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Looking for postdocs - how to explain lack of published papers?


User: Lou125 - 10 April 2022 17:17

The TL;DR is that I had health issues during and after my PhD which resulted in no publications coming from my PhD. How do I explain this to potential employers?
I started having severe migraines towards the end of my PhD and ended up taking six months off. Just when I was getting back into things, the pandemic hit and since I had adequate data, I moved back with my parents to write up. I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to complete several experiments and my data isn’t really worth publishing. I got covid in 2021 and this worsened my migraines. That was nearly a year ago and I’m still dealing with frequent migraines while job hunting.
It also didn’t help that my PI moved to a different country halfway through my PhD and support from my department was patchy after that. Without direct contact with my supervisor, I really floundered for the best part of a year. I didn’t feel like I got the support I needed, but I should have made more of an effort to advocate for myself. I now regret that I didn’t keep in contact with my lab or PI.
I have applied to several positions in my field and have had three interviews for postdoc positions and one for a facility manager type position (with some research involved). I was rejected due to not having as much experience in certain techniques as other applicants, which is understandable and the interviews were good experiences. But they all brought up my lack of publications and I had no idea how to answer.
I really don’t know how to proceed and I’m starting to lose hope of finding any job in science, let alone a postdoc.