How many emails to potential postdoc advisor?

posted
05-Apr-18, 16:09
edited about 28 seconds later
by lucedan
Avatar for lucedan
posted about 3 months ago
Hi all.
I am trying to find a postdoc position, and the first step is to get in touch with somebody. And it happened with a few universities that no staff that I contacted multiple times (at distance of 1-2 weeks from one mail to another) have replied. Somebody tells me to continue contacting them, as they are busy, etc. But many times I just feel like molesting people that do not want to be contacted, and "I should understand myself to quit it". I have tried with different methods: short email of interest, long email, short email with cover letter + attachments. Now, I have three questions:

1) What is the temporal interval I should let pass in between two emails?
2) When should I give up - if I should?
3) Sometimes I am attracted by some universities because the potential mentor has just similar interests to mine (broad), sometimes because the university specialises in my field (narrow) but I feel just complementary to their program as nobody there has my exact interests. Is there anything better between these two options?
posted
05-Apr-18, 20:00
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 3 months ago
Are you applying for advertised posts or to ask whether the person would agree to work with you on a fellowship application e.g. a Marie Curie/ British Academy / Leverhulme funded postdoc?
posted
05-Apr-18, 20:36
edited a moment later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From lucedan:
Hi all.
I am trying to find a postdoc position, and the first step is to get in touch with somebody. And it happened with a few universities that no staff that I contacted multiple times (at distance of 1-2 weeks from one mail to another) have replied. Somebody tells me to continue contacting them, as they are busy, etc. But many times I just feel like molesting people that do not want to be contacted, and "I should understand myself to quit it". I have tried with different methods: short email of interest, long email, short email with cover letter + attachments. Now, I have three questions:

1) What is the temporal interval I should let pass in between two emails?
2) When should I give up - if I should?
3) Sometimes I am attracted by some universities because the potential mentor has just similar interests to mine (broad), sometimes because the university specialises in my field (narrow) but I feel just complementary to their program as nobody there has my exact interests. Is there anything better between these two options?


They would get one email. If they are the sort of person to ignore my email then I wouldnt want to work with them.
posted
06-Apr-18, 10:27
edited about 3 seconds later
by lucedan
Avatar for lucedan
posted about 3 months ago
Second option: work with me on a fellowship application. Any advice?
posted
06-Apr-18, 17:48
edited about 4 seconds later
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 3 months ago
OK this goes for the UK only as I think practices vary significantly around the world and I don't know where you've been applying. Can I recommend the EUI academic careers observatory site https://www.eui.eu/ProgrammesAndFellowships/AcademicCareersObservatory as a source of some info on other countries. Although it's a bit social science orientated the links for historians might be helpful for you. It is music you do right?

For the UK, I wonder if it's a timing question in part? If you are contacting people a long time ahead of the deadline those competitions might not even be on their radar yet. What might be helpful is an email to the research office asking what the procedure for applying at that institution is and when they would recommend approaching academics. Where I work people tend to only start contacting us after that year's call for applications has been advertised on jobs.ac.uk . I think you are better sending a cv and outline proposal as attachments though as it lets them a) check you are a viable candidate and b) suggests you are prepared to do the work. That said if you get no reply at all I'd give up, and for the person who was more responsive but swamped, just wait until nearer the deadline before contacting them again.
posted
12-Apr-18, 21:23
edited about 29 seconds later
by lucedan
Avatar for lucedan
posted about 3 months ago
Hi Bewildered, thank you for your advice.

I am looking for US universities right now, as indeed as you notice for the UK it is a timing matter. But once it has happened to me a very funny episode: in October/November 2017 I contacted a Prof. in Edinburgh that was sharing with me many interests, and sent him 3-4 emails but he never replied. A few months later, though, he said to my supervisor to be interested in being my external examiner when asked for it :D
posted
13-Apr-18, 15:20
edited about 43 seconds later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 3 months ago
He may be interested in working with you but doesn't want to set anything rolling till after your viva. Yes, normal polite individuals normally reply and let you know their intentions. But when power is at play, (some) people don't behave that way.

Postgraduate
Forum

Copyright ©2018
All rights reserved

Postgraduate Forum

Masters Degrees

PhD Opportunities

PostgraduateForum is a trading name of FindAUniversity Ltd
FindAUniversity Ltd, 77 Sidney St, Sheffield, S1 4RG, UK. Tel +44 (0) 114 268 4940 Fax: +44 (0) 114 268 5766