Succeeding in Your First Job Application, Part 3

Succeeding in Your First Job Application, Part 3

Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD

Stefan Hofmann, PhD

Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD is Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. He has been president of numerous professional organizations and is currently editor-in-chief of Cognitive Therapy and Research. He has been included in the list of Highly Cited Researcher and received many other awards, including the Aaron T. Beck Award for Significant and Enduring Contributions to the Field of Cognitive Therapy and the Humboldt Research Award. His research focuses on the mechanism of treatment change, translating discoveries from neuroscience into clinical applications, emotion regulation, and cultural expressions of psychopathology. He has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and 20 books, including his recent self-help book, The Anxiety Skills Workbook.

Succeeding in Your First Job Application, Part 3

Share
Yes

1. What makes an application “wow” you? And the converse, what makes you want to stop reading an application on the spot? 

Good applications rarely make me go “wow.” A good application should provide honest and accurate information that will best determine fit for a position. It should also convey some degree of passion for clinical science and summarize a few highlights and major accomplishments. It often helps to know the pedigree of the applicant (i.e., who the mentor/s was/were), but this should be mentioned only briefly (i.e., don’t describe in great detail your job on a grant your mentor had). The application should always be honest while highlighting the applicant’s strengths. Overly self-serving applications are a real turn-off and can signal narcissism and trouble down the line. A good application tells the reader why you might be a good applicant and what you can offer to the team/department. 

2. What are commons myths or misinformation about the review process?

A common mistake (myth/misinformation) is the assumption that the best candidate will always get the job. Getting rejected does not mean that you are a poor candidate (assuming that there are no glaring problems). Most of the time, it is a simple matter of fit. Sometimes, excellent candidates do not get a job simply because they are not the right fit for it.  Therefore, think about how you might fit into the department and what you have to offer. How do you complement, broaden, and/or deepen existing areas? This obviously means that you need to do your homework. Know who else is in the department, what they do, and how you might find a place for yourself. You should tailor each application to the specific job. Do not send the same letter to all the places you apply. 

3. Would you advise that applicants make “personal connections” when submitting an application, such as sending an individualized email to get more information about the position?

It is fine to introduce yourself to a committee member if there is an occasion to do so (such as during a meeting). Be careful, however, not to stalk people and refrain from sending emails with irrelevant or unspecific questions just to get noticed. It might get someone’s attention, but not necessarily in a good way.  

4. What's the best way that an applicant can prepare to successfully obtain the type of position that you are working in now? Are there steps that can be taken very early on (e.g., in undergraduate or graduate training) that set the stage for a successful application later?

Obviously, you need to show the quantity and quality of research output that is required for being a successful applicant. This can only be accomplished by receiving good mentorship. Every successful researcher/scientist can identify at least one or two people who they consider as their primary mentor(s), and often these are recognizable names. Even if they are lesser-known scientists, however, they can be important mentors who will guide you in your career, give you honest feedback, and provide you with lots of opportunities, all without expecting much in return. Mentorship is a precious relationship that cannot be replaced by any guides or blogs, even the one you are reading here. 

Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD

Stefan Hofmann, PhD

Stefan G. Hofmann, PhD is Professor of Psychology at the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Boston University. He has been president of numerous professional organizations and is currently editor-in-chief of Cognitive Therapy and Research. He has been included in the list of Highly Cited Researcher and received many other awards, including the Aaron T. Beck Award for Significant and Enduring Contributions to the Field of Cognitive Therapy and the Humboldt Research Award. His research focuses on the mechanism of treatment change, translating discoveries from neuroscience into clinical applications, emotion regulation, and cultural expressions of psychopathology. He has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and 20 books, including his recent self-help book, The Anxiety Skills Workbook.

Use of Website Blog Commenting

Use of Website Blog Commenting

ADAA provides this Website blogs for the benefit of its members and the public. The content, view and opinions published in Blogs written by our personnel or contributors – or from links or posts on the Website from other sources - belong solely to their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ADAA, its members, management or employees. Any comments or opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors only. Please remember that the open and real-time nature of the comments posted to these venues makes it is impossible for ADAA to confirm the validity of any content posted, and though we reserve the right to review and edit or delete any such comment, we do not guarantee that we will monitor or review it. As such, we are not responsible for any messages posted or the consequences of following any advice offered within such posts. If you find any posts in these posts/comments to be offensive, inaccurate or objectionable, please contact us via email at [email protected] and reference the relevant content. If we determine that removal of a post or posts is necessary, we will make reasonable efforts to do so in a timely manner.

ADAA expressly disclaims responsibility for and liabilities resulting from, any information or communications from and between users of ADAA’s blog post commenting features. Users acknowledge and agree that they may be individually liable for anything they communicate using ADAA’s blogs, including but not limited to defamatory, discriminatory, false or unauthorized information. Users are cautioned that they are responsible for complying with the requirements of applicable copyright and trademark laws and regulations. By submitting a response, comment or content, you agree that such submission is non-confidential for all purposes. Any submission to this Website will be deemed and remain the property of ADAA.

The ADAA blogs are forums for individuals to share their opinions, experiences and thoughts related to mental illness. ADAA wants to ensure the integrity of this service and therefore, use of this service is limited to participants who agree to adhere to the following guidelines:

1. Refrain from transmitting any message, information, data, or text that is unlawful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, that may be invasive of another 's privacy, hateful, or bashing communications - especially those aimed at gender, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin, religious views or disability.

Please note that there is a review process whereby all comments posted to blog posts and webinars are reviewed by ADAA staff to determine appropriateness before comments are posted. ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit a post containing offensive material as defined by ADAA.

ADAA reserves the right to remove or edit posts that contain explicit, obscene, offensive, or vulgar language. Similarly, posts that contain any graphic files will be removed immediately upon notice.

2. Refrain from posting or transmitting any unsolicited, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain mail," "pyramid schemes" or any other form of solicitation. ADAA reserves the right to delete these posts immediately upon notice.

3. ADAA invites and encourages a healthy exchange of opinions. If you disagree with a participant 's post or opinion and wish to challenge it, do so with respect. The real objective of the ADAA blog post commenting function is to promote discussion and understanding, not to convince others that your opinion is "right." Name calling, insults, and personal attacks are not appropriate and will not be tolerated. ADAA will remove these posts immediately upon notice.

4. ADAA promotes privacy and encourages participants to keep personal information such as address and telephone number from being posted. Similarly, do not ask for personal information from other participants. Any comments that ask for telephone, address, e-mail, surveys and research studies will not be approved for posting.

5. Participants should be aware that the opinions, beliefs and statements on blog posts do not necessarily represent the opinions and beliefs of ADAA. Participants also agree that ADAA is not to be held liable for any loss or injury caused, in whole or in part, by sponsorship of blog post commenting. Participants also agree that ADAA reserves the right to report any suspicions of harm to self or others as evidenced by participant posts.

Advertisement