Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

'How Not to Get a Postdoc'

Over at Isis the Scientist's blog, a new academic PI shares satirical "tips on how not to get a postdoc in academia." For example, if you "Write in the cover letter that you would rather work somewhere else and that you are applying for this job as a Plan B in case Plan A doesn't work out," or "suggest that the PI fly you in from Australia to check out the facilities in order to decide whether you should bother to apply," there's a good chance you won't land the job. Applicants who "inquire about the salary before you are even short-listed" generally don't fare well, Dr. M says. All sarcasm aside, Dr. M's tips on how not to land a postdoc are telling. "These things seem rather common sense to me, but clearly they aren't obvious to everyone," the new PI writes. In a comment to this post, reader KBHC adds that applicants should "not use ALL CAPS in your query letter … I have gotten several letters that say things like: 'Dear Dr. CLANCY, I am writing because I am interested in REPRODUCTIVE ECOLOGY even though I actually study SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT. I don't have a JOB right now but below are my LETTERS OF REFERENCE from my LAST POSITION."

The Scan

Octopus Brain Complexity Linked to MicroRNA Expansions

Investigators saw microRNA gene expansions coinciding with complex brains when they analyzed certain cephalopod transcriptomes, as they report in Science Advances.

Study Tracks Outcomes in Children Born to Zika Virus-Infected Mothers

By following pregnancy outcomes for women with RT-PCR-confirmed Zika virus infections, researchers saw in Lancet Regional Health congenital abnormalities in roughly one-third of live-born children.

Team Presents Benchmark Study of RNA Classification Tools

With more than 135 transcriptomic datasets, researchers tested two dozen coding and non-coding RNA classification tools, establishing a set of potentially misclassified transcripts, as they report in Nucleic Acids Research.

Breast Cancer Risk Related to Pathogenic BRCA1 Mutation May Be Modified by Repeats

Several variable number tandem repeats appear to impact breast cancer risk and age at diagnosis in almost 350 individuals carrying a risky Ashkenazi Jewish BRCA1 founder mutation.