Applying for jobs as a PhD or post-doc researcher is no different to applying pre-PhD Applying for jobs as a PhD or post-doc researcher is no different to applying pre-PhD

The first step to getting most jobs is applying – either by way of a curriculum vitae (CV) and covering letter, or application form (which may be online). For most jobs the biggest hurdle in terms of cutting out the competition is securing an interview, so your application is incredibly important.

Many people take a volume orientated approach – firing off a lot of ‘standard' or ‘template' identical applications to a range of jobs and become demoralised when this is not successful in terms of getting interviews. Making less applications, but of a higher quality, is a much better approach. To be successful applications need to be tailored and reflect that time and effort has gone into them. The person reviewing them has to be able to see that the applicant has done their homework, understands well what the role involves and demonstrates that they are a good fit for it in terms of skills and experience and/or the capacity to develop the skills needed.

General advice on putting together your CV and covering letter and/or application form is relevant at the postgraduate researcher level and is available on the CVs and Applications page or within the further resources listed below.

Within these researcher pages we will aim to add to these general principles and deal with the issues that are more relevant at researcher level for both academic and non-academic applications. The advice here will help you to think about what you are writing, how you present yourself and how to bring out the relevant features of your skills and experience which are applicable to both CVs and application forms.

A golden rule is that you should not make the recruiter work hard to find out why you are the ideal person for the role. You should be handing them the relevant information on a plate – it should be easily found and prominent within the application.

Academic applications - further information

Here you can find further information on CVs, application forms and covering letters for academic applications (PDF).

Some example CVS can be found below:

Applications beyond academia - further information

Download further information on CVs and application forms for non-academic applications (PDF)

Download an example of a Science PhD CV tailored to a commercial position (PDF)

Download competency-based questions (PDF). 


The following external websites might also be of interest: lists university job advertisements for academic and academic-related roles. Look here to gauge the types and numbers of jobs available in your field and the skills/experience criteria.

An Academic Career: This website from Manchester University has been specially developed for people wishing to work in academia. It contains sections on ‘Finding Jobs', ‘Making Applications' and ‘Interviews and Assessments'