I plan to finish my PhD in climate sciences in about one years time. I’m not yet exactly sure what I want to do afterward but I’m considering a position in academia. A professor at my institute recommended to me to start writing some people now, inquiring about possible positions (which is in line with this answer I guess).
I have some groups in mind where I know the group leaders on something I’d call a “we recognize each other at conferences”-basis (i.e., they’ve probably read my publications and will probably remember who I am when I write them).
To be clear: I don’t want to apply for any specific position but rather want to find out if there might be a position available in one years time to which I can then apply. Another intention is to make them aware of the fact that I’m looking for a position, so that they might think of me if something comes up.
I recently did a application seminar and the recommendation there was to write a very formal mail (possibly with topic ideas already) and attach a short cv and possibly two main publications. That seems way over the top to me (although that may also be because in geosciences we tend to be more causal about those things than in other disciplines).
When asking about possible PostDoc positions what would be a good grade of professionalism? How long should the mail be and what should be included? (merely asking if somebody knows something would only take a line or two)