Academic Job Search

The Academic Job Search

A common question often asked is, “How do I know if I am ready to start applying for an academic position?” The University of San Francisco at California developed the Academic Career Readiness Assessment that you can download HERE as a tool to help you determine if you are competitive for an academic position. This tool highlights what search committees are seeking for applicants at Research-Intensive Institutions, Research and Teaching Institutions and Predominately Teaching Institutions. Remember, the academic job search process begins one year before you would actually begin your new faculty position, so even if you do not feel ready yet, you may ready by the actual start date.

Many applicants are not successful in their first academic job search cycle but find success in their second cycle. Crafting compelling research statements, teaching statements and cover letters is a skill that improves with each job you apply to. Getting feedback during interviews and job talks can inform future interviews. Therefore, it can be helpful to apply to a few academic jobs the year before you are truly ready to transition into your academic career.

One last key piece of advice is to only apply to those jobs that are an excellent fit with your research and background. A cell biologist may feel confident their research is relevant to a position seeking a developmental biologist, but you will be competing with candidates who have trained specifically in that field.

Attend the Academic Job Search Series, which covers topics such as the job search process at research or teaching intensive institutions, CVs and cover letters, research statements, the interview and job talk, and negotiating offers. Recent hires and faculty that have led or served on search committees will share their insights.”

Academic Job Search Handbooks

Quick and Relatively Painless Guide to Your Academic Job Search, Dr. Karen Kelsey
The Academic Job Search Survival Handbook, UCSD
Obtaining and Negotiating a Faculty Position, HHMI
The Academic Job Search Handbook, Welch Library Resources

Finding Academic Positions

The best advice is to start networking at conferences at least one year before your job search. Use more than one source to find jobs – journals, professional societies, networking, website of your targeted institutions, and conference message boards. The Chronicles of Higher Education, Nature Jobs, Science Careers, New Scientists Jobs, HigherEdJobs, are leading job boards for academic positions. Academic 360 lists where you can find faculty positions by discipline.

Job Search Cycle

Traditionally, the job search cycle begins when jobs are posted in July, August and September. Candidate may receive requests for phone interviews as early as October and on site interviews in November. Be patient, some interview offers may not start until January. More and more academic positions are posted outside of the traditional academic cycle; thus keep your eyes open through-out the year.