Gosh, I haven't been on here for a while since getting my PhD but now I've seen an amazing post-doc position I want to apply for. However there is no person specification and it's a bit vague about what they want. My PhD isn't in the subject under research but is gender based and is in the right time period. They are asking for someone who might have expertise in lots of different areas - regions, time periods, disciplines. So this makes me think the transferrable skills are more important and it looks like the successful person will be able to research their own area of interest but linked to the project aims. I want to contact the PI informally but don't really know what to ask.
Also would you be expected to know exactly what research you wanted to do or would this be something that would develop within the project.
I don't have a huge amount of experience in these things, but maybe you could ask the PI some of the questions you've asked here? Eg it would be fine to ask them if there's a project already specified, or how much scope there is for the post-doc to develop the project themselves. It's pretty much always seen as a good thing in academia to have your own research ideas and interests, regardless of how well defined the project is, so I'd probably think about what kind of things I would like to do, that would fit along the lines of what's in the ad description. Then in the email you could briefly mention your areas of expertise and how your interests fit with what is described, and ask whether you would be a suitable candidate. Also, if the ad is vague that's a really good sign that they don't already have someone in mind for the job :)
I think that's what I would do, but maybe others on here with more experience can also advise ;)
Thanks Elsie, I did just what you suggested and got a very positive reply encouraging me to apply, which was great. I agree about having your own research ideas and also the vague ad meaning they don't have someone in mind is encouraging as well. I got a job once for which the person specification looked like my CV and I found out later as they already knew me they had earmarked me already.
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