PhD, executive director of the
APA’s Education Directorate.
If you are a research
psychologist, a postdoc
provides you with the
opportunity to specialize
and expand your skill set,
while adding publications
to your curriculum vitae
— ultimately making you
more competitive in the job
market, says Christopher
Peterson, PhD, a University
of Michigan psychology
“These days, it’s unusual
for people to go straight
into faculty positions from
graduate school unless they
were very productive,” he
A good postdoc position,
however, can be hard to find.
There’s no national registry of psychology postdocs and many
recent grads find they have to create their own.
“There are so many different ways to find a postdoc,” says
Whether you’re interested
Aerika Brittian, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Arizona State
University. “There’s not just one avenue.”
Here are some tips from experts and recent grads about how
you can find the perfect postdoc:
in making connections
with practitioners or
faculty members, don’t
be shy. “Seek out speakers
on topics you’re interested
in; show that you care
about their research.”
social networking websites
such as LinkedIn to get
someone to introduce you.
You can also use Academia.
edu to connect with other
people who work in research
and higher education.
University of Michigan
Scour the Web
APA’s job listing site, PsycCareers ( http:jobs.psyccareers.com),
is a great place to look for postdocs, says Wonjung Oh, PhD, a
postdoctoral fellow at University of Michigan, who also applied
to several positions she found on the Society for Research in
Child Development Web page.
If you’re interested in clinical neuropsychology,
the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical
Neuropsychology matches applicants with available programs,
says Doug Bodin, PhD, president of APPCN.
For practicing psychology students, APPIC’s directory of
postdoc opportunities is a good place to start since it can help
you narrow your postdoc search down by both specialty and
region, says Karl Stukenberg, PhD, psychology department
chair at Xavier University. If geography is really important
to you, apply for postdocs where you eventually want to end
up so you’re sure you’re fulfilling the right state licensure
requirements, he says.
The Web can also help students find informal positions.
Google professors you’d enjoy working with and read up on
their research, says Daniel Choe, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher
at the University of Pittsburgh. Then email them directly or use
Watch your email
You’ll find many postdoctoral
opportunities through email
lists — your department’s as
well as those of professional
societies, says Choe. “Faculty
circulate emails about
postdoc opportunities; I
always make it a point to save
those,” he says.
Consider joining APPIC’s
Use existing connections
postdoc listserv or join one
of APA’s many listservs, at
Faculty often advertise for available positions via societies
that they belong to, adds Daniel Weissman, PhD, a psychology
professor at the University of Michigan, who advertises on the
Cognitive Neuroscience Society website and on Neurojobs. The
best way to narrow down your postdoc search is to join listservs
related to your specific field of interest, he advises. That way,
you’ll be able to pinpoint postdoc positions that will use and
advance the skills you already have.
Many postdocs are never formally advertised, so it’s essential
that you let your advisor and other professional contacts know
what you’re looking for, says Choe. “Professors know a lot of
other people,” he says.
If you’re looking for a research-focused postdoc, Weissman
suggests asking your advisor or other professors whom they
would recommend as a postdoctoral supervisor. They may have
inside information about a colleague who just received a grant
and is gearing up for a new research project, he says.
That tactic worked for Hyunjin Song, PhD, a postdoctoral
research associate at Yale University, who learned about her
current position through her advisor. He gave a talk at Yale
MONITOR ON PSYCHOLOGY • JULY/AUGUST 2012