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Is it appropriate to email faculty members to ask if they have any postdoc openings?

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There's a university I'm interested in looking at postdocs at. Naturally I've looked at what's posted on the jobs sites and on the university's own careers page, but there isn't much there. There are a couple faculty members whose research interests me and is related to my own research experience. I figure, not everyone who is able/willing to take on a postdoc will have posted an ad, right? So maybe I should email those faculty members directly and ask them if they were interested in taking a posdoc. But I'm worried this might seem rude or inappropriate, to email a faculty member I've never met, who hasn't posted anything, asking for a job. Would it make more sense to, say, email the department chair and ask if anyone in the department has any openings? I could also email people I know at the university and ask if they know of any faculty members that are hiring, but this is a very big university and there are multiple departments that are relevant to my field that I'd be interested in, so it's not a place where 'everyone knows everyone else.' Anyway thanks for any comments, I may just be over-worrying about etiquette, but I'd feel better knowing it's not a strange thing to do.

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From my experience, faculty members are more than happy to listen to people who are interested. It may be that their answer is that they have no openings, but you never know, they may be interested in you in future, or have in interest in finding more about you! With respect to knowing who to email, ask friends or go on the Uni's website. If you are still not sure, find a reasonable contact and politely ask them to point you in the right direction. Best of Luck!

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