Starting to get desperate


Hi to everyone. I really need some help and advice as I am starting to get really depressed. I completed my PhD in Biology back in May and I am still unemployed. Even though I didnt really start looking for a job until end August due to health issues. I am invited to interviews and I had 6 until now the last 3 in the last month I got rejected from all of them. I was wondering wether I am doing something wrong in the interviews. The feedback that I had is I was impressive in terms of both my CV and my interview performance (including presentations) but they went with someone senior. I am freaking out. I can understand that a senior post doctoral has muvh more experience but why did they invite me for an interview and how am i going to get that experience. Additionally, I have two papers (second author) and I am preparing one as a firts author even though I just managed to write half of it due to my illness. I have another interview tmr but I am so dissapointed and dont belive that I will ever get a postdoc position as i dont know what else to do. Is it normal to look for a job for this long (7 months)? Is there anything that you will advice me for the interview? Thanks in advance.


Judging from these boards 7 months of looking is not a surprisingly long time, so don't get too down beat. People often struggle to find work after a PhD and if you haven't been well then this will have compounded the problem. Keep applying, remember you only need one yes!

As for interview tips, it sounds like you're already doing pretty well in the interviews - you've just been unlucky that someone they deem more experienced has been available.

You will sometimes (often!) find that jobs in universities are advertised when they already know who they want to work in that position - in some cases someone is already doing it. They have a legal obligation to advertise the position however. I know this because it was meant to happen for my job, which I was already doing. I was told they would have to interview people, but I was guaranteed the job. As it happens, for complicated reasons this didn't happen in this case, but I understand it is fairly common.

Maybe try to get some voluntary work experience in a relevant area whilst you look to try to make sure the gap on your CV doesn't grow too large. Other than that, good luck and try not to get too down about it.


Couldn't agree more with Screamingaddabs!

I'm still to have my viva, have been looking for months, had a few interviews but still unemployed. I also know of others who are struggling so we are definitely not alone. There are cuts everywhere so make sure you get feedback from the interviews (which sounds like you're already doing!) and act on it if there's anything that you can do.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the market is extremely competitive at the moment and we just have to keep going. Sounds like you're doing everything right so it's just a question of the right job coming up.8-)

Don't give up! You can do it!

In terms of advice, I have been a bit cheeky in the past by asking the 'what sort of person are you looking for' question PRIOR to the interview, when I contact them to get more info about the job. Some people have answered it, which meant I could match my answers to their expectations, and others told me 'to ask after the interview'. Still worth a shot though!

Good luck and let us know how the interview goes!


You're doing exceptionally well to be getting interviews at all - you should take pride from that, huge numbers of us don't even get that far. In any line of work (academic or otherwise) it is very unusual to win a job offer from the first two or three interviews you have in a context in which only one job is available. It's only really in the world of the blue chips, where 10 or more people might be taken on at once, that you might have more of a realistic expectation of getting a job more or less straight away.

If you are getting useful feedback then you will be able to learn more about the peculiar art of succeeding in interviews.

The main problem with the "transition" period is finding a way of surviving economically during it. And academics are singularly useless at offering meaningful advice on that front.