What are the Options for a PhD student who missed Postdoc Deadlines?

  • #1
Diracobama2181
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So I plan on defending my PhD in the summer. I want to continue my career as a physicist, however I have not applied for any postdocs yet, the reason being I technically have not gotten any published yet, however, I should be getting published within the next month. My question is what are my best options at the moment, do I just wait around to apply in Winter, and how long does it take to to start a postdoc after excepting? For what it is worth, my field of study is theoretical nuclear physics. Any advice is welcomed. Thanks.
 
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  • #2
There are some postdocs announced ”off season”, typically for funding reasons. They certainly do not grow on trees, but keep an eye out.

Apart from that, the main postdoc cycle will run with application deadlines in the end of the year and typically start in the fall of the next year (August/September). Depending on the position there may be some room for moving the start date, but do not count on it.

If I were you, I would have applied in the previous cycle even if chances were slim. It would have given some experience in applying at least. Not yet having publications would not look good of course.

Your best bet (imo) is the next postdoc cycle* - assuming you graduate and publish. The first postdoc is always difficult to get. You are competing with people applying to do their second or third postdoc and already have had the opportunity to show their independence. If you do not have the means to handle unemployment for some time, you should also start thinking about what to do in a transition period. You also need to consider that getting a postdoc is not a given unless you have a stellar curriculum. Competition is fierce.

* I am saying this as someone who did apply during their last PhD year and graduated in the summer (I had 5 or 6 publications (hep-ph) at the time of application). I got some shortlists but no actual offers. During the summer I applied for external funding from several sources and obtained a Marie Curie fellowship that could start in January. It is also difficult but do also look for external sourves to bring your own money. Institutions will generally not say no to this. The time in between my graduation and starting the fellowship I remained hired as a PhD student even though I had graduated as the funding for my PhD was also external. I also had enough savings to last from January to the fall in case I would not have gotten the Marie Curie.
 
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