The Process of Landing an Academic Job

Are You Ready for the Job Search?

Take the quiz composed by Mary Morris Heiberger and Julie Miller Vick in “Are You Ready to go on the Market?” (Chronicle of Higher Education).

What is the Bottom Line?

  • The dissertation should be finished, or your advisor should be willing to write a letter saying that you will finish by August.
  • You should have four strong letters of recommendation.
  • You should have presented at an academic conference.
  • You should have a polished CV that you can adapt to particular situations and openings.
  • You should have composed a statement of teaching philosophy.
  • At the least, you should be accumulating evidence of your teaching effectiveness. Compiling a Teaching Portfolio is an excellent way to do this.

If you believe you are ready for the market, then plan your time effectively to accomplish all the tasks required for a successful job search. Since there are common characteristics (CVs, transcripts, letters of reference, statement of teaching philosophy, etc.) to every academic opening, work on your materials through the year prior to your planned date of employment.

A Timeline for the Academic Job Market

(You may have to adapt this timeline to your own discipline in relation to when academic conferences, job fairs, and openings occur.)

May-August: Compose and perfect your CV; Write a statement of teaching philosophy; Accumulate materials for a teaching portfolio

September-December: Ask faculty for letters of reference; Begin looking for openings; Apply early / Write cover letters for each position / Present at an academic conference / Participate in conference job fairs

January-April: Look for late openings; Attend interviews; Campus visits

May-August: Relocation; Get to know the new institution; Begin new position

As you can see from this timeline, landing an academic job requires planning and prudent use of your time.