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I am in a dilemma, as the title says. Currently I am at a PostDoc position in science at uni. I was planning to start looking for jobs in the industry in six month from now. Yesterday I found a pretty nice job offer in my region were I would fit right in. The deadline for the application is 01.09.2015 (very soon !). I would really like to apply for this but things are a bit complicated. My projects where I am working now are not finished and I agreed with my boss that the earliest time for me to leave would be in six month from now. So by asking for a letter of recommendation I would imply that I am ready to leave sooner and possibly upset him and the rest of team. Also it is probably impossible to produce a full CV with recommendations and have it arrive by paper mail within the deadline. Since this offer's deadline as almost due it might be futile to apply there anyway since they already have candidate.

Hence my question: Is it appropriate to send a short email inquiring about this position to avoid upsetting people and to gain some time on preparing a proper CV ?

I should add that I am actually happy at my position now, just this position fits really well, so I would risk upset people if I had a chance there. Also I am pretty specialized already, which makes really appropriate job offers in my region rare.

I am grateful for advice.

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    01.07.2015 is past
    – paparazzo
    Aug 25, 2015 at 7:29
  • my bad, should be 01.09.2015, fixed it
    – Stefan_R
    Aug 25, 2015 at 8:24
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    Are you sure they need a letter of recommendation? The "industry" works differently than "academia". While letters of recommendation are quite normal in the academia, the industry usually asks for professional references from your previous employer(s), and those are usually asked for after you clear the interview. However, I am unclear about industry hiring a candidate from academia.
    – Masked Man
    Aug 25, 2015 at 8:42
  • @MaskedMan, that is valuable information. For the last things I applied I had to include two letters of recommendation with the application. But that was academia in Japan. What environment are you talking about. I guess Europe or US.
    – Stefan_R
    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:50
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    @Stefan_R I was referring to the Indian context, which I am most familiar with, because I work here. However, I have a fair deal of familiarity with US & EU, having worked with people from US & Germany for about 8 years. My general observation is, at least in context of this question, there is not much difference in hiring in "industry" of various countries, and likewise in "academia" of various countries. The difference is between "industry" and "academia", not so much between the countries.
    – Masked Man
    Aug 25, 2015 at 11:18

2 Answers 2

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Yes, it is entirely appropriate. If time really is of the essence, it won't hurt to call rather than email.

I've had both calls and emails from people who were interested in a job for which I was recruiting. I'd much rather have someone clarify things before an interview.

All CVs nowadays are submitted either online or via email - so you shouldn't worry about the postal service.

Judging from your date format and use of the word "CV", I assume you're in the UK? Generally speaking, industry references come after you accept the role. So no need to worry about a reference letter just yet.

The bigger concern to me is that you want to leave in 6 months. Depending on the job, up to 3 months is a common notice period. It would be worth clarifying with the hiring manager whether that's an acceptable timeframe for them before formally applying.

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  • Thanks for the clear answer, although it seems to come from anecdotal evidence. Still valid. I am actually from Germany and the job in question is in the Netherlands. However, all materials and their website are English, so probably "international" rules apply. For your concern about the time: I can leave my current position in 6 month and nobody can be upset. Projects should be finished be then or another person can be hired and trained in that time.
    – Stefan_R
    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:53
  • What I meant was that I am willing to leave earlier for that job, although I would try to negotiate for that.
    – Stefan_R
    Aug 25, 2015 at 10:59
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Is it appropriate to send a short email inquiring about this position to avoid upsetting people and to gain some time on preparing a proper CV ?

It's appropriate, but probably not very productive.

You really can't say "save a place for me, since I don't have time to prepare my CV" and expect a positive response.

Instead, write your CV, and omit the letters of reference. If it's necessary in your field, include something like "references available on request". That will get the CV to the hiring company before their deadline, and start everything in motion.

That said, applying now for a job that you cannot start for 6 months is a bit unusual in "industry" (perhaps not so in academia). Be sure to broach that subject in your cover letter, so as to avoid wasting your time and the hiring company's time.

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    "You really can't say "save a place for me, since I don't have time to prepare my CV" and expect a positive response." Exactly that. Making a CV without reference letters as suggested might be the best thing to do. I will be honest with my preferred timing as to not waste mine and their time. Good advice.
    – Stefan_R
    Aug 25, 2015 at 13:16

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