Monday, February 12, 2007

What's the post-doc-job talk grace period?

Let's say you've been a post-doc for nearing six months....is it still OK to give a job talk based on your PhD research? If you do decide to give a talk based on your PhD, should you throw in a few slides mentioning what you are doing now? What if the post-doc research isn't methodologically or thematically related to the rest of the talk?

There's no way I can give a whole 45+ minute talk on my post-doc research - I don't have anywhere near the data analysis completed that I would need. I could give 5-10 minutes about the experimental set-up and preliminary results, but it doesn't connect with the rest of my nicely coherent PhD talk.

If you were me, what would you do? If you were on the search committee, what would you think about a candidate who gave their PhD work rather than in-progress post-doc work?

10 comments:

Katie said...

I would talk about your PhD work. Maybe you can put a section at the end that is other directions this could lead and talk about your Postdoc...or just not talk about that at all. But I have only been on the giving end of the talks, not the receiving.

sab said...

Not that I've been in this situation yet... but I would give the talk on my phd work and be sure to mention current post-doc activities when talking to faculty outside of the talk.

Propter Doc said...

Most 'job talks' I've seen in chemistry talk about the PhD and postdoc projects, indicating what is finished and published and what is work in progress.
Personally, I'd make it clear that the first part of the talk is the PhD, completed work and then do a second half of work in progress for the postdoc. Most of that bit can be background and rational and purpose but it shows that you are actively doing research. I plan to include both in my job talks and I do radically different stuff in my postdoc than PhD. I want to demonstrate that I am versatile.

DancingFish said...

I think it depends on the type of position and what research you plan to do there. If the work you want to do in the future is more like your post-doc work, then I would find it weird to talk only about your PhD work. If you want to continue both paths then I would say up front that you are talking about two topics and like you said, do 5-10 min about the post-doc stuff at the end. Having sat through two searches in the past two years, I would be impressed by your ambition in researching different topics and by your presenting preliminary data after only 6 months in a post-doc position.
Good luck!

PZ Myers said...

Unless you've gotten amazing, miraculous results, 6 months of work isn't enough to talk about. Do most of it on your PhD research -- that'll show them that you know how to do science. Spend the last 5 or 10 minutes outlining your research goals now as the part of the talk where you're explaining what you can contribute to the department in the job you are applying for.

When I go to a job talk, I want to see that the speaker is organized, coherent, and can tell a story, and that they are looking ahead with a plan compatible with my department.

blop said...

Start with an introduction that gives a global view of both your PhD and post-doc. Not of the tiny link between the two, but an overview of the field for people outside of this field. And then claim that you will present work you've done in 2 directions in this field : 1 your PhD, 2. your post-doc (what you intend to do, what is already done).
You want to convey the idea that 1. you are mature enough to have a global view of the field and pedagogical skills to teach it to people out of the field. 2. you are able to do research from experiment design to publication (your PhD). 3. you're not afraid to start projects on a related but different subject (you post-doc) and your previous training make you faster (cause i guess that after 6 month of PhD you were not as advanced, including in knowing what you want to do, as you are now with your post-doc).

at least that's what the committee will certainly want (they know that you started your post-doc 6 months ago and that you're not god allmighty!)

good luck

iLikeRocks said...

I recently sat through a search (as an undergrad, our colloquium speakers for a few years running were potential Hydro professors) and you could definitely tell that the candidates were speaking on something they had finished up and then went to "what I'm doing now & what are my future goals* at the end. Granted, I didn't go to the talk of the person who eventually got hired but that's what I saw with the other candidates.

Jenn said...

You've already received lots of great suggestions... I'd just agree with the others who said to base it mostly on your PhD work. A complete story is much easier and more satisfying to sell yourself with. I'd also try to mention your current interests (postdoc) and how everything relates together to your future interests (in the lab where you're applying). I'm always most impressed by the postdoc candidates who give an indication in their talks of WHY they're interested in the work we're doing in our lab and how their experience will contribute to our lab.

Lab Lemming said...

I got hired for my postdoc after giving a talk on my grad school stuff 15 months after handing my PHD in.

6 is nothing.

Manikandan said...

Hi .nice blog.I need to find jobs .can anybody send links of that job websites....
Thank you.....