The real reason you haven't found your dream job yet

Jeroen Sparla
24 Feb ’22

Finding the job of a lifetime, especially in very specific research fields, is a lucky shot. Demand (your dream job) and supply (a vacancy for a research position) are rarely in sync.

The chances of the job opening that fits you seamlessly being advertised by AcademicTransfer today or tomorrow are not that high. That would be a fluke. Especially when you know that the average job posting is advertised online for only 29.7 days before being filled in. Not even a month during your lifetime!

Are you getting despondent reading this? Then be sure to read on, because I'm going to give you tips that take advantage of this very fact and turn it into a mega advantage.

Start matching your CV and Research Proposal

AcademicTransfer has been building a concept-net in which a specific form of artificial intelligence analyzes your curriculum vitae and, if you already have one, your research proposal.

Armed with these two documents, we proactively set out to find your dream job! Whether that is a PhD position, postdoc, assistant-, associate- or even full professor position. We offer these documents to our concept-net, which analyzes them at lightning speed and compares them to the type of research requested in AcademicTransfer's job postings.

We call it the CV Match and Research Match.

And the great thing is: we do not only match your documents with the current job offers, but also with the job postings from as far back as 2018. The best matches are shown first. What good are old job postings that match my resume or research, you'll think? Those are long expired and filled, right?

The passive job seeker does indeed drop off here. But the proactive job seeker understands this immediately: the expired vacancies with a high similarity between what is required and what you can offer tell you a story on a meta level: not that single specific -expired- vacancy matters, but the university, faculty or department and the type of research that was mentioned there. And apparently there is a lot of common ground between that research and the one you could contribute to!

Wake up the proactive scientist in you

With this knowledge, you can do a few things. You can become the lazy, passive, wait-and-see researcher again, and create an email alert so you'll be tipped off when that organisation posts another job opening with specific keywords. You can do that, there's nothing wrong with that, and I certainly would. But it would be nice if the proactive scientist in you wakes up and you start actively approaching the faculty! In the Netherlands that is very common.

Do your research

If you have found an old vacancy with a perfect match, you can quickly see at which university or research institute it was offered. From the text it is also easy to see at which department or faculty the vacancy occurred, and at which job level. Sometimes the vacancy even mentions names of professors who are involved in the research. But if this is not the case, the names of the researchers involved can be quickly found on the university's website. Each university offers an overview of employees on its own website, classified by faculty and field of research. There you will find corresponding names and email addresses.

Send an open application

Now comes the time when your passion must speak. An open application for a non-existent vacancy, but with research that is closely related to, or an extension of it, should be full of passion for the subject.

In your open application, write especially passionately about the topic, what you already know and what is the area you want to research further. And in what time frame. Chances are, you'll be top of mind with the faculty the moment a new vacancy comes up or they might even create a position for you based on your proposal!

Really, if you don't just apply at random, but immerse yourself in the other person's research, passionately describing why you specifically want this, your chances are increased by as much as 500%. In the Netherlands we like a proactive approach :)

7 steps to find your dream job

Do you think you have it in you? Then follow this 7-step plan to beat the system of "post & pray" vacancy offers:

  1. Create an AcademicTransfer account.
  2. Fill your account with as many profile fields as possible and make sure to upload at least your resume or research proposal. Preferably both.
  3. Use the CV match to find the best matching jobs (don’t forget to check the grayed-out archive with old job postings)
  4. Also, take advantage of the in-depth research match to find the best-fit jobs
  5. Study the best matching vacancies: university, faculty, research topic, job level, ...
  6. Search the university's website for the email address of principal investigators involved in that research
  7. Write an open application, refer to the job opening(s) you found, the current state of your research and the contributions you could make in (subsequent) research

I am sure that with this proactive approach you are 1:0 ahead of your fellow job seekers who passively wait, until one day the dreamed-of vacancy pops up. Good luck!

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