Jump to content

Site like GradCafe for postdocs?


indianacat
 Share

Recommended Posts

Apologies if this has already been asked! Having attained my PhD this year, I'm in the agonizing process of applying to postdocs/faculty positions and have drummed about about 70 rejections so far. I'm suspecting many of the posts I am applying for were not real searches, but the committee already had someone lined up from the beginning. What I'm wondering is if there is a site like GradCafe, to anxiously check submission status changes and interview invites? ;) I use the academic jobs wiki, but it's not as busy as this place. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are some of us who are new PhDs or received their PhDs some time ago and still remain here. But I've also heard lots about TheChronicle's forums: http://www.chronicle.com/forums/ I am not registered there though and only sometimes read things when someone sends me a direct link.

I feel your job seeking pain---I am glad to be off the job market this year since I just started a 2+1 postdoc. I guess we must be in fields that do things differently since my job search season was in the last year of my PhD, rather than after graduation! Also, in my field, the season has just begun, and decisions won't be made until mid-December onwards. My other suggestion was to find whether your field has something like this: http://www.astrobetter.com/wiki/Rumor+Mill However, I found that every year there are some very toxic people that write very toxic things so I'm pretty sure things like that does more harm than good if you have other ways of finding postings. That said, I think many people know it's no use to check the wiki but we all do anyways. Sigh.

Good luck on your search! Don't forget, you only need one acceptance, so the large number of rejections don't really matter. One piece of advice that worked well for me: For postdoc positions, it's helpful to contact the person that would be your mentor/advisor. Sometimes the posting is fairly general, e.g. "planets around other stars" but when you talk to them, you find that they're really looking for someone who uses telescopes, or maybe someone who does computer models, etc. Knowing this can help you decide which applications to spend your time on, or which parts of your application to emphasize (especially if you have proposals for multiple projects). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For venting/discussion.... Here!

Honestly, the more people in this situation that stay around, the more of a place this will become for those of us post-PhD. There's the job section of the boards, as well as the research/teaching sections, depending where you end up. 

CHE forums are good for support, as mentioned- there are several specific threads for job market support/advice, a sub-forum devoted to it, and year-specific cohort threads for TT hires. 

There's also the academic reddits- r/professor and r/academia. 

For finding when interviews go out, there are the academic wiki's, there are subfield specific blogs and posts- ChemJobber does in chemistry what academic wiki's do in other fields. By and large, I recommend avoiding them- nothing good comes from finding out when other people are getting interviews. It can be nice to know where the searches are, but I think leads to more anxiety than helpful. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks so much, TakeruK and Eigen! I just signed up for the Chronicle forum, and will spend some time mooching around there this afternoon! I am in Biological Anthropology, by the way, and no - I don't think your field is that different from mine, I just had monumentally bad luck in my last year of the PhD. I had secured a position, stopped applying for others, and then the funding fell through at the last minute. :/ So I am applying now in the new job season, while bartending and feeling sorry for myself. I have another interview coming up in a couple of weeks, so fingers crossed. I suppose I just wanted to connect with others out there who are in the same boat, and would be interested to know if others are interviewing for this position! Again, thank you - it's nice to know others out there get it.

 

 

 

Edited by indianacat
Link to comment
Share on other sites

22 minutes ago, indianacat said:

I suppose I just wanted to connect with others out there who are in the same boat, and would be interested to know if others are interviewing for this position! Again, thank you - it's nice to know others out there get it.

I personally don't like the CHE forums, but that's a matter of opinion. There are folks over here, and the more the merrier! But as for connecting with people who are applying for the same positions, you are much likelier to find them through local and in-person networking at conferences than on websites, I think. I can understand the sentiment -- I've certainly gotten a lot out of commiserating with others who truly get it, and also swapping stories and info, but you're just much more likely to find them at professional gatherings than randomly on the internet. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The CHE forums are.... Not as friendly as things are here. 

That said, I do find them an excellent source of blunt advice, which has in its own way been helpful. People on the CHE forums honestly post all of the things they wouldn't tell applicants, but do actually play a role, despite how much you do or don't like it. There are a lot of people there who are deans, provosts, higher administrators and senior faculty who can really give insight into what they consider and how. It's not always comforting to hear, and I don''t always agree with it- but knowing there are people out there who think like that and getting a chance to understand it is immensely helpful.

The other thing to remember about the CHE forums is that they honestly do have places for venting/whining/complaining and looking for support. But outside of those threads, people expect that you want to hear, bluntly, what you need to do to change- and there's very little tolerance for coming back in 6 mos or a year and having not taken past advice into consideration, complaining about the same things. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

20 hours ago, Eigen said:

Honestly, the more people in this situation that stay around, the more of a place this will become for those of us post-PhD. There's the job section of the boards, as well as the research/teaching sections, depending where you end up. 

Maybe adding one or two more post grad school specific sections would help encourage people to stick around.  Ex: split jobs into academic and non-academic, a section for postdocs/young profs, a section for industry phds.  I think more people would hang around if there was a dedicated space for it ("Post Grad Life" or something)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've talked about it, and it's a good thing to keep in mind for future growth. Part of it is a chicken-and-egg problem: With no people here to discuss, we're creating extra forums that are pretty much empty. But on the other hand, people don't talk unless there's a place. 

Historically, the Jobs forum (if you read the description) is supposed to be about jobs post-grad school, so that's pretty much an exclusively "post-grad" forum, but it sees next to no traffic, because there aren't enough of us to keep it populated. 

That said, I'm all for a more robust inclusion of post-graduate school life- lets try to revitalize the current forums, and see where that takes us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm glad I brought this up, then! I for one will certainly start a thread or two on this topic. Another thing I would really like to get feedback on is potential job resources in my - and related - fields. Let's do it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This discussion has motivated me to find some time to write about my postdoc search experience last year. I learned a lot and it might be helpful to those in similar fields. Also, I think it might be a therapeutic experience for me to write it down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

It's been a while since I was a postdoc, but it has always stuck with me how much of the advice I heard from advisors and supervisors about looking for job was true 10-20 years ago, but certainly isn't true now.

I started my own blog, specifically focused on advice for STEM PhDs at postdocpurgatory.com

Edited by noogakl81
grammar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So FWIW, you target that blog to all STEM PhDs, but I think you're painting the advice with a pretty wide brush to generalize that broadly. 

It seems like you might be falling into the same trap you complain about with respect to your advisors, but being based on field rather than time since PhD. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eigen, I am sure there are things that are field-specific on the blog, even though my intent is to provide advice that is generally applicable. I also realize that my advice on the blog is probably going to be geared more towards people who will not go into academia, since I have never been a professor.

Were there specific things you saw that you felt were field-specific? I'd like to know what these were.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Pretty much all of your focus on pedigree is much less important in my field than your work. 

Maybe just field specific, but leaving the US for, say, Qatar and then trying to come back isn't a great proposition in my field. 

With respect to "teaching colleges", in their own way good LACs are as competitive as R1s in many fields, you just need a different portfolio to get there. 

Just some notes. Due to the breadth of STEM, it's harder to give general advice. I think focusing on computational sciences might be more realistic. 

Also field specific, but in mine you don't (or shouldn't) do a Postdoc if you don't want to go into academia (and I include DOD and national labs under that umbrella). If you want to go into industry, you go straight from the PhD, and a Postdoc is considered almost completely lost time in terms of career progression. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Eigen, thank you for your feedback. That's good to know about pedigree, teaching colleges, and about doing a postdoc in your field. Is your PhD in Biology? How do they decide who gets interviews for academic positions when they have hundreds of applications?

Regarding teaching in Qatar, in that post I stated that if you did leave the US for a faculty position in the Middle East, it would be difficult to come back to the US and get a good position. It was really targeted for people who didn't have the pedigree to get a faculty interview in the US but really want to be a professor, and are willing to make that sacrifice to pursue their dreams.

Maybe I will change the focus of the blog to engineering, since that is what I know the most about and have the most experience in. I do have a friend who is a math professor and has confirmed that much of what I write about on my blog is applicable to mathematics faculty positions as well. But I am really interested to know more about how things work in your field.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in Chemistry. If you want ideas for a similar blog, maybe check out ChemJobber, since it's the central resource for jobs and job analysis in chemistry. Biology is hugely Postdoc focused.

What gets you shortlisted depends a lot on where you're applying- pedigree matters more for MIT or Yale, but there are plenty of R1s (and R2s) where it matters a lot less. 

Publications and grants are what I would say are dominant in making a shortlist, as well as a research area that meshes with the existing department. For PUIs, you can add significant teaching experience to the above. 

I'm more familiar with the academic route- my knowledge of industry comes from ChemJobber and my friends who went to industry. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

Bumping this back up for two resources I found some of you may (or may in the future) be interested in. 

One of them is the New PI Slack (https://newpislack.wordpress.com/), which as the name suggests is a Slack group for new PIs. You have to have PI status (verified), and not yet be tenured. It's a fantastic resource that I've been getting a lot out of that has many similarities to the community here. 

Built along similar lines is Future PI Slack (https://twitter.com/futurepi_slack?lang=en), which is a Slack support group for PostDocs on the academic track. Since I don't qualify, I'm not sure how they're set up- but my understanding is that it's similar to the New PI Slack, and I hope some of you find it useful. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Eigen: I was just at a conference (my first since being a postdoc) and talking to other people who have just started postdocs, we all felt like a support group would be really useful. Postdoc life is pretty isolating at times compared to our graduate student lives, and some people have a buddy system (there is a postdoc peer they call every day and have a 10 minute chat about work and life). I thought maybe a small slack group would be great for the small number of new postdocs in our small area of our subfield, but I'll check out this "Future PI" slack group too since something larger and multi-disciplinary could be cool.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll  note that at least New PI Slack is currently heavily biomedical, but is trying hard to grow. It's also easy to just sub-channel more specific fields within a larger Slack community. Not sure if the Future PI Slack is the same.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.