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Dreading post-doc apps

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

  1. FreudianSlippers

    FreudianSlippers

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    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:
     
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  3. singasongofjoy

    singasongofjoy Psychologist 2+ Year Member

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    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.
     
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  4. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Post-doc applications are typically less stressful than the internship match process. Good luck!
     
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  5. 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.
     
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  6. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    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

    FreudianSlippers

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

    CatsFan 5+ Year Member

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    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

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

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    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."
     
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  10. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    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

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    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

    singasongofjoy Psychologist 2+ Year Member

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    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!
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  13. cara susanna

    cara susanna 7+ Year Member

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    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.
     
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  14. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    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

    himala

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    A couple of samples here:
    FELLOWSHIPS | Applying for Internships and Fellowships | Page 2
     
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  16. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    Are we allowed to tell a postdoc site that they're our first choice?
     
  17. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    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.
     
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  18. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    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.
     
  19. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Non-match postdocs have no rules. You will see a wide range of....behaviors with some of the non-match type places.
     
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  20. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    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?
     
  21. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    Only inasmuch as the VA likes to hire their own postdocs preferentially before hiring people outside of the system.
     
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  22. Kadhir

    Kadhir 2+ Year Member

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    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).
     
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  23. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    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.
     
  24. Kadhir

    Kadhir 2+ Year Member

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    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.
     
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  25. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist Psychologist 7+ Year Member

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    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.
     
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  26. himala

    himala

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    Hey! Hope these tips help: FELLOWSHIPS | Preparing to be a Psychologist: Internships, Fellowships, and EPPP | Page 2
     
  27. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    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?
     
  28. kathygeiss

    kathygeiss

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    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.
     
  29. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    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.
     
  30. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2018
  31. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks! Yeah, the more I ask, the more I’m hearing mixed things. It may be due to region/locale like you were saying.
     
  32. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    For Boston people, has anyone heard about the training/environment at Boston Behavioral Medicine and/or Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates/Atrius Health?
     
  33. Kadhir

    Kadhir 2+ Year Member

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    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.
     
  34. brain hugger

    brain hugger 7+ Year Member

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    Thanks, Kadhir! So, in general, is it wiser to avoid most/any FFS positions?
     
  35. Kadhir

    Kadhir 2+ Year Member

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    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.
     
  36. Ambivalicia

    Ambivalicia

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    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.
     
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  37. foreverbull

    foreverbull 2+ Year Member

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    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.).
     
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