As you approach the end of your PhD, you may find yourself considering a postdoctoral position or postdoc as your next job after graduation. Pursuing a postdoc is a career decision in itself, and you should approach it consciously to find the most suitable candidates and get the most benefits. Consider these five practical steps to find a postdoc to prepare you for long-term career success.
Understand what a postdoc is. Postdoctoral National Postdoctoral Association As “a temporary period of instructing research and/or academic training, the purpose is to acquire the professional skills needed to pursue the career path of your choice.” Postdoctoral is a relatively new phenomenon in the history of American higher education, originated in American science 1911 Promote scientific progress in the United States and extend to the humanities 1990s and 2000s Support the professional development of PhDs pursuing teacher positions. Today, interdisciplinary doctors use postdoctoral fellows to prepare for a variety of careers by diversifying their research skill sets, changing research fields, expanding their publication records, gaining experience in funding applications, and improving their mentoring and teaching skills. , And even receive training on professional career paths other than research.
As postdoctoral fellows increasingly lead to career choices other than faculty positions, they can also be found in various fields, including academia, industry, government, and non-profit organizations. Academic post-doctorate is still the most common, usually under the guidance of individual faculty, academic department or post-doctoral program. More and more STEM postdoctoral positions are appearing in industry, especially in pharmaceutical and technology companies. Government laboratories and institutions provide postdoctoral fellows in research, policy or media. Finally, postdoctoral fellows can be found in non-profit organizations, such as research institutions, think tanks, community organizations, and professional associations. Since postdoctoral fellows exist in various environments with different focuses and career advantages, you should make career decisions before deciding whether and where to be a postdoctoral fellow.
Determine the value of the postdoc to your future career. By conducting career exploration and decision-making before applying for a postdoc, you can determine the opportunity that best meets your career goals-and even determine that a postdoc is actually not the best career step.Too many graduate students Due to the pressure of the consultant, I chose to be a postdoc by default, Or because of fear of leaving academia. Knowing that you are choosing to complete a postdoc to develop specific skills or gain expertise to improve your ability to pursue your ideal career, it is much better to be empowered in your decision.
To determine what benefits a postdoc might have, you should start from Explore your career options. Self-assessment tools such as Doctor Imagine For humanists and social scientists and My IDP Because scientists help clarify your top skills, interests and values, and find a variety of career options that match your preferences. Once you have identified several occupations of interest, you can start to gather more information about each occupation by reading articles and books, participating in professional activities through your university or professional association, participating in experiential learning, and most importantly information interviews. details.
Information interview Obtaining a doctorate in a career of interest may be the most effective way to explore whether a postdoc is right for you. Through dialogue with professionals who have completed and uncompleted postdoctoral fellows, you can ask tailored questions about the value of postdoctoral fellows in the career path, such as whether you need to make progress in their field and whether certain types of postdoctoral fellows are better than others Postdoctoral fellows are more helpful to others, or whether there are specific skills that are essential to develop during the postdoctoral period. If the postdoc is not good for your career, please ask if other experiences will provide useful training or preparation. Once you have conducted this research and understand how a postdoc can benefit your career ambitions, you can be more confident about choosing to pursue a postdoc.
Given the variety of postdoctoral options you can choose from, it is important to clarify the specific career goals you wish to achieve. Is your postdoctoral goal to develop a research plan for faculty and staff and obtain independent funding? Publish your paper and expand your academic record? Teaching multiple courses? Or are they more driven by technology or expertise, such as learning new programming languages, policy making processes, or the development and management of museum collections and exhibits? These goals may lead you to choose different types of postdoctoral positions, such as research positions in academia, government laboratories, or research institutions; teaching and curriculum development postdoctoral positions; computational research postdoctoral positions; government policy-focused postdoctoral positions; or affiliated Post-doctorate in a museum or non-profit organization.Identifying these goals before your postdoc search will help you prioritize applications and creation Personal development plan For your postdoc.
Finally, consider how much time you want to devote to the postdoc to achieve these career goals. Post-doctorate can be an annual or multi-year contract, and can choose to renew. Some doctors choose to complete two or three different postdoctoral fellows before proceeding to the next career transition; however, postdoctoral fellows, like graduate schools, are a definite training period, not a long-term career. The benefits of additional post-doctoral training should be weighed against the economic and personal benefits of long-term positions. If you find yourself pursuing multiple postdoctoral fellows out of fear of your career prospects, please seek help from your institution’s career counselor or trusted mentor. By knowing how many years you are willing to invest in this additional training before starting your postdoc, you are more likely to make the most of each year.
Looking for postdoctoral opportunities. Looking for postdoctoral fellows may require two different strategies: looking for postdoctoral opportunities in advertisements (which can be found in job descriptions of job committees, or in applications for postdoctoral scholarship programs at universities or organizations) or in meetings with potential faculty advisors Establish contact, through your contact form or via email.
To find the postdoctoral position in the advertisement, search for keywords such as “postdoctoral researcher”, “visiting researcher (ship)” and “researcher (ship)” on the higher education recruitment website, such as NPA Career Center with Inside higher education profession, STEM specific work board, such as Natural occupation with Science career, And humanities and social sciences specific working committees, such as The internetIn addition, your professional association may have its own working committee that lists postdoctoral fellows in your field of research.Some postdoctoral programs have their own websites, which contain application details rather than recruitment announcements; these programs can be searched on the Internet or found in the curated list of postdoctoral programs (for example Scientific road, Academic work of humanists and social scientists Wiki And the list of postdoctoral scholarships at the University of California, Berkeley Humanities with social science). Pay careful attention to the application cycle and start date: academic, industry, and government postdoctoral fellows in STEM fields are published throughout the academic year, and the start date is usually requested as soon as possible. In contrast, academic and non-profit postdoctoral fellows in the humanities and social sciences follow the faculty application cycle more closely, with deadlines in the fall and winter, and start dates in the fall of the following year.
For academic postdoctoral fellows in STEM and social sciences, you can also use online methods to find opportunities. Some teachers only rely on direct enquiries from graduate students to fill postdoctoral positions in their research groups. At the meeting, take the time to connect with the faculty who is doing the research you are interested in, and set up a one-on-one meeting where you can ask questions about their research group. You can also choose to seek advice from faculty and staff in your field from your own consultants, research collaborators or dissertation committees, or conduct online research on faculty and staff working in institutions or departments of interest. It is recommended that you contact potential faculty advisors 6 to 12 months before graduation, in case vacancies in the research group are filled in advance or advisors require you to apply for funding before the start date. In order to get the best results for postdoctoral search, please use various search methods.
Send postdoctoral application or inquiry letter. Applications for postdoctoral positions usually require at least a resume, a cover letter and a reference list. These documents are also necessary when studying for a post-doctorate through online channels. However, applications for interdisciplinary postdoctoral programs may also require applicant statements or personal statements, research or teaching statements, writing samples, academic transcripts, and/or letters of recommendation.
Make sure to tailor your application documents appropriately according to the position. For example, if you are applying for a teaching postdoc, please highlight your teaching experience and training early in your resume, and ask teachers who have observed your teaching to provide references. Tailoring is especially important for cover letters, applicant statements, and personal statements. You should change these documents for each position you apply for and refer to specific details about the group, department or program you are applying for. Collect these details by thoroughly researching relevant websites, publications, and presentations and thinking about how they align with your postdoc interests and goals. These statements usually detail your specific interest in the position or project, your qualifications and areas of interest, your postdoctoral goals, and how the postdoctoral fellow will support your career goals. Generic cover letters or statements may make people feel uninterested, so showing enthusiasm for specific opportunities through customized applications can greatly improve your chances of getting an interview or quotation.
Use interviews or information interviews to determine the most suitable postdoc. Postdoctoral training can last for many years, so it is equally important to consider how the environment will affect your personal happiness and success during this period.Assess whether the postdoc is fit Including the guidance and management style of the research consultant or supervisor, the style of the work environment promoted by colleagues or organizations, how the location supports your lifestyle or family considerations, and opportunities for career support and participation in career preparation. Use values assessment to determine your career Values Doctor Imagine Not only will it help you rank your values, but it will also provide questions you can ask to review how postdoctoral opportunities are aligned with those values.
After determining your values, you can use conversations with faculty advisors or supervisors, current postdoctoral fellows and former postdoctoral fellows to determine the suitability of a particular postdoctoral fellow. If you are asked to interview a consultant or supervisor, please prepare questions on the following topics: their management style and postdoctoral training plan, their participation in determining the topic and direction of your research or project, funding, and the reasons for the success of the postdoc in that group , Department or plan. You may have the opportunity to meet-or request to meet-other postdoctoral or researchers in the group or project to give you a better understanding of the work environment and career outcomes. In addition, consider asking former postdocs to conduct information interviews; after being promoted to the next position, they are more likely to talk frankly about their experiences.
A postdoctoral fellow can be a very valuable experience in your career development. Choosing to do a postdoc for specific career goals, applying for opportunities to support these career goals and evaluating how the postdoctoral environment can promote your success will help ensure that you get the most from your experience.