The question is really an attempt to ask for help and advice from academic staff members, industrial research staff or anyone who has had personal experience with Post-doc job applications.

Obviously there are lots of websites that list post-doc positions, and some are dedicated just for that. However in reality these positions have a lot of hidden intricacies that might lead you down a path that has been a dead end for a long time. The applicant however learns about this just at the very end of the process.

This is somewhat frustrating since most of the people I know about looking for a postdoc are in the final stages of their PhD and really cannot afford to waste too much time on the wrong thing.

Some ideas that raise my concern into the straightforwardness of a postdoc application are:

  • Many Post-Doc positions are advertised just for the sake of advertising the position, however sometimes the successful candidate had been chosen already, even before the position was open !
  • A lot of advise I get is that i should contact the concerned Professor/person directly and not wait for a position to be open, being proactive
  • Some positions are just out of reach for fresh PhD graduates because other previous post-docs are also applying for the same position and so the competition becomes unfair

I am hoping that this question leads into real world, clear and effective advice for people looking to get a Post-doc position

closed as too broad by Buzz, user3209815, Florian D'Souza, gman, Coder Oct 23 '17 at 17:31

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 5
    Pro tip: get your own grant ;) – Mark Oct 21 '17 at 16:01
  • @Mark this might be somewhat challenging as well, but am sure if you do get a grant then that would make your placement process much easier – AnarKi Oct 21 '17 at 16:07
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    Where do you get the idea that most positions are not "for real"? That is pretty much the opposite of my experience, though that might be a difference of fields. – Tobias Kildetoft Oct 21 '17 at 17:17
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    @Mark: That's actually bad advice, since (1) most funding sources won't accept applications from researchers without a PhD; (2) it can take longer to hear about a grant application than to line up a postdoc. – aeismail Oct 21 '17 at 17:41
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    Go to conferences if you can. I've seen people add a slide to the end of their presentation saying that they are looking for a post-doc position. I've heard senior researchers mention in their talks that they have an open post-doc position. At big conferences, there are notice boards advertising open positions. However, your best bet is a potential advisor who knows (of) you from your PhD work. – Roland Oct 23 '17 at 6:20

I would recommend both applying for the postdoc positions advertised, and also writing to professors with research groups that you are interested to join.

Applying for a postdoc is similar to any other job application. You are responsible for sending out the applications or reaching out the future employers. A pro-active approach will invariably be beneficial to the applicant.

As an applicant, I would not recommend worrying about the fairness of the jobs advertised. Just apply.

  • If applicants would not worry for the fairness of the job ads, then who would? – Dmitry Savostyanov Oct 23 '17 at 1:40

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