I have changed labs 5 times in the past 13 years as a research lab technician. Every time the reason was only because a lab ran out of funding. Unless the recruiter contacts my references, they might think it is due to a personal problem.

So should I mention that the reason was due to a lack of funding on my C.V. and/or cover letter? If so, which one(s)? If not, why not?

These are molecular biology and biochemistry nationally-recognized labs in the U.S.

1 Answer 1


I am not in molecular biology myself, so I may miss some subject-specific details. In general, though, spending 2 - 2.5 years in each postdoc-type position is not uncommon or particularly strange. Most of the postdoc positions I ever see are advertised for 1, 2, or 3 years; and longer postdoc positions are quite uncommon. On the contrary, I believe, if someone spends 5 to 7 years in the same place, the questions may arise as to why they did not progress and move to a better post somewhere else?

  • If you have spent at least one year in every lab, I believe, that is fine and you do not have to explain anything (until you desperately want to do so).
  • If you spent less than a year in some of the labs, this may look strange and this deserves an explanation. The cover letter is the best place to address such questions.
  • On the other hand, spending 13 years as a post-doc would itself be something that would need explaining. Also, I'd wonder at what point you should be partly responsible for bringing in the funding yourself.
    – Jessica B
    Oct 29, 2015 at 8:14
  • 1
    Clarification: I'm not a post-doc, I'm a lab technician.
    – Melissa
    Oct 29, 2015 at 13:26
  • @Melissa Sorry, I do not really now much about lab technicians. It may be the same, may be quite different. Consider asking on chemistry.SE: chemistry.stackexchange.com Oct 29, 2015 at 13:47

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