20:27
  • @Daveguy yes, correct, but there is always a way to contact directly some person (or at least to make some indirect pressure), for example calling the department secretary and asking to speak with A, or B. This is a matter of job application, not of student taking exams, so even if the number of applicants is high, persons A or B should take into account this workload and should expect being contacted personally by the applicants (I do not say it must happen, but it is likely to happen). – EarlGrey May 4 at 8:16
  • I would also suggest going to their OH, but depending on OP's location, this may not always be a possibility – Daveguy May 4 at 17:24
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It doesn't hurt to send a follow up, since it has been so long since you first applied. Definitely send a follow up email to both (and as EarlGrey mentioned, you could have only one of them as the primary recipient, while CC'ing the other).

However, job websites do tend to leave positions open that in reality have already been filled, from past experience. If the listing is months old, there is a good chance that the position could be filled already. As I mentioned, it definitely doesn't hurt to send follow ups to make sure that the position is still open or not, but if you don't get any replies, you may need to just cut your losses and move on. (EarlGrey did mention in a follow up comment that the position was posted months ago, and many such positions generally start at the beginning of the upcoming school term, if not at the beginning of the summer)

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