Dismiss Notice
SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

Dreading post-doc apps

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by FreudianSlippers, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. FreudianSlippers

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    28
    To say I'm dreading the quickly approaching post-doc applications would be a major understatement. With having internship apps less than a year behind me, dissertation defense coming up, and working over 40 hours at my internship, I am pretty damn tired of it all at this point.

    I was wondering if anybody could offer some insight on cover letters for post doc applications? For instance, how similar to internship cover letters are they? Are there specific things I should include or exclude? I would just LOVE some thoughts or comments from you all. If it helps, i'll be applying to mostly counseling centers and some VA's. Thanks in advance :bow:
     
    super.ego and brain hugger like this.
  2. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. singasongofjoy

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Messages:
    674
    Likes Received:
    445
    Status:
    Post Doc
    Mine were quite similar to internship cover letters. Used them as a template. Applied to some of the same sites. Was so much less stressful actually getting applications together than was internship. Hang in there.
     
    NeuroLady likes this.
  4. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    21,238
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Post-doc applications are typically less stressful than the internship match process. Good luck!
     
    NeuroLady likes this.
  5. SaraLance

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Psychologist
    I really only wrote one cover letter. From there, I was able to modify the template for each site. Much less stressful to write after the first one. I also found that I applied to much fewer postdoc sites than internship sites; if you're thinking that applying for postdoc is a duplication of the internship process, I did not find that to be true. When you're applying for postdoc, you probably shouldn't be taking the shotgun approach (applying for a ton of sites). Your postdoc will/should be a strong/stronger reflection of your professional identity.

    In my cover letters, I typically talked about why I was interested in the position, what experiences I have that have shaped my interest, how those experiences prepared me for what I'm applying for, etc. But also, don't overthink it. I don't feel that the cover letter is a major/deciding factor in selection. When I reviewed postdoc applications, I read cover letters once; I combed over CVs with much more scrutiny.
     
    FreudianSlippers likes this.
  6. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Do you get the sense that postdoctoral committees are typically looking for those who have a lot of experience that matches what they offer versus someone who would like more training in it? For instance, I have a lot of experience with PTSD and trauma populations but I haven't had specialized training in Substance Use (so haven't administered Seeking Safety/CBT-SUD, etc.) but I would like to apply to sites that focus on "PTSD and Substance Use" but am also wondering if it makes sense to even apply to just "Substance Use" tracks, since I'd like more training in this?
     
    FreudianSlippers likes this.
  7. FreudianSlippers

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    28

    Good to know, thanks for the advice!
     
  8. CatsFan

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2012
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    126
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    Somewhat related question, how much does the post-doc application process cost? I’m applying to internships now and if the post-doc application process is also this expensive I’m gonna be in trouble! I’ll be applying to neuropsych post docs (assuming all goes well between now and then haha).
     
  9. foreverbull

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2015
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    312
    Yes to tweaking one letter over and over.

    However, I had a much harder time finding a postdoc position and didn't apply to enough sites (I applied to 8, but picked competitive sites with only one open spot). I can't state enough how important it is to apply to many sites if they're in competitive/metro areas, because often you're vying for one or two spots at most, not the typical 3-4 internship slots per site. Don't be overconfident if you're applying in a large city in which you have no professional connections. I'd suggest more apps for a large/competitive area, especially if you aren't known to the sites at all and have no reputation that precedes you (i.e. Attended a school in the area, did internship at a site that people know of via word of mouth/training directors, etc.). In my case, I was jobless for a little while after internship until I could find an "unofficial" postdoc. I was told by a postdoc clinician not to apply to too many sites because it was "easy."
     
    singasongofjoy likes this.
  10. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    21,238
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Status:
    Psychologist
    I can’t speak to the match app cost, as that part has changed over the years, but the interviews should still (mostly) be at INS, so travel costs should be waaaaay down in that regard.
     
  11. NeuroLady

    NeuroLady Gero Neuro Nerd

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    211
    I'll take a guess... APPA CAS charges $25 for the first application and $15 for every subsequent application, then the match registration (neuro only) is $150. I'm seeing about half of the sites (again, neuro only) are interviewing at INS (which saves a bundle). So maybe 2k? Assuming some travel to sites not interviewing at INS? Although I hear there are more opportunities for phone/ Skype interviews in postdoc... sooo... maybe less/ it depends?
     
  12. singasongofjoy

    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2014
    Messages:
    674
    Likes Received:
    445
    Status:
    Post Doc
    I think I applied to 8 sites. None of them required me to use the APPIC portal so there was no cost associated with applying (except those I had to mail things in hard copy = post office cost). I ended up having skype/phone interviews only and ended up exactly where I wanted to be, so for me, it was extremely low cost. My officemate applied to about the same number and had to travel to 3 sites I think, and had skype/phone interviews for others. Seems like most folks in my internship group traveled to 3-5 sites for interviews.

    ETA- when I initially read your post I overlooked the fact that you are applying to neuropsych places. That's not what I do so my experience may not be relevant to you. But sounds like other neuro folks have chimed in with more helpful info. best of luck!
     
    #11 singasongofjoy, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
    NeuroLady likes this.
  13. cara susanna

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Messages:
    5,279
    Likes Received:
    1,407
    Status:
    Psychologist
    I felt the same way when post doc apps started--super burnt out and wanting to do anything but another round of applications. If it helps, the process ended up being much better than internship apps.

    I applied to 11 sites because they were more competitive. I only got four interviews though, haha.
     
    FreudianSlippers likes this.
  14. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    I'll be speaking with the current postdoc at a site I'll be applying to. Does anyone have any questions they would have wanted answered prior to postdoc?
     
  15. himala

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    6
    A couple of samples here:
    FELLOWSHIPS | Applying for Internships and Fellowships | Page 2
     
    Feelings Doctor likes this.
  16. Thread continues after this sponsor message. SDN Members do not see this ad.

  17. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Are we allowed to tell a postdoc site that they're our first choice?
     
  18. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    7,704
    Likes Received:
    5,673
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Depends. If you are participating in the APPCN neuro match, the rules are the same as internship. The site is not supposed to tell you and you are not supposed to communicate rank preference either.
     
    brain hugger likes this.
  19. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Thank you! To help clarify, it's not part of the APPCN neuro match or APPA CAS. I just wasn't sure if applying to non-match postdocs have any unspoken rules re: stating first choice.
     
  20. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    7,704
    Likes Received:
    5,673
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Non-match postdocs have no rules. You will see a wide range of....behaviors with some of the non-match type places.
     
    DailyJoy and brain hugger like this.
  21. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Also, would having a non-match postdoc at a reputable hospital/group practice (compared to a formal postdoc) affect one's ability to have a VA staff position down the road?
     
  22. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    7,704
    Likes Received:
    5,673
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Only inasmuch as the VA likes to hire their own postdocs preferentially before hiring people outside of the system.
     
    brain hugger likes this.
  23. Kadhir

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    96
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    You can (not so indirectly) communicate to a match site that they are your top choice if you have a non-match offer in hand that ranks lower on your list. The verbiage goes something like, "will you rank me in a way that will guarantee a match?" And they will respond. Match sites typically encourage you to be open with them if you have offers but are still interested in their site, as they are well aware people get snatched up beforehand.

    You do not need to complete a match post-doc to be competitive in the VA system or otherwise. Even many VA postdocs are not in the match, and there is variability in quality in the match itself (and of course outside of it).
     
    brain hugger likes this.
  24. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Thanks, WisNeuro and Kadhir! I've mainly trained at VAs but was offered informal postdocs elsewhere (at a group practice and a hospital). I'll look into the details of each but am glad to know that formal postdocs aren't necessarily considered better than informal ones.
     
  25. Kadhir

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    96
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    Might already be clear, but I'll just add that "formal" doesn't mean match. Sure, all of those ARE formal postdocs, but there are non-match postdocs that are just as formal-- some are even specialty APA-accredited for neuro (e.g., UCLA, VA Boston, Baltimore VA). "Informal" post-docs could be private practice gigs or, most commonly, research post-docs that work in a clinical component to make folks licensure/board-eligible. Many of these have also been formalized in some way, and others are pieced together by the particular candidate.

    Nitpicking the terminology, but it does make a difference in this confusing game.
     
    brain hugger likes this.
  26. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    7,704
    Likes Received:
    5,673
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Depends. The strength of many VA postdocs is the time and opportunities you get for didactic experiences. At many group practices and hospitals you are part of the billing machine and your billable hours are priority #1, with didactic opportunities taking a back burner. It's nice to only work a 40-50 hour week that includes 5-10 didactic hours in there, along with 5ish hours of supervision.
     
    Therapist4Chnge and brain hugger like this.
  27. himala

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2017
    Messages:
    20
    Likes Received:
    6
    Hey! Hope these tips help: FELLOWSHIPS | Preparing to be a Psychologist: Internships, Fellowships, and EPPP | Page 2
     
  28. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Thanks, himala! I've heard that postdoc interviews feel more a bit of the sites courting trainees. Has this been the case with others? Also, I have an interview next week. Any tips? I was also told not to wear a suit. Is this common for postdoc interviews?
     
  29. kathygeiss

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2016
    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    84
    Status:
    Resident [Any Field]
    This is interesting- I haven't heard this about the suit. Definitely interested in hearing others' perspectives. For my first, I wore a nice work dress with a suiting blazer on top.
     
  30. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Ah! I should clarify. One site (more of an informal postdoc situation) said no need for a suit. I'm not sure if it's required for other postdoc interviews.
     
  31. foreverbull

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2015
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    312
    This sounds like wishful thinking! Having been through official postdoc interviews a few years back, I would absolutely say you are still having to sell yourself and skills rather than the site seeking YOUR interest. My interviews were identical to internship interviews, actually, in which you answer a bunch of questions and they appraise you without giving you immediate feedback.

    Maybe this varies by region/locale, and how many applicants there are, but it didn't feel like interviewees had any more power in postdoc interviews than internship ones.
     
    #29 foreverbull, Jan 7, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  32. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Thanks! Yeah, the more I ask, the more I’m hearing mixed things. It may be due to region/locale like you were saying.
     
  33. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    For Boston people, has anyone heard about the training/environment at Boston Behavioral Medicine and/or Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates/Atrius Health?
     
  34. Kadhir

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    96
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    I've only heard of the latter and cannot speak to the training environment of either. However, quick Google search on the former revealed it's somewhat of a piecemeal deal-- stipend is FFS?? Avoid if you can.
     
  35. brain hugger

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    50
    Thanks, Kadhir! So, in general, is it wiser to avoid most/any FFS positions?
     
  36. Kadhir

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    96
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    It just screams instability to me. IDK- is this something people do often? I'm in the world of more formalized neuro postdocs. In any case, the setup doesn't seem like it would provide you with good supervision and allow you to be a trainee (I've learned how privileged a position this can actually be) vs. just labor. I could be wrong.
     
  37. Ambivalicia

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    27
    Do yourself a favor and wear a suit. I am on the internship and post doc selection committee at a fairly prestigious program. We take note if someone stands out because their attire is more casual/less professional than the rest of the applicants (for better or worse), and it’s not looked on favorably. When in doubt, stand out for your stellar training, thoughtful questions, fit with the program, and clinical skills, not for your choice of attire. Sure- some people may prefer that you dress with more style, but nobody (and I mean nobody) is going to say “ew did you notice Jennifer? She was wearing that boring blue suit?” However, someone MIGHT say “Wow, did you notice Jennifer’s casual outfit?”


    To answer your other question: you do have a bit more power in that there are fewer applicants applying for the same spots/there are more programs than applicants, but you still need to put your best foot forward and show respect. During interviews, I look at everybody equally. If you’re here, you’re good enough to come here. Now I’m listening in for your enthusiasm, friendliness, your ability to hold a conversation and think on your feet, as well as show general social skills.
     
    brain hugger likes this.
  38. foreverbull

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2015
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    312
    I'd say it really depends on region/city. I was given advice not to apply to too many postdocs because it was "easier" to get one...this from someone who applied to small town postdoc sites and came from that frame of reference. I went in thinking 8 or so apps was plenty in a huge metro area in a very psychologist/graduate student saturated state....and ended up without a postdoc at the time, despite being told I was a strong competitor (oftentimes I was vying for positions at sites with just 1 or 2 postdoc slots available, and I'm sure there were many applicants for those few positions). I'm hoping that others don't make the same mistake when they're looking at sites in large metro areas and competitive (and saturated) states. More is better when applying to postdocs in competitive areas/large cities, especially when you have no professional connections in the area (i.e. didn't go to graduate school there, didn't do internship there, etc.).
     
    singasongofjoy and brain hugger like this.
  39. Parabolas

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2017
    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    12
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    That's what everyone says but so far I've found the opposite to be the case. With the internship application process I kept telling myself "it's ok if you don't match where you want, there's always the postdoc year to end on a strong note." Now I keep telling myself "this is your last chance to land a postdoc in the area of practice where you'd like to specialize, and if you don't land it then it will be extremely difficult/impossible for you to break into that area as a professional."
     
  40. Kadhir

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2015
    Messages:
    157
    Likes Received:
    96
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    I also found the postdoc process more stressful, but that was more cognitive distortion than anything else. For internship, it was finding somewhere, ANYWHERE, suitable given the horror stories I had heard. I was fortunate enough to match to one of my top sites, and after that point it became "Crap, I have to keep this up. Can't just go to any postdoc!" I interviewed at well-known fellowships and saw my internship mates (not to mention the folks I went on internship interviews with... all very successful) at each site. And then here I am, sitting in postdoc, realizing none of it mattered as much as much as I thought it did. I can still crash and burn- it's mostly about what I do as an individual rather than my title and where I hold it.
     
  41. foreverbull

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2015
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    312
    Absolutely. For some who don't have as much competition at a site, it can be easier, but there is also a lot of pressure to get an "official" postdoc, with fewer postdoc positions available than internship slots overall. With postdocs, network connections are more important than internship, particularly in highly competitive areas. Speaking from personal experience and colleague's experiences, all other things being equal, having a training director who knows the postdoc training directors at sites you're applying to can be the difference between snagging an interview and having your application rejected outright when sites have too many applicants.

    Not to create more anxiety for folks who are in that process, but if I could go back to postdoc application time, I'd apply to more postdoc sites (I think I applied to 8?) since my TD didn't know any of the TD's at the sites I was applying to and I was applying in a very saturated area. I ended up with a decent "unofficial" postdoc a few months after internship ended, but the security of having a postdoc when I left internship would have been nice.
     
    ellenew likes this.
  42. emily621

    emily621 PhD Student

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    10
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    I would say the opposite - I applied to 9 and got 8 interviews (and am told I would have been interviewed by the 9th if they hadn't made an agreement with an internal candidate). The field for post doc applicants is smaller so I think there is a better likelihood of getting interviews overall, even in big cities. I know this is a wonderful problem to have, but I find myself wishing I had narrowed things down a bit before deciding to apply to all of them.
     
    szymk1sm likes this.
  43. Student in debt

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2018
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    5
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    I also feel that internship process was less stressful than the post doc.

    Recently in one of my interviews, there were 11 PBI questions to go through in span of 40 minutes. That was nerve wrecking and stressful.
     
  44. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
    Psychologist

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    Messages:
    7,704
    Likes Received:
    5,673
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Postdoc interviews were infinitely easier than internship. Especially for neuropsych. All of my interviews at one location over a few days. Couldn't have been easier.
     
    Therapist4Chnge likes this.
  45. futurehopefully

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2018
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    I think for me, the hardest part is the competition against people who are interns at current sites, particularly when you know that many sites tend to chose their own interns.
     
    ellenew likes this.
  46. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    21,238
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Status:
    Psychologist
    True, though some places value outside ppl so it isn’t so insular. I’ve seen it go both ways...particularly if there is a research component for post-doc.

    My internship recruited and hired almost exclusively from former trainees. Part of it had to do with a scarcity of open positions and people wanting to stay in the area or move back to the area.

    My fellowship recruited nationally, as did my last faculty gig. Research fit was a factor, so it’s less applicable for 100% clinical positions.
     
  47. anxiety_embodied

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Random question: so if we don't end up landing a post doc by the UND is there a place we can go to look for other post docs (similar to how there's phase 2 for internship) or do we just need to do an informal post doc/ find a job?
     
  48. foreverbull

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2015
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    312
    I think you're on your own after the UND. You just look for jobs or postdocs (that don't follow the UND) to pop up on job websites (I got interviews from Indeed & Craigslist later on).
     
  49. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    21,238
    Likes Received:
    2,129
    Status:
    Psychologist
    List servs for your speciality (if applicable) are a good centralized option. I know Div40 and Div22 will frequently post jobs after UND, and I think other APA Div list servs should be similar. Sometimes additional funding comes in late, so don’t give up once the UND passes bc there always seems to be late additions at some quality training sites....often well into the Spring and Summer.
     
    anxiety_embodied likes this.
  50. tartar

    tartar Postdoctoral Fellow

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2015
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    29
    Status:
    Post Doc
    There is a list of unfilled positions on the appic site that is updated almost immediately on UND!



     
    anxiety_embodied likes this.
  51. anxiety_embodied

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2018
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is really encouraging guys! Thank you. I was freaking out a bit since I got so few interviews. I'm feeling alot more hopeful now. Just joined some list serves. As far as the APPIC site goes, do you know where I'd find the list of of sites? Is it still under "universal post doc directory?"
     
  52. jas1009

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2017
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    4
    Status:
    Pre-Psychology
    Yeah it’s in the UPPD! You can look it up on the appic website about what to do following the UND.

    I’m in the same boat of nervousness - applied to 12 sites, withdrew from one when they discontinued the track I wanted, got 6 interviews, waiting to hear from one more.
     

Share This Page