Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ways to get a postdoc

I'm starting to think that maybe I have no idea what I'm doing when it comes to finding "the next thing" after my Ph.D. I need some insight from my wise readers.

How do people finishing grad school get postdocs? Here are ways that happens of which I am aware.

1. They see an announcement and apply.
2. Their advisor (or perhaps a committee member) is able to keep them on as a postdoc.
3. Their advisor actively works their network of people to get them a postdoc.
4. They identify someone they want to work with and write a grant for their postdoc.
5. They get a fellowship that gives them more flexibility than writing a grant for a specific project.

Obviously these aren't hard and fast, but are there any major avenues from PhD to postdoc that I'm missing? What path did you take (if applicable)? What do you think is most common in your department/discipline?


Theo said...

Seems like there's a really important one not on your list - talking to someone you want to work with, who already has money, and offers you a post-doc potentially without a formal application/advertised position. I don't have any data on this, but I suspect it's actually maybe a pretty common route.

Karina said...

Thanks Theo! That does seem like another good avenue. Do you know people who have done it this way?

Alyssa said...

I was going to say what Theo said. That seems to be a very common way to do things. My husband did that (made a meeting with a prof, said he was interested in doing a post-doc with him, and he was hired ASAP), and a few friends did that.

Actually, one of my friends did something related but on a different scale. He gave a talk at a conference, and at the end he said he was looking for a post-doc. He had two offers that evening.

Good luck!

Theo said...

Well, I've had people tell me to talk to them when I'm looking for a post-doc. I think there's a lot of bureaucratic hassle that goes into officially announcing a position, including working through university HR departments, and advertising, and having to read a bunch of applications. Hence I suspect that many PI's are really happy to hire someone who seems like a good/impressive candidate without having to go through all of that red tape.

Karina said...

Thanks Alyssa and Theo! That is very encouraging.