"Piled Higher and Deeper” by Jorge Cham http://www.phdcomics.com

53 resources to navigate the academic job market

Job hunting is stressful and time consuming but with careful research and preparation it can be a positive and rewarding experience*.  Having recently survived the process I’m using this weeks post to compile a list of online resources for navigating the academic job market, broken down by category and interspersed with my own personal tips.

Develop and equip yourself

Early preparation is easily forgotten.  Look at the desirable requirements for the type of job you expect to be applying for and go on that professional development course, get that teaching qualification and update your CV.  Use upcoming meetings and conferences to network, collaborate and get your name heard, put the word out that you will soon be on the job market.  Make sure you have an online presence.  Social media is becoming more important but I am talking here about your university staff page biography, LinkedIn profile, ResearchGate etc.  You should make sure these are professional, up-to-date and include a research and/or teaching summary that is something other than just ‘postdoc at x university’.  It is from these pages that consulting and other business opportunities can arise.  Finally, go see a mentor.  Here are some top links for more information:

  1. Refresh Your CV
  2. Teaching qualifications are important
  3. Networking and other academic hobbies
  4. Making the most out of academic conferences
  5. Narrating Your Professional Life: Writing the Academic Bio
  6. I’m an academic and desperately need an online presence, where do I start?
  7. A Guide To Developing Your Online Presence
  8. How to Build an Academic Online Presence
  9. Please Change Your LinkedIn Headline Now.. Here’s Why and How
  10. How to write the best LinkedIn headline (and why it matters)
  11. 7 tips to supercharge your academic LinkedIn profile
  12. How to find an academic mentor
  13. Your academic tour guide

The search

This will be location and situation specific but remember your network can be very useful here.  I think sending the odd speculative e-mail/CV is ok especially to an existing contact or contact in common but remember that many people find these annoying.  For those ‘this is the perfect job for me’ adverts always make a pre-application enquiry.  If no name is given then be proactive and find one – but make sure you have sensible questions prepared and don’t take up too much of their time.  Links below:

  1. Jobs.ac.uk: UK and international job search
  2. Findapostdoc.com: European postdoctoral job search
  3. New scientist jobs
  4. Nature jobs
  5. Science careers
  6. Findauniversityjob: mostly UK based
  7. EURAXESS: European researchers in motion portal
  8. Academic360: collection of internet resources for academic job hunters
  9. How to Write a Speculative Cover Letter That Wins You Interviews
  10. The art of making an effective speculative job application

The application

I’m including here the cover letter, CV, and the whatever they call it – the personal statement – why do you want this job – how do you meet the person specification; I’ve listed some great resources below.  My top tips are to link your application to the university’s academic strategy with key words and phrases; likewise use the same wording as they use in the job description/person specification to explicitly detail how you meet these things.  Always provide a cover letter if the system allows.  Always.  In an online application (in my opinion, and contrary to the advice in some of my links) generic sentences like ‘please find enclosed my application for x position’ are redundant, instead begin with why you are interested in them.

  1. What You Should Include in a Personal Statement
  2. How to Stand Out When Applying for An Academic Job
  3. Getting on the short list: academic job applications
  4. Academic Job Applications “Do’s” and “Don’ts”
  5. Academic cover letters: 10 top tips
  6. Why Your Job Cover Letter Sucks (and what you can do to fix it)
  7. Understanding cover letters
  8. Writing a winning cover letter
  9. 38 tips on writing an academic CV
  10. Academic CVs: 10 irritating mistakes
  11. Dr. Karen’s Rules of the Academic CV
  12. Writing an effective academic CV
  13. Should your academic CV (or résumé) go digital, at last?

The interview

Preparation is key here, practice, practice and practice some more any presentations and answers to obvious questions – with an audience, standing up.  Do as much research as you can about the institution and department, think about possible future collaborations and courses you’d like to teach and remember that you are also interviewing them.  Finally, get a good nights sleep and plan your route and outfit in advance.

  1. Academic Job Interviews
  2. We Regret to Inform You: On Interview Feedback
  3. preparing for the academic job interview
  4. I can haz job? Tips and tricks for the academic interview
  5. The #Facepalm Fails of the Academic Interview
  6. How to shine in an academic interview
  7. Succeeding in Academic Interviews
  8. Interviews: The all-important job talk
  9. Top 5 Academic Interview Questions and Answers

Brace yourself!

Now that it is over, relax and stop worrying – think about what you have learned/gained from the process and stop comparing yourself to others.  If it went well, think about how you would respond to an offer.

  1. 10 Tips for a Successful Academic Job Search
  2. Top tips to keep imposter syndrome at bay
  3. Managing the Academic Job Market: How Not to Lose Your Mind
  4. Academic Scientists at Work: Negotiating a Faculty Position
  5. Negotiating an Academic Job Offer: What are the Secrets?
  6. It can hurt to ask
  7. Negotiating your academic job offer
  8. OK, let’s talk about negotiating salary

*Honest.  I may write another, more personal, post on my experience in applying and interviewing for lectureships – let me know if you would like to see this.

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