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Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 8:37 am
by Joana
Being a PhD student applying for a Post-Doc for the first time, I don't really know what you are supposed to write in a statement of interests? Does that include both the scientific area of interest and techniques...? How long should the statement be? Could anyone give me an example?

Looking forward for your answers!

Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 12:10 pm
by Kevin Rogers
You are talking about on your CV/resume I presume.

Personally I wouldn't use one for a postdoc - most profs are going to look at who your PhD supervisor is, your publication record and your letters of recommendation.

I got my postdocs basically via my letters. My Phd supervisor sold me on my 1st Postdoc advisor over lunch at a conference. My 2nd advisor I met when visting our institution.

Talk to you advisor about who they would recommend you apply to. In some cases they may even do the initial contact themselves.

Good luck !

Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 3:33 am
by Joana
Thanks for your reply Nick!

I agree with you when you say that I should talk with my supervisor in order to know who to contact. The problem is, as I am wanting to change the direction of my research, my supervisor doesn't know people in the field...

I'm going to apply for a Post-Doc position that has been advertised in the internet. They are asking for both a CV and a Statement of interests. Therefore my question on what is exactly a statement of interests...

Best wishes!

Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 4:22 am
by David
Hi Joana
I don't agree that your PhD supervisor need arrange your post-doc; and in your case it seems that he/she is not familiar with the field.
So your question remains!

I would suggest a statement of interest is a synopsis of what particular area of your field fires you up. What would like to work on and why. It is important to qualify the statement by saying that X is really interesting because of Y. Since you are changing areas you might mention how you see the relationships between the two fields: or how your background gives you extra skills.
You could work into the statement soemthing about how the potential post-doc could allow me to gain advanced training to allow me to eventually work on other aspects of X when I become independent.

Finally, don't be shy to be passionate about the contents of your statement of interest. Your potential post-doc boss will appreciate that your all fired up about a topic, especially if it is one your not familiar with because passion motivates both hard work and quick learning.

Good luck


Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 7:26 am
by Kevin Foley

If you are applying for a postdoc, I think it is a very good idea to include a "Statement of Research Interests" in your CV, even if the PI doesn't request it. It is a good opportunity to provide additional information beyond your cover letter and list of publications, and it certainly can't hurt. I try to keep it to one page only.

My feeling, although others might disagree, is that your ?Research Interests? should detail what you have accomplished in your graduate studies, not what you want to do in your postdoc or next job. At least that is what I did, and I still do the same thing when I apply for jobs in biotech (which is not typical, but who wants to be typical?). Incidentally, you will have to put exactly the same thing in your postdoctoral fellowship applications, so one way or another you will have to write one. As I said, short and sweet, no matter how productive you?ve been. Note, if you are applying for industry jobs, this sort of thing is only useful if the hiring manager reads it--HR or headhunters could care less.

Although I never tried the academic route after my postdoc, my understanding is that when applying for a faculty position, such a statement would include what you plan to do when you have your own lab. After you publications, this is probably the most important part of your application. It would probably also be longer and more detailed. But in the present case, you are only applying for a postdoc, and it would be silly to expect you to lay out your next four years, particularly if you are switching fields (which many people feels is almost a necessity?I?m always disappointed seeing a CV where someone worked in exactly the same field for their graduate studies and postdoc, since it probably means they are overly specialized). You could probably include a paragraph segueing from what you did to what you want to do in this new lab, but you should already have something like that in your cover letter.


Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 11:10 am
by Emil Chuck
Joana says: "I'm going to apply for a Post-Doc position that has been advertised in the internet. They are asking for both a CV and a Statement of interests. Therefore my question on what is exactly a statement of interests... "

My opinion. Don't sue me if you don't get the position. :)

If that's the case, then treat the application as if it were a true job search. If you write a statement of interests, make absolutely sure that you touch what interests THEY want. I'm pulling a random ad from Science for this example: if they're looking for a research associate/postdoctoral researcher to look at "developing cell culture models", make sure that you mention that (verbatim) in your cover letter and your statement of interests if that is truly the skill you want to pick up for your next position. You've got to convince the person looking at your application that you fit what they want, and they have what you want. As much congruence as you can get.

I would not mention anything about your personal longer-term career goals (like after this postdoc, I want to jump to industry) on paper. Save that for an interview after you get hired and you talk to your new supervisor about your future.

Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 12:46 pm
by Kevin Rogers

I misunderstood what you meant originally- but anyway I pretty much agree with what has been said above.

I wanted to add though that you should try and talk to somebody in that field in your dept. Esp the grad students/postdocs in such a lab. Try and get one of them to proof read your statement and also ask them if they know about the lab you are applying to - is the prof easy to work with for example ? Postdocs esp are usually a great source of such 'gossip '. Also ask them which other labs they recommend you apply to - not all postdocs are advertised.

Finally look at this thread -
There is a lot of good advice in here, especially from Madson about what to think about when starting a postdoc.

Statement of interests?

PostPosted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:38 am
by Joana
Dear all,

Thank you so much for your valuable replies. They certainly are going to be extremely helpful. Thank you for the example Kevin!

Best wishes to all