Job applications without affiliation after graduation

18-Jun-17, 12:23
edited about 6 seconds later
Avatar for Historian27
posted about 3 years ago
Hi All,

I have recently submitted my dissertation and am currently waiting for my viva. As it stands, I am yet to secure a postdoc/fellowship/job for next academic year. While I still have one interview and a few other outstanding applications, I am more and more concerned that I might not be able to find a job before I have my viva.

I have been told that having the PhD in hand would make me more competitive, but I am still wondering how feasible it is to keep applying for jobs after graduation? I am particularly worried about not having a proper affiliation to a university (meaning no letterhead for cover letters anymore etc). So I am wondering whether anyone has been in a similar situation and how likely it is to still be able to secure a postdoc if one does not go right into a job after graduation.

20-Jun-17, 11:56
Avatar for TreeofLife
posted about 3 years ago
You're still a student until your graduation, so you can still use the letterhead. But I really doubt this makes any difference at all, especially in the UK.

I don't think it matters whether you get a postdoc now or after your viva, or even after graduation, or even a year down the line. As long as you show you have been active in research ie writing papers, publishing, attending conferences, or even doing a job vaguely related to your field, you will be fine for applications. Everyone knows how hard the job market is, so it's not surprising if it takes a while to find a postdoc.

I think it took me 3 months to find a postdoc and I started the postdoc about 3 months before I had my viva. It took me 6 months to find another job (any job!) when I wanted to quit the postdoc for something else.
20-Jun-17, 19:09
Avatar for Historian27
posted about 3 years ago
Thanks for the reply. I am not so sure about the UK (which is where I am based). I only have heard tryst in the US it can be difficult once you lose your affiliation.
20-Jun-17, 19:46
edited about 29 seconds later
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 3 years ago
The letterhead is something that only matters in the US. Really don't worry. I've just been on a hiring committee and to be honest in my subject at least there are too many applications to bother about anything that petty (150 for a lectureship). Those advising you that having the PhD in hand will help are correct. We didn't interview anyone without that.
Most people get corrections of some sort, so there's probably a while before you lose email / library rights but you might want to ask your supervisor if there's any way you could hold a visiting / honorary unpaid fellowship or research centre membership to keep access to journals / library resources. We tend to offer that to recent PhDs without jobs for a year at least so they can keep publishing. That also keeps your affiliation going. I have yet to meet a historian who got a permanent job without several years of short-term research contracts or hourly paid teaching first usually with patches of temping inbetween (they seemed to think it was publishing their first book that made the difference in their competitiveness). Everyone knows the market is dire, so treeoflife is quite right to say that no-one will judge you for employment gaps / other work so long as your cv is improving.


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