I obtained a PhD in Microbiology. I have some papers and a competitive CV. I would like to continue in Academia or to try industry.

Is the normal path to find a postdoc job in naturejobs.com? I'm overwhelmed by the high number of jobs that are being offered, I just need one!

  • 17
    How did your PhD advisor answer this question? You did ask your advisor this question, didn't you? – JeffE Oct 17 '15 at 19:46
  • 3
    The normal path is that you ask your advisor or other trusted peoples from your university. This is assuming you have already gotten drunk or whatever other foolish thing people do when they get their PhD. – gfjhjgfhj Oct 18 '15 at 2:42
  • @JeffE, I have not asked yet since I even didn't know what to say. I'm information collapsed now. I want to continue doing research but collapsed by the large number of options on the internet and the lack of guide by my previous research centre (if I don't ask they don't say anything). There is no protocol for this, I assume I should ask my advisor from your comments. – biotech Oct 18 '15 at 14:14
  • 4
    @gfjhjgfhj Actually, the normal approach is to ask your advisor well before you finish your PhD. I recommend asking in your first semester as a PhD student, if not in the first week. – JeffE Oct 19 '15 at 18:50

In the sciences, it is almost expected if you want to go into academia that you will do at least one postdoc. (In some disciplines like astrophysics, you might even do more than one!) There are a lot of different job boards out there for finding a postdoc, but your best source (assuming you are still on speaking terms) is your thesis advisor. He/she will likely have friends and colleagues looking for a postdoc. Those folks will then know the background you are coming from and likely put you on their short list. Good luck!

  • 1
    Biology graduates also generally do more than one postdoc. "your thesis advisor" <-- this is the obvious answer. Any thesis advisor worth their salt should help you find a job. – snd Oct 17 '15 at 19:03
  • @cjsullivan: as always, this depends a lot on your country - in some, it is is perfectly normal to do more than one postdoc, in many it is not and you get promoted to associate professor and start a group. – Gerhard Oct 17 '15 at 19:07
  • 1
    In some disciplines like astrophysics, you might even do more than one! Actually, in some disciplines like astrophysics, it is normal experience to spend almost all your life on postdocs positions only. – gented Oct 17 '15 at 22:07
  • 1
    @GennaroTedesco Certainly not in the US. If you don't have a real job after 2-6 years or so, the understanding is you won't get one and there's no point in staying hired at 1.5x minimum wage so you leave the field. – user4512 Oct 18 '15 at 0:49
  • 1
    @ChrisWhite That was exactly my point, as emphasising that it is very unlikely to only do one-two postdocs and then get a longer position. Having ahead of you people with already many more years of positions (and hence publications) that still do not get tenures, it is highly improbable that a new joiner in the field will get one (unless you are outstandingly good). – gented Oct 18 '15 at 0:56

As Sullivan mentioned, it is very popular to rely on the help, support, and networking skills of one's supervisor when looking for a first postdoc. The pro's are quite clear:

  • You do not have to search for the job on the various job-boards --- your supervisor will find the post by asking his friends
  • You do not have to choose the most appropriate job among advertised --- your supervisor will do the choice (or compose the short-list) for you
  • You do not have to engage in competition with other candidates --- the recommendation and influence of your supervisor works on your behalf
  • You do not take any risks associated with the wrong choice, poorly prepared application documents, poor presentation skills, tough luck, etc.

However, there is at least one major con of doing this:

  • By using your supervisor as a door opener you demonstrate a certain degree of dependence and lack of your own vision and responsibility. In other words, you do not put yourself on board as an independent researcher.
  • what if the supervisor does not help due to several issues raised during PhD work. – Mithun Oct 23 '15 at 7:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.