Prof. Dr. Sebastian Seiffert
Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Institute of Physical Chemistry
Building No. 2121
3rd Floor / Room 03 110
+49 (0) 6131 39 23887
3rd Floor / Room 03 114
Some Comments on Contacting Us with Applications
This text is to share some thoughts on the matter of contacting us with the intent to join our team on PhD and postdoctoral levels.
We are a group of researchers at the undergrad, graduate, and postdoctoral level. We are always eager to enrich our team with new members, and we therefore highly welcome you to contact us if you are interested in joining our group and contributing your creativity, skills, open mindset, and motivation. Vice versa, you may benefit from our research environment and group spirit. The possibility to take over a paid position in our group, however, is an infrequent event. This is because the timespan of occupancy of our existing positions is about three years for a PhD position and usually one or two years for a postdoc position, and the rate of addition of new positions to our group is also finite. Based on that, you may get an idea about the average frequency of opening of our paid positions. Whenever this happens, such an open position will be advertised on this website and on our university's job portal; it may also be advertised on further platforms like Nature jobs, ResearchGate, academics.de, euraxess.de, and co. Such an ad will tell you exactly how to apply and which information to provide. If no such advertisement exists, however, then this has a simple reason: there is no job to be filled at this time. Hence, any application sent to us without addressing a specific existing job posting is a waste of time, both yours and ours.
As an alternative, there is another possibility of becoming part of our team: a self-motivated research proposal addressed to a suitable funding organization to self-fund your stay and work in our group. There is plenty of excellent and prestigious funding sources, such as those by the DAAD or Humboldt foundation for internationals, or those by the Fund of the Chemical Industry (FCI), the Graduate School of Excellence MAINZ, or the Carl Zeiss foundation for locals. If you come up with a self-motivated initiative of a research idea that will perfectly connect to our research profile and environment and that is convincingly based upon your previous knowledge, be it from your master studies if you seek a PhD position or from your PhD research if you seek a postdoc position, you may have a very good chance to acquire such independent funding. Rather than just becoming a university employee as above, you may then become a self-funded privileged partner of our team to synergistically realize your research idea together with us.
As a result, how should a good message to us look like if you intend to join our team? This is simple. Just follow two rules:
1. If you seek a position to become a group member as a university employee, send us an application related to a specific job positing. If there is no such job posting, then do not send an application.
2. If, rather than that, you seek to become a group member conducting your own self-initiated, self-motivated, and self-driven research, send us a short contacting e-mail with a brief sketch of what you have in mind to possibly work on in our group. We may then get in more regular contact to devise a good synergistic project together.
In either case, keep in mind the following most important aspect:
We do not seek the best candidate. We seek the best fitting candidate. Hence, rather than telling us how brilliant you are and how great your achievements are, tell us where exactly you and your expertise would fit and synergize with that of our group. In other words: tell us why you are the right one for our group. But on top of that—and much more important in fact—do also tell us why our group is the right one for you.