I started my first postdoctoral position one year ago in a new university. In two years (or so), I'd like to apply for another postdoc position in another university, in a research team that works on subjects that are quite similar to mine.

Sometimes (like once a year) I meet at conferences the group leader of this research lab to which I'd like to apply in two years.

If I met him again, should I tell my intentions to him? Should I say to him that I'd like to apply to his lab in two years?

For similar questions here on Academia, I read different points of view: some people wrote "It's better he already knows who you are when your resume will arrive on his desktop", while some other people say "The more you wait, the more scientific results and published papers you get, the better you resume gets... so it's better not to apply to early, when your resume is incomplete of your future accomplishments"

What do you think?

  • Agree with @David's response below, and would add that if you do in fact decide to do postdoc #2 in this group and plan on telling this group lead, that you check their group's website or latest papers just prior to the conference, to show that you keep track of their work. Seeing an interested and capable junior researcher who is knowledgeable about one's research work will show evidence of your interest and make a good impression. As David said, your resume can wait until it's time to actually apply, so that it reflects your latest work. But I would also think twice before another postdoc.
    – A.S
    May 14, 2015 at 12:28

1 Answer 1


Sure, why not? Telling him you are planning to apply is not the same as applying. He is not going to make an evaluation right now, so the drawbacks you mention don't apply. You might also ask him what he regards as good preparation for working in his group.

The only part of this that looks bad to me is that you are planning in advance to do a second post-doc, rather than even try for a permanent position. But I understand that may be the norm in some fields.

  • Thanks David Ketcheson. Well, I could centainly apply for a permanent position, get rejected and then move to a second postdoc ;-) I'm in computer science and it's almost impossible to get a tenure track position after only a postdoc. In addition, I'd like to take advantage of a 2nd postdoc also to visit another university and country.
    – larry
    May 15, 2015 at 13:44

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