I am getting really really frustrated. I have been searching for a PhD in a Cancer related area, on a weekly basis and applying, since Sep 2010 and ive had all but 1 INTERVIEW which i was informed that i just missed getting the position over someone more experienced.
Since then, ive had no more interviews and a good number of unsuccessful applications.
Why havent I had any more interview offers or even responses to some applications.
Where am i going wrong? or what do i need to add to my CV to make myself stand out?
I have a BSc Biomedical Science, 1st class and just over a year of Cytology lab experience, research experience in Histopathology techniques for diagnosis of sarcoma (undergrad dissertation which was published last year in the Journal of Clinical Pathology)... I am keen and try my best to show this in my applications.
I would usually start off my reply to a post like this by saying that PhDs are being heavily oversubscribed at the moment, due to job shortages - I've heard that numbers of applications are three times what they were a few years ago. However, you clearly have excellent qualifications, soooo....
My first questions would be, which university is your degree from? Is it from a red-brick/Russell Group/similar, or from a very new uni which some people may regard a being of lesser quality? Second, have you had your CV and covering letter checked by anyone else, like a careers service at your old university? I'm not suggesting there is a negative answer to either of these, but considering your first, your experience, and that you have a publication, it seems very strange that you're not even getting interviews.
I'd suggest contacting places you'vem applied but had no joy with, and asking them whether they could give you some feedback, at least something more constructive than "We had lots of applications, and couldn't interview everyone". Perhaps ask them whether there's anything you could have improved on, so that next time you can have a better chance of getting an interview.
Have all your applications been to different institutions, or are you focusing on one or two?
One thing to consider is perhaps trying outside of London?
I'm not sure if realistically this is an option, not knowing your domestic circumstances etc, but I do know that post-doc positions in London are harder to come by than elsehwere, for whatever reason there seems to be more competition. Maybe this is the same with PhD positions as well. Certainly the University I went to was not that competitive, almost all the PhD students there had 2:1's no masters, and no papers. Generally I would suggest you cast the net a little wider.
I agree with Cakeman, is there any reason you have to be in London? And don't necessarily just look at what very specific projects are - look at how you could take them and shape them into the area you are interested in. My project scope at start and what I ended up with at the end were quite different, so it would be worth finding out whether certain projects you can take the lead and twist and turn it or whether the supervisor is looking for a very fixed outcome to it.
Also you seem to be applying to very prestigious research centres, which is good, however you will be facing a lot of intense competition from many other as suitably well qualified applicants. I'll try to put this as nicely as possible, but when faced with many applications at somewhere so prestigious, it is possible that someone with a degree from the university of Greenwich isn't viewed as highly as someone from a more well known University (Russell group, or international reputation). It would be nice to think that isn't the case, but unfortunately academia can be quite a closed circle at times, at least from some discussions I've had with academics and what I have read on here.
Deffo get your CV checked over as well - it's surprising how you think it can be good and then someone with interviewing/recruiting experience takes one look at it and picks it apart (I can say that from experience!). Anything to give you an edge is always a bonus (up)
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