The postdoctoral period is the springboard for an early career researcher before plunging into the independent scientific career. With a relatively small number of jobs available to a big cohort of researchers, the current academic research landscape is thriving on fierce competition. Perhaps more than ever, finding the right mentor is crucial in culminating the postdoctoral period into a rewarding career move as well as a satisfying learning experience.
A previous post discussed the challenges postdocs face and how mentors can help them succeed. This article will guide you on how you can make an informed choice before accepting a position in any lab because the first step to ensuring a successful career as a postdoc begins with the important step of selecting your PI.
Starting the process of searching for a postdoctoral position about a year before your graduation will give you enough time to do the research before shortlisting the mentors you want to work with. During this period, some of the factors that should be considered for choosing the PIs are:
1. Select the research area of your interest: Selecting the research field that motivates and the research topics that excites you are perhaps the most important things while searching for the prospective PIs. Reviewing the previous publication records of the prospective mentors and discussing the potential research projects with them will give you a better understanding of the research trends of the labs and whether your research interest compliments the research interest of the PI.