The Academic Job Search
The process of going on the academic job market might seem a daunting task. Several questions present themselves: Where do I start? What do I need to include in my application? What is expected of me as a job candidate? How can I present myself to be a memorable candidate? What can I do to prepare for interviews?
The University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT) in cooperation with Career Connection provides resources that can help find answers to these questions. At UCAT we offer consultations concerning your Teaching Statement and Portfolio whereas Career Connection provides assistance with most other aspects of the Academic Job Search.
Every year in the Fall, UCAT and Career Connection offer a four-part workshop on “ Planning Ahead for the Academic Job Search.” This page offers a short overview of some useful advice for your job search as well as references to additional resources.
For a successful job search, treat the search process like a job and make sure to carefully research your job options and positions you apply for.
- Generally application deadlines for faculty positions are in October/ November.
- Create materials early. Take advantage of On-Campus Resources such as Career Connection or UCAT to create materials that represent you at your best.
- Many advise to complete the dissertation before taking a tenure-track position. While you do not need a finished dissertation in order to apply for a job, you and your advisor should agree that you will be able to finish your dissertation before starting your job.
- Not all job searches are successful the first time around. Keeping this in mind, you should make a contingency plan. This plan could include working as an adjunct or visiting professor.
- Core Materials
- Some search committees might also request any or all of the following materials: Dissertation Abstract, Research Statement, Teaching Portfolio.
- Get organized: create a spreadsheet with relevant information and deadlines for each job you are applying for.
- This University of Illinois handout on the Academic Job Search Process provides more details on the material required and an example of how to get organized.
A faculty job ideally is a long-term commitment to an institution of higher education, departmental colleagues, as well as a specific geographic region. Before you begin your job search take some time to think about what kind of institution, position, and community you would want to be part of as a faculty member.
- Find out more about “Determining Institutional Fit and Your Career Plan”
- An interesting article in the Chronicle of Higher Education showcasing why it is important to consider “Fit” during your job search
Teaching and Research Statements
Teaching and Research Statement are becoming an increasingly common part of the Job application for academic positions. They may be requested by hiring committees at any type of institution.
- The Teaching Statement should state your goals and values regarding teaching and an illustration of how you meet those goals supported by student feedback documenting your teaching effectiveness.
- A Teaching Statement demonstrates your communication ability to the hiring committee as well as giving them an idea about whether you would be a good fit for the institution
- Visit the UCAT website for a guide on writing your Teaching Statement and creating a Teaching Portfolio
- This is NOT a research grant proposal
- A Research Statement should summarize your current and future research agenda
- A Research Statement should reference how you intend to fund your research; whether you plan to collaborate with colleagues or other organizations; whether and how you intend to involve graduate and/ or undergraduate students.
- The following resources are good places to start looking for more information on writing a Research Statement as well as sample statements:
- University of Pennsylvania Career Services: “ Research Statement”
- Science Careers: “ Writing a Research Plan”
- University of California, San Francisco: “Developing a Winning Research Statement”
Cover Letters, Vitae, and the Interview
If you are interested in learning more about vitae, cover letters, and the interview, get in touch with Career Connection.
Good cover Letters and vitae are tailored to the type of job you are applying for, they have consistent formatting, and their wording is clear and concise.
- Phone interview and/ or interview at a national conference (December/ January)
- Campus Visit (February/ March)
For more information on how to prepare for these different types of interviews take advantage of the OSU Career Connection resources for general Interviewing Skills and more specifically for Interviewing in Academia.
The following websites offer additional information:
- University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT)
- Career Connection
- Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW) – Writing Center: The Writing Center offers help with discussing grammar issues and gives advice on how to proofread your materials.
- Julia Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong. The Academic Job Search Handbook. 4th Edition (2008).
(Limited Preview available at Google Books)
- Richard M. Reis. Tomorrow’s Professor. Preparing for Academic Careers in Science and Engineering (1997)
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Career Services – “Five Tips for a Successful Job Search”
- Carleton College: Science Education Resource Center – A variety of resources on the “Academic Job Interview”
- Follow the progress of job searches on the Academic Jobs Wiki
- The Hiring Process from the Other Side (Career Center, Berkeley University of California)