Job Search



when is a good time to start looking for a job to not end up with too much - unwanted - free time after the PhD? I am still writing up, will probably submit in september and aim to have the defense in feburary next year. So in theory i could start working in october. On the other hand, i don't want to be bogged down with writing cover letters, attending interviews etc right now. Mh, i dont really know what to do, i'd would be glad to hear somebody else's experience with that.

Job wise i look at both, industry and academia, but it seems in both areas there is hardly anything right now. 2 days of job search and not a single nice advert for a job in my area :-(


If you have previous professional experience you can probably get away with leaving it a bit. Without it, personally, I'd start sending letters now in the anticipation of between three to six months without employment owing to "lack of experience" coupled to the recession.


A lot depends on how you inted to support yourself after you submit. Can you can weather up to a few months unemplowed while job hunting? If you jobhunt now do you think it will delay your submission?

I put off jobhunting until after I submitted because a) I was short of time and b) my husband can support me while I look for a job. Jobs in my field come up about 4-5 times/year but since I can't move anyway I am concentrating on writing postdoc proposals to stay here. That is a slow process which I expect to take 6-12 months to sort out. In the meantime I hope to do some hourly-rate teaching in the dept.

Perhaps you could keep scanning the ads and apply if you see something really, really attractive. Later, if you are still looking, you can widen your efforts when you have more time


thanks for the answers! a few months unemployment are ok money-wise (the unemployment insurance kicks in, pays about 60% of previous salaray), but i fear that it might look bad on the resume, if i just stay home for half a year.

i don't have any prior industry experience, only a couple of internships/side-jobs while doing my bachelor/masters :-(


It's very common to have a gap after a PhD - probably depends on your field. I think up to a year is OK. I know I just wanted to focus on submission.



I'm going to have to disagree with that last comment. Considering the financial difficulties I think you should be looking 6-3 months prior to your submission date. The worst possible thing is a black area on your CV, especially if you only have academic experience and no industry.

It may sound daunting, but the added pressure of a job hunting may structure your day better and make you work more efficiently. Writing up period is one of the worst time wasting periods during a PhD. I find the worst thing is knowing I have a full day of writing up ahead with nothing else to do and then procrastinate the first few hours because I know I have the entire day.


When it comes to job hunting, it boils down to whether you have the time during your write-up to job hunt, and then prepare presentations/papers etc for jobs. I wasted two months on a job I didn't get (writing an article/and presentation). Academic jobs hunting is simply a lot more time-consuming than the corporate market.

Gaps after a PhD are completely understandable because the transition from a PhD to a job can be difficult (eg you can finish your PhD at a time of year when recruitment is low). You can also fill the gap by extending the dates you worked on your PhD.

But ultimately, there are so few jobs at the moment, lots of students, mostly graduates but also PhDers, will end up taking casual work or signing on the dole.

My brother was speaking to the head of HR at a large corporate firm the other day, and he saying in this climate more things are forgiveable on a CV (eg. gaps, working on a succession of temp. contracts, moving jobs a lot etc.).


I know this is not really an answer to your post, Monkey, but I am kind of thinking about this PhD - job gap as well. I have been semi-offered a postdoc after my PhD (working with my sup), but really it would start during the PhD as I cannot see myself submitting by the end of the year yet. I do not actually want to stay at my current uni long-term and I am really unsure what to do. I have always said to my sup that I want to finish the PhD first before starting a new job (and have friends who strongly recommended that to me), but doing the postdoc would mean I would not have to do the initial job hunting and also there would be no gap whilst I am also waiting around for the viva etc. I am concerned that there will be few jobs around when I finish so maybe taking what I can get is the best way forward? But then, it is so against what I really want (doing one thing at a time and focussing on PhD soley).. Anyone got some good advice?


tough call - I would say the earlier you start looking, the less likely you are of getting the position - about 3 months before submission is a good time. I just spent 1 month waiting for a reply for a post doc (thankfully I got offered it) - but it is on the condition I submit in the next 2 months.

Preparing for interviews and presentations is always good practise prior to a viva anyway so I don't look it as a waste of time. However, waiting for a month to hear if you have a job is a real killer and absolutely distracting! Good luck :)


[quote]Quote From missspacey:

Gaps after a PhD are completely understandable because the transition from a PhD to a job can be difficult (eg you can finish your PhD at a time of year when recruitment is low). You can also fill the gap by extending the dates you worked on your PhD.

They are understandable, but not desirable. In these times, whoever is employing (there aren't many) are spoilt for choice over possible candidates.

My colleague went for a job in his PhD field and was told 200 other candidates had applied. Now is more important than ever to have a good CV. Even if it means showing that you finished later than you actually did.

Depending on your field Monkey, I'd sign up to a couple of recruitment consultancies and send them your CV. Also word of mouth is amazingly affective, and quite a few jobs (especially post PhD jobs) are known through word of mouth.


sorry, I got the quote thing wrong. I have never used this until today.