I am currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in a biotechnology research centre. I'm starting my last year, so I have started to take a look around in the job market.

I'll have few options for my job applications. My top choice is a biotechnology startup company which works in my field. It was founded in 2015, with several millions of dollars of venture capital, and it's the top leader in the world in its field. They work both on consultancy and on discovering new science, publishing top papers in top scientific journals.

They have two open positions for which I can been a fit: junior scientist and senior scientist. The only additional requirement for the senior scientist candidates is to have experience in supervising projects by students. I have supervised two students in my career, which might not be enough to be considered for the senior position.

My point is: I would like to let them know that I'm applying for a senior scientist position, but I would be happy to be considered also a junior scientist position, or any researcher position they can provide, in case they don't think I can run for a senior scientist position.

However, there is the risk that this statement of mine could seem like I think I'm not skilled enough for the senior scientist position, or that I want to apply for "whatever" position, which can seem unprofessional.

How can I communicate my intentions clearly without damaging my application?

EDIT: Thanks for all the replies, very useful. The application is on the Lever.co website, and they also ask to include a cover letter (as usual). Perhaps I should mention something in the cover letter?

  • 1
    How is the application process? Is it via email where you can write or is an online form for each position?
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 31, 2017 at 15:49
  • 1
    @mcknz It's a unique online form for "scientist" position
    – larry
    Aug 31, 2017 at 17:27
  • 1
    Ok, then you should go for applying to both forms, as suggested in my answer (and it was not @mcknz that asked you that, it was me ;) )
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 31, 2017 at 18:05
  • Oh sorry @GrayCygnus... I don't know why I wrote mcknz. Anyway, to be more precise: there is only 1 form. Junior and senior candidates should all apply through that unique form.
    – larry
    Aug 31, 2017 at 18:39
  • So how you indicate you want the senior position?
    – DarkCygnus
    Aug 31, 2017 at 18:44

4 Answers 4


I have supervised two students in my career, which might not be enough to be considered for the senior position.

The only way to know for sure is by applying to it so they can consider your experience in the matter. For this consider tailoring your resume to include those two students, and also mentioning your experience during any interview that might follow.

How can I communicate my intentions clearly without damaging my application?

This depends on the way and channel the application process takes place. If it is via email, you can specify your intentions in the body of the message, along with your attached application material. Explain you are mostly interested in the senior position, as you have had previous experience with student projects, and that you are open to consider any offer they seem fit for you.

However, if the application is via some online form per job position things are quite different. I suggest in that case you consider filling both forms (junior and senior) so you are considered as a candidate for those two positions (or any other form available you want to apply).

Anyways, if the process continues and you get interviewed, be sure to mention again your intentions and your experience with student projects. In any case, if they do not see you fit for the senior role is really likely they will make you a counter offer with other position, given you were more fit for it.


The two positions may actually be on different teams or departments. If so then applying for both may actually damage your chances of getting either. Employers are looking for people who want the job they are offering. If you apply to two different jobs with the attitude I don't care which I get I just want a job; they are liable to choose someone else that actually wants THE job they are offering rather than just A job.

So pick the job you want and go for that. If they like you but can not offer you that position they may offer you the other, or encourage you to apply for the other.

  • 1
    THIS is the answer. Pick one, otherwise you look un-decided and potentially even desperate.
    – Neo
    Sep 1, 2017 at 12:47

The best way is to apply for both positions. You have no idea which position they will try and fill first. If they pick the one you didn't apply for, but it the one they would have picked you for, then you will have missed your opportunity.

I have seen postings go from open to closed to filled in days, while a similar one takes months.

In some companies applying the first time is painful because of all the steps involved; but the second one takes no time because they only ask for a new cover letter. In some cases this is a problem because they expect you to use the same resume, but for you that is perfect.

If they decide to make an offer they will ask you to remove your name for consideration for the other positions in the company, but by that time you would have mentioned your interest in either position.


As others have said, apply to both. While as @IDrinkandKnowThings says you run a risk, on the other side you can emphasize in your cover you are applying not so much to the job, but to the company because you have such a strong desire to work there.

Also consider other channels beyond the online application system. Do your research and see if this company works with recruiters. You can search old job postings by company name and see if they were posted by recruiters. The recruiting company will usually have an account manager for the company that understands the company needs and people. If you can impress this person, they can point you in the right direction or get your resume near the top of the stack for review.

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