A question for those currently job-seeking...


What type of academic jobs are you applying for?

I'm starting to apply for academic jobs for after my PhD ends (Sept) and obviously, there aren't many around. I've applied for funding to stay at my current uni but it's pretty unlikely I'll get it. I could do to start straight after my PhD (couldn't we all!) as I don't have a lot of savings to live off, and nor does my boyf.

However, I'm fairly flexible on location and am free to move around within the UK (no family ties or children etc). I just wondered whether people are restricting themselves to post-doc jobs and research officer/fellow positions, or whether you're all going for research assistant jobs as well? As far as I can see from the PhD completers on the forum I should be grateful for anything I can get, so I hope it's not too stupid a question!

Cheers, KB


It's not a stupid question at all as we would like to get a job ASAP so any help is good.  I would love a postdoc but they really are a bit thin on the ground in my field!  I have seen very few that I am actually qualified for so any that I like the look of that are in my field or close to but use a different technique I go for the ... I have knowledge of the area and transferable skills or I would be interested to gain/develop new skills in this area etc....  Sadly this approach has not paid off yet but I do know it has worked for other people.

I have thought of trying to get funding and have started to approach people but it's quite hard for me to ask people as I'm quite a shy person as well so it's finding the right time/way to approach someone! 

I have also applied for other research posts and some teaching posts (e.g. uni teachers/fellowships) that come have up.  I don't have any publications or "proper" teaching experience so I think that has prevented me getting anywhere with the teaching posts even temporary ones.  I applied for a permanent one recently and got told that they had so many applicants that it took them 2 months to tell me that I didn't get shortlisted. I was amazed at the number of people that had applied and pleased they actually got back to me as a lot don't!  It's like giving you peace of mind!  So it looks like competition is really tough! 

Publications really matter if you apply to postdocs/research post in Europe and America as I had that confirmed by a lovely academic in America who actually gave me feedback when she told me I didn't get shortlisted. It was really nice as she told me the criteria they used and that I had some of them but not the publications which were top of the list!  She also told me it was even more competitive at the moment than usual and to hang in there if I wanted a job in academia which was a nice gesture. 

I have a friend who has got a job as a research technician with a well funded research group and thinks she may get promoted as a position becomes free.  She was asked whether she would be happy doing it as she has a PhD but the location suited and it's a good area of research to get into which was different from her own but uses the same techniques she used for her project. That shows that you never know what might happen when you apply for jobs - the main thing is to get your foot in the door and get contacts/network and that will lead to new opportunities! 

I hope this helps.  I think it's a good idea to cast the net as far as possible as you never know what may turn up.  Things seem to turn up when you least expect them so you need to be flexible. Good luck and also to everybody job hunting!  We will get there in the end though I hope sooner rather than later! 
(up) :p


Definitely not a stupid question! I've been applying for a variety of positions over the last few months but yet to find anything. I'm restricted by location unfortunately so this has limited my options considerably - the fact that you're willing to relocate will really help you out.

I've applied for a few post-doc positions in academia and industry where I've been a fairly good fit to the job requirements and have made it to the interview stage - unsuccessful so far although waiting to hear back from one. Also like Doodles, I've widened the net and applied for post-docs that are not completely in my field but have felt I have a transferable skill or overlapping experience that may complement the job - have never been short-listed for these roles but definitely think it is worth trying. I've also applied for post-docs which don't immediately look that attractive (very short contracts to cover maternity leave for instance) in the hope that getting your foot in the door might lead to more opportunities and networking experiences.

As far as research assistant roles, I also consider these and found one which seemed excellent - it was "permanent" and involved providing support for a number of projects plus helping out with student labs plus pay was quite good. Obviously loads of people applied and I didn't get short-listed which was a pity but to me this role looked even more attractive to the post-doc jobs that are going.

I've also been trying speculative applications to interesting companies but this has been fruitless so far. Should really try approaching academic labs for funding application collaborations but it is a bit daunting if you don't know anyone (I've just relocated to a new city).

Lots of luck to you


PhD-wise I think I'm at a similar stage to you KB. I'd like to get into student services but haven't succeeded in being shortlisted thus far due to having no direct experience in student services despite being a student, tutoring and lecturing students and being a mother of students :-(. I want to stay in academia but not academia-academia if you know what I mean ;-). Having said that I have applied for two postdocs (no joy) and a few other outside uni jobs, equally no joy!


It's a tough world eh?! I think I'm gonna just apply for anything that looks suitable, regardless of grade/level for now. There are a few research assistant posts that look really interesting, although they are in a slightly different area to my PhD, but I guess it's worth a shot. I'm sort of hoping if I don't get funding to stay at my current uni this year I can work somewhere else for a year or two and then return to my current uni when there is funding available for a research officer/fellowship, but it probably won't work quite like that! It's frustrating because we're quite a big team here with lots of different project grants, but it just looks like there won't be anything turning up this year- any other year and I would have been fine! :( Best, KB


I'm applying for assistant jobs too - don't see the point in not applying for them. I've only been applying for jobs in this area so far, however as of last week I'm applying anywhere in the country.I'm not quite sure what my hubby thinks of that, but we'll see...


Hi, I thought I might jump in on this thread to ask where do you find these jobs advertised? I will be looking for work again at the end of the summer, post viva and relocation. I am happy to apply to research assistants to post docs if the numbers add for childcare too!


Quote From dunni73:

where do you find these jobs advertised?



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*content removed - advertising* and about a gazillion different university websites ;-)


Oops, sorry. I didn't mean to advertise. Naughty me :$


Oops looks like my question may incite advertising, sorry I just wanted to see where to search for jobs apart from this site. Oh well, disregard my query and I will find out the info elsewhere :$


I'll PM you


This is a really good and useful thread.

I'm actually looking to the future for a change (although my general negativity won't let me believe I may actually pass my PhD). From my experiences looking and my friends in similar positions I think the overwhelming factor is location, location, location. Staying in academia also seems very difficult at the moment, especially if your thin on the ground in terms of publications (I've got a awful short communication pending and thats it).

I've settled on 3 general routes to research post PhD (if I pass) that I guess I think applys to people in my position (not the best PhD, limited publications, no real contacts from my PhD/collaborating institute).

1. Go far and away - litterally search the entire world, only really applys if you've got no ties and a sense of adventure.

2. Begin in Industry - Theres actually quite alot of jobs kicking about in industry at the moment, often at 'start up' Biotech companies. Its a risk because its not acedemia but I think if you can find a company thats very much into the R&D side of things with collaborations it may be a good bet.

3. Small cog in a very big machine - Try and get into a large research institute which will allow you to progress, the downside being is that you'll likely start off on a poor wage and have no where near the level of responsibility that you want (i.e a Research assistant post rather than a post-doc fellow).


So far I've only applied for post docs but would also apply for research assistants posts topic they intersted me. I've even seen a couple that have had Phd on the desirable criteria. Dunno how someone without a Phd but stands a chance to get on in research!


That's true - I don't know people with PhDs stand to get chance in research! ;-)

You need X no of publications, X years of experience to get anywhere esp. for your first postdoc! There just doesn't seem to be enough funding!