I and my spouse are planning to apply for a post-doctoral position with same professor. Since we both are eligible for and interested in the positions, we want to communicate the same to the professor.

I want to know better etiquette in communicating with the professor.

We have the following possibilities.

  1. Sending emails individually without mentioning our marital relation;

  2. Sending emails individually with mention of the marital relation;

  3. Sending a single email on behalf of both.

I believe that the last option may not be recommended, but the professor will be aware of the complete context, which may be advantageous to the professor as well as to us.

Note that we include all the documents such as CV etc., in each email and the professor has enough positions to offer.

What is apt for us to do in this context?

  • Are the two of you a package deal? I mean, is it both or none? Also, is there any possibility of one of you being in a supervisor position to the other if you are both accepted? Usually most institutions dislike having married persons supervising their spouse.
    – BillOnne
    Jan 14, 2023 at 6:29
  • @BillOnne We like both or none. There is no hierarchy among us. Both are in the same position.
    – satya
    Jan 14, 2023 at 6:32
  • 1
    It's only my bias, so I won't put it in the answer. I would let the researcher know and that you both need jobs, that you would turn it down if only one person got an offer. But keep in mind it might hurt your chances.
    – BillOnne
    Jan 14, 2023 at 6:35
  • There are two positions? Jan 15, 2023 at 1:55
  • @AzorAhai-him- There are at least two positions.
    – satya
    Jan 15, 2023 at 7:13

1 Answer 1


Probably #2 is best, with #1 worst. I wouldn't phrase it as "both or none" but as "we both need positions in the same place (university, city, department, ...).

The recipient may have suggestions for fallback if only one of you can be offered a position. It leaves more options open to discussion.

Don't make demands until at least one of you gets an offer and you can then evaluate your position. You might be able to negotiate something if one of you is "highly" desirable..

  • Any chance you could elaborate on why you think #1 is the worst? From what I gather from the comment "we like both or none" is that that would be the preferred outcome, but that both spouses would still consider the position even if the other one did not get it offered. And while I did not have a partner while going through my postdoctoral stage, if I try to imagine myself in that situation I find the thought of mentioning it before getting the offer strange - as I am always looking to land a job based on my own merits rather than external factors.
    – penelope
    Jan 16, 2023 at 18:02
  • Basically I think I would personally always have a doubt in my mind whether I was offered a position on my own merits or "only" because I presented myself as part of a package, if I had been offered a position after presenting myself as part of a package. Of course, I would mention the relationship to the supervisor the second after being offered the position, regardless of whether I would eventually want to disclose it to my colleagues or not. But I can't really see what one's marital status has to do with their job application, especially in a way that you see option #1 as the worst.
    – penelope
    Jan 16, 2023 at 18:06
  • To be fair, I might unconsciously be taking a page from my PhD supervisors' book - while they were always approachable and great to work with, they kept their private life very private. To the point that most of the people in the lab only realised in my last year of PhD that my supervisor was in fact married to the person two offices down the hall, when they sent out a celebratory e-mail about the birth of their child and signed it together. And I can kind of see why - when we had couples join a department, soon somebody would ask "So, who came in the package? I bet it was [female spouse]!"
    – penelope
    Jan 16, 2023 at 18:13
  • Actually, the only reason I don't recommend #1 is that you need to disclose the relationship. But the points you make in the comments are valid.
    – Buffy
    Jan 16, 2023 at 18:15
  • Phew, good to hear there's no further reasons against #1. I agree that you need to disclose the relationship, I'm just not convinced you need to do it unless you are in (or are about to accept) a position in the same lab/institution/group.
    – penelope
    Jan 16, 2023 at 18:19

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