How is it looked upon if one applies cross-sub-discipline? (I'm thinking most specifically of research-oriented universities, not SLACs.) Although I am trained in Clinical/Developmental, if I think my research fits with the overall department, is it kosher to apply to a Social position, for example? I see ads that look like a good fit, but I am not trained in nor does my research focus on social psychology concepts, per se.
Date: 13 Sep 2011 16:44
Number of posts: 7
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I served on a few search committees as the graduate student rep, and getting applications from people who clearly didn't fit the job description was annoying. It was a waste of the committee's time to have to even look through their application. Job ads are written with the intention of finding someone who fits the description and area that is noted. I think it's very unlikely for a social search to choose you as a clinical/developmental person.
As someone who does interdisciplinary research, I am applying to many cross-sub area positions. In fact, the best fits for me are often in an area in which I did not get my Ph.D. So although I agree that if you only fit with the overall department (and not the research focus of the search), you should steer away. But if you are a developmental psychologist who studies clinical populations then applying for a clinical job seems like a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
Just adding my proverbial 2 cents' worth here. I am a research-oriented clinical psychologist who does work with typical and atypical developmental populations. I applied to both clinical and developmental positions last year and did not get a single nibble from any of the developmental programs to which I applied (though I had several interviews at clinical programs and did land a TT position at the end of the process). Clinical positions will want people trained in clinical psychology, as there are particular programmatic needs that are unlikely to be met by folks coming from different disciplines (e.g., clinical supervision of trainees). Our program is conducting another job search this year and we are only interested in clinical candidates for ths reason. If your research spans several subfields within psychology than it may not hurt to apply widely - I just wouldn't have unrealistic expectations about your chances for those positions, especially in such a competitive job market where there are likely to be solid candidates who more clearly fit the job description.
Most schools hire based on the fit. Good programs hire based on the person. There are numerous examples from last years hires of folks who did not "fit" the particular posting where they ended up. The advice I have received is that if you have interest in a school apply there.
I'm in clinical/health and will apply to a few social and developmental jobs that seem like a good fit. My research is very multidisciplinary. In some cases the departments don't have a separate health area and/or a clinical program. Unless the fit seems like enough of a stretch that it'll insult/annoy the committee to look at your application, it seems like it doesn't hurt to apply. If it's a school that you're really interested in, it might even be good to get your name in front of them; there could be a better-fitting position down the road. That said, I agree with anon that clinical positions are a special case because you'll probably need to be able to do supervision of clinical cases and have other kinds of training that are specific to clinical areas.
I would definitely suggest applying, even if you only partially fit the description. Let the search committee decide whether the fit is right. The worst thing that can happen is that they pass on you.