10 Reasons You’re not getting a PhD/Postdoc position

The most common reason to do a Ph.D. or post-doctorate is to improve your employment prospects. These career stages of the highest academic qualification can unlock career opportunities that wouldn’t necessarily be available to candidates with bachelor’s and master’s qualifications.

If you want to work in academia or the R&D division of a company, a Ph.D. is usually one of the main requirements. The degree shows that you have the necessary expertise to thrive in the organization.

Though aspired by many to get into top-class universities around the world, getting into Ph.D. or Postdoc is not easy. Position search is a grind and the longer it takes, the worse it seems to get. It can be so discouraging to put yourself out there and get rejected over and over again. It’s hard on your self-esteem.

If you are experiencing such rejections, just sending out a flurry of applications is not going to help you. People are getting hired in your field. It is very likely there’s something you’re doing or not doing which is killing your chances of getting hired.

You may benefit from taking a step back and considering why you’re not getting the results you want. What’s the real issue keeping you away from the target? The analysis is critical and needed for you.

Here are 10 reasons you might not be getting the position!

1) Weak Professional Network

“Your network is your net worth”.

 A proactive individual with a large network is necessary when looking for a Ph.D. or Postdoc position. Your ability to network and your laziness will prevent you from obtaining your ideal position.

This may also provide you the opportunity to look for similar jobs that aren’t necessarily mentioned on the website. In addition, participating on social media and numerous other websites, such as LinkedIn, is quite beneficial. These platforms improve your social connectivity and may present better offers.

Attend conferences and events in the academia or industry you want to work in to hone your networking abilities. Ask for permission to use a contact’s name when you reach out to leads or referrals you receive from them.

You’re determined to put more effort into fostering connections and building a network of quality rather than just quantity. Given that referrals are five times more likely to result in a job offer, it’s time to consider how to create a list of targeted cold contacts.

Investigate opportunities where you have strong relationships first. Remember that networking, not internet job ads, is how 60% of jobs are discovered. You may learn about better opportunities by using your network to its fullest potential.

2) You haven’t studied the position

The first thing you should do is to carefully study the position you want to apply for. Professors want to hire people who have taken the time to understand the role, project, and about research group. Professors don’t expect you to know all the work in detail but you should have a good grasp of publicly available information.

Read the advertisement carefully and take note of details such as the topic of research, objectives, and goal of the project, desired skills, qualifications, etc. These points are very critical to draft your resume and cover letter. Importantly, only apply if you’re confident that you are fit for the role. Don’t waste time, otherwise.

 3) Mediocre Resume and Cover Letter

Having a dull resume and cover letter is the biggest downfall!

A good resume and cover letter are the most vital as they showcase your technical and soft capabilities, excitement towards the position, and suitability for the job. You must prepare a very compelling cover letter and resume tailored for each position you are applying for. This not only shows that you put effort to understand the position very well but also your hard work and sincerity in preparing the tailored application.

Professors receive a large number of applications, so if yours is uninteresting, it will be discarded. You can expect a similar outcome if your resume isn’t tailored to the job requirements.

By tailoring your resume and cover letter, you’re making it clear to anyone reading your application how you are qualified for the position, and subsequently, increasing your chances of landing a callback and/or job offer.

Lastly, before submitting your application, always review to make sure that there are no grammatical & spelling errors as they can make your resume laid back amongst others.

 4) Ignorance of the fact that your application may be read by AI

You might have the most impressive resume, cover letter, and the strongest desire to land your ideal job but you are ignorant of the fact that many organizations use artificial intelligence (AI) to screen applications based on the keywords they set. The application screening process has been significantly affected by AI. The technology that is being opted for is cherry-picking.

You’ll need to tailor your resume with quantifiable results, flawless language, and keywords pertinent to the job description if you want to stand a chance of passing that first round.

According to studies, 95% of Fortune 500 organizations streamline the hiring process by using applicant tracking software to sort through resumes. In actuality, 75% of resumes are turned down before they even reach a recruiting manager!

The program scans applications for eligibility based on the recruiters’ criteria, mostly based on resumes that contain certain keywords or phrases.

To ensure that the ATS reads your resume correctly, follow these steps:

  • Avoid fancy layouts such as graphics, fancy fonts, and non-standard bullet points. AI programs often have difficulty rendering the info in a table section, so entire sections can get jumbled or completely lost.
  • Carefully study the job description and find out keywords to include in your resume—using the same terms.
  • Use traditional headings like “Experience” and “Education” instead of “Where I’ve Worked” and “Schools Attended”.

 5) Lack of reputed references

References are helpful since they verify the abilities and experiences indicated on a résumé. Your ability to get a job can be impacted if you don’t have any references or don’t have the right recommendations.

Contact those who can attest to your skills and are willing to recommend you for a position. References can include previous coworkers you had a close relationship with as well as past professors, superiors, or employers. Verify that the references you provide for the position you are applying for are aware of it.

 6) You don’t sell yourself

If there’s ever a time to sell yourself, it’s a job hunt. One of the most crucial moments to exude pride and confidence in your abilities, expertise, and education is when you are looking for work.

Remember to always balance your arrogance with humility. Sharing past successes demonstrates satisfaction in your work, however, waxing lyrical about your education reveals your ego.

Knowing your top accomplishments and strengths and how they connect to the position you’re applying for will help you sell yourself better.

 7) Messy social media

People are becoming more deliberate about their online personas as social media platforms’ potential and reach grow by the hour.

According to data, social media is used by 70% of employers as a tool for candidate screening; in fact, 54% of companies claim to have rejected a candidate based only on their social media presence. Employers are less likely to interview candidates they can’t find online, according to 57% of employers.

Your job hunt may be jeopardized if your social media accounts contain unprofessional information. Based on your online presence and actions, recruiters and potential clients can assess your skill level and appropriateness for a position. It’s essential to be mindful of your online behavior.

 8) Applying for the wrong positions

If you are either overqualified or underqualified for a role, it will be more difficult to get the job. If you lack sufficient experience, you can find it difficult to perform. Professors can hesitate to give you a better salary if you have too much experience. Approximately 50% of the resumes we got didn’t fit the job requirements.

9) Not being proactive

Serious job seekers are aware that they must actively plan their job hunt and actively pursue leads and opportunities. According to research, proactive personalities are associated with successful careers.

Don’t be shocked if potential employers notice your lack of enthusiasm if you frequently apply for jobs that bore you. Employers are aware that while passion can sometimes be taught, it can also be innate.

You’re much more likely to succeed if you think you have what it takes to realize your work ambitions.

In your cover letter and interview, be sure to express your enthusiasm for the position. Describe your motivations for applying for the job and the projects you’re most eager to pursue if you get it.

10) Lack of Passion

One of the biggest downfalls is not being passionate about the task you would be doing, which might also prevent you from being recruited.

The interviewer won’t hire you if they can’t see that you’re excited about the next project when you’re going for the interview. A recruiter wants a candidate that is curious to learn new things rather than someone who knows everything.

In addition, having low self-esteem may cause you to drop down the list. As a result, get ready for the interview by gathering all the knowledge you can, as doing so will help you respond to questions accurately and project confidence to the interviewer.

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