Speaking on the job market experience is complicated because of various factors. Whenever one provides suggestions, they have to be taken with a consideration of the academic field(s) targeted, the kind of job sought after, and the individual/familiar priorities that should be part of decision making throughout the entire process. This post provides a few notes on my experience in case it can be of use to others.
I tried to keep this list as practical as possible, and it’s based on my experiences during one “trial run” / “soft search” and a “wide search” including several fields (R/C, Eng., WGS, Latinx/LAS).
MLA, Inside Higher Ed Jobs, Interfolio, Indeed
The Professor Is In
Students & Faculty- Feel free to reach out to me at any stage 🙂
Friends & Family
Start prep ASAP – You will be writing a lot of documents! Include the production of a personalized website as part of your materials, or consider your online presence.
Organize documents in specific folders: whatever helps you organize and manage files.
Start a Spreadsheet to keep track of jobs — Here’s an Example, but keep in mind that these kinds of tracking systems sets up particular models that may vary based on your priorities.
Be strategic with your time. For example, adjust teaching calendar based on job deadlines, conferences, and other speaking engagements may help or hinder your energies.
Put yourself “out there” (i.e. social media, conferences, publications, etc.)
Seek out mentoring opportunities outside of your department. Graduate schools tend to provide workshops, and some academic conferences do as well. If there is not official mentorship group in your department, get together and create one! It is important to have a community that can help guide you, and for you to have someone to commiserate with.
Prioritize Self-Care! Sometimes folks don’t want to disclose the status of their applications, or their writing: respect that. It’s good to speak to job market experiences, but oversharing can be tricky. Take out time to be good to yourself, your body, your family, your community.
Obsessing over the academic wiki
Comparing yourself to others (as difficult as it may be)
Reaching/Applying to jobs that are not a good fit (do you really see yourself/have experience doing x, y, z? There may be some qualifications you already have: committee work as WPA or digital work as professional writing, but consider whether you’ll feel comfortable doing the work– you will probably negotiate this question often)
If it’s an online meeting, find a comfortable spot with good lighting
Prepare as if you were going to a real-time interview
Write potential questions and answers on index cards / tape around screen if possible
Research department courses, faculty, interdisciplinary interests, university programs as you prepare potential answers
Practice with different people
Be yourself — If you got the interview, they have considered you a potential hire!
Can be REALLY awkward! Keep this in mind and have a sense of humor about it. Do advocate for accessibility. Committees should be attentive to these issues, plus this may give you an insight on your potential future colleagues.
To avoid exhaustion, try to get some good sleep.
Bring snacks, wipes, or any other refreshing goodies.
Practice everything: job talk, teaching demo, meetings, etc.
Be yourself, but be strategic about what you reveal (i.e. family/partner situation), and when you reveal it.
Send thank you card – nice gestures may go a long way
If (and when) you get an offer, talk to people as you get ready to respond. And a final note on negotiations. DO IT! Don’t be afraid to ask for a salary you believe you deserve. It’s instructive to research the status of salaries in higher education. Keep in mind the job and institution, but you are expected to ask: tech needs, institutional support for research, teaching releases, administrative expectations, etc.
There are many small moments that may be particular to each of you. Keep in mind that the university is a microcosm of the nation state, so you will probably notice moments in which privilege/oppressions are illuminated. Be mindful of your position as you interact with different people you would be working with: students, faculty, administrators. Remind yourself of your purpose: why you are in academia?
A job provides a living, but the job you want is the one that will help you reach that goal.