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The Academic Job Search Handbook

By Julia Miller Vick and Jennifer S. Furlong

Publication Year: 2013

For more than 15 years, The Academic Job Search Handbook has assisted job seekers in all academic disciplines in their search for faculty positions. The guide includes information on aspects of the search that are common to all levels, with invaluable tips for those seeking their first or second faculty position. This new edition provides updated advice and addresses hot topics in the competitive job market of today, including the challenges faced by dual-career couples, job search issues for pregnant candidates, and advice on how to deal with gaps in a CV. The chapter on alternatives to academic jobs has been expanded, and sample resumes from individuals seeking nonfaculty positions are included.

The book begins with an overview of the hiring process and a timetable for applying for academic positions. It then gives detailed information on application materials, interviewing, negotiating job offers, and starting the new job. Guidance throughout is aimed at all candidates, with frequent reference to the specifics of job searches in scientific and technical fields as well as those in the humanities and social sciences. Advice on seeking postdoctoral opportunities is also included.

Perhaps the most significant contribution is the inclusion of sample vitas. The Academic Job Search Handbook describes the organization and content of the vita and includes samples from a variety of fields. In addition to CVs and research statements, new in this edition are a sample interview itinerary, a teaching portfolio, and a sample offer letter. The job search correspondence section has also been updated, and there is current information on Internet search methods and useful websites.

Published by: University of Pennsylvania Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-viii

This fourth edition of the Academic Job Search Handbook rests on the contributions of all those who have been mentioned in the Acknowledgments of the first three editions. This edition builds on the previous work of the late Mary Morris Heiberger and adds the voice of new coauthor Jennifer S. Furlong. ...

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Introduction to the Fourth Edition

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pp. 1-2

The Academic Job Search Handbook is designed to be a comprehensive guide to what is sometimes a needlessly bewildering process. It is written to help recent Ph.D.s, as well as junior faculty members who are changing positions, benefit from the experience of those who have successfully navigated the academic market. ...

I. What You Should Know Before You Start

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1. The Structure of Academic Careers

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pp. 5-9

You will be entering the job market at a time when higher education is subject to intense financial constraints, self-scrutiny, external assessment, the whims of the national ranking systems, competition, and accelerating technological change. Higher education has shifted to a more consumeroriented model, both with the development of for-profit institutions and with the increasing demands placed on institutions by employers, ...

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2. Hiring from the Institution’s Point of View

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pp. 10-16

... It will generally be impossible for you, as a job candidate, to have a full understanding of what goes on behind the scenes. Even if you are fortunate enough to have an inside contact who can give you additional perspective, it is still extremely unlikely that you will know everything about the hiring decision. Thus, throughout the job search process, you will need to present yourself in the strongest fashion possible without tying yourself into knots ...

II. Planning and Timing Your Search

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3. Becoming a Job Candidate: The Timetable for Your Search

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pp. 19-23

It is important to begin to prepare for your job search well before you expect to finish your dissertation or your postdoctoral research. In many fields it is also important to time the search to coincide with the completion of your dissertation. Many scientists are competitive on the tenuretrack market only after a few years of postdoctoral research. Think about your job search, your participation in scholarly organizations, and the completion ...

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4. Deciding Where and When to Apply

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pp. 24-30

Before you begin a job search, think about what kind of job you want and whether you are currently prepared to compete successfully for it. Study position announcements to see what different types of institutions seem to require and use the information to help plan your next steps. If, realistically, you don’t yet seem qualified to compete successfully for the jobs you really want, consider whether a postdoctoral position or fellowship, additional ...

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5. The Importance of Advisors and Professional Networks

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pp. 31-35

A job search may feel like a lonely enterprise, but it is always conducted within the context of a web of social relationships. You work within a discipline with its own language, conventions, and structure of communication. Your own research has undoubtedly been strengthened by communication with other people; in some fields it has been conducted as part of a team. You are leaving a department with one social structure and culture to enter ...

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6. Conference Presentations and Networking

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pp. 36-39

Conferences and conventions are a major means of scholarly communication. They also provide an opportunity to meet people who can hire you or refer you to others who can. By the time you are an advanced graduate student, if not before, you should begin to participate in these meetings, which are an important means of communication in your discipline. As you near the end of your graduate work and enter the job market, conferences ...

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7. Letters of Recommendation

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pp. 40-44

At some point in the screening process for nearly every job, and frequently as part of your initial application, you will be asked to ensure that letters supporting your candidacy reach the hiring department. The number requested varies, but three is typical. Since letters require the cooperation of others, allow yourself plenty of time to obtain them. ...

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8. Learning About Openings

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pp. 45-48

Every discipline has a scholarly association that serves its members in many ways. The association functions as the recorder and critic of scholarship in the discipline by producing one or more scholarly journals of refereed articles. It normally also holds a conference, usually on an annual basis, where the most recent research in the field is presented. There are many forms of conference presentations. Individual scholars, seasoned Ph.D.s and ...

III. Written Materials for the Search: Suggestions and Samples

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9. Responding to Position Announcements

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p. 51-51

When you apply for any college or university teaching position, you will be asked to submit a ‘‘curriculum vitae,’’ a ‘‘vita,’’ or a ‘‘c.v.’’ All these terms apply to the same document, which is a summary of your education, experience, publications, and other relevant data. In addition you may be asked for any or all of these: a research statement, a statement of your teaching philosophy, a writing sample which could be a chapter of your dissertation ...

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10. Vitas

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pp. 52-116

Whether or not it is accompanied by letters of recommendation, your vita is always the first thing you will send to a hiring institution, whether it is called a ‘‘vita,’’ a ‘‘c.v.,’’ a ‘‘curriculum vitae,’’ or, occasionally, a ‘‘resume.’’ In preparing it, your goal is to create enough interest in your candidacy that you will be granted a personal interview. Design your vita so that your ...

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11. Additional Application Materials

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pp. 117-147

You may be asked to provide an abstract of your dissertation as part of the initial screening process for a faculty position. Or you may wish to provide it with your application whether or not you are specifically asked for it. ...

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12. Web Sites

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pp. 148-152

As more and more people use the Internet as their primary means of finding information and communicating, some job candidates are constructing their own Web sites. This practice is now common in both technical and nontechnical fields. Job candidates who take the time to construct professional sites carefully report that potential employers are interested and impressed. ...

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13. Job Hunting Correspondence

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pp. 153-173

Always include a cover letter or letter of interest when you send your vita to an employer. It is your opportunity to highlight your experience and expertise relevant to the specific institution and position. ...

IV. Conducting the Search

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14. Interviewing

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pp. 177-186

The academic interviewing process may encompass three different types of events: the short half-hour to hour-long screening interview at an annual conference or convention which serves as the central job clearinghouse for a field, the phone interview, and the all-day or several-day interview on campus which may follow a successful conference or phone interview. If you are invited to interview for a job as a result of your direct response to an ...

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15. Off-Site Interviews: Conference/Convention and Telephone Interviews

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pp. 187-193

Conference interviews may be relatively unimportant in your field. In many disciplines, however, preliminary interviews for most of the entry-level jobs in the country are held at the annual meeting. You may be one of ten or more well-qualified candidates on a long interview schedule, interviewing under conditions of stress and possible confusion. So what do you do? First, ...

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16. Campus Interviews

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pp. 194-203

By the time a department invites three to five candidates for a visit, it has determined that all are in some sense competent. During the interview the search committee tries to assess such intangibles as ‘‘potential,’’ ‘‘fit,’’ and ‘‘tenurability.’’ On campus, it is as important to be prepared to be convincing and concise as it is at a conference. In addition, the abilities to respond flexibly to the requirements of unpredictable situations, to talk ...

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17. Job Offers, Negotiations, Acceptances, and Rejections

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pp. 204-215

In a tight job market, candidates worry primarily about receiving any acceptable job offer. However, job offers produce their own challenges. ...

V. After You Take the Job

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18. Starting the Job

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pp. 219-224

You have received and accepted an offer. Whether it’s at a place where you hope to stay or will be only for a year or two, advance preparation can help you make the most of the coming year. If you haven’t already done so, complete your dissertation or current research. It’s very important to have it behind you so that you can devote your energy to your new research and ...

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19. Knowing About and Getting Tenure

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pp. 225-228

Most institutions have some form of tenure. When you interviewed for your job or during the acceptance discussion, you probably asked some questions about tenure at your new institution. As you start your position and think ahead to the future, you should have a sense of how many junior faculty, both in your department and institution-wide, were granted tenure in the last ten years and how they were evaluated. ...

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20. Changing Jobs

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pp. 229-232

At some point you may decide or need to change jobs. There can be many reasons for changing jobs besides not being granted tenure, and each will require slightly different job seeking strategies. ...

VI. Additional Considerations

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21. Dual Career Couples, Pregnant on the Job Market, and Related Concerns

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pp. 235-245

Many of the conventions of academic job hunting developed when most candidates were American men whose spouses, if they had them, did not have careers. Today, both male and female candidates in the American academic job market are increasingly part of two-career couples and many intend to have families. Some institutions are well aware of this and have policies in place to assist couples ...

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22. International Scholars, Older Candidates, Gaps in Your Vita

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pp. 246-250

In recent years candidates in the American academic job market have become increasingly diverse in cultural and international backgrounds. In addition, some job candidates are pursing academe as a second career and thus are older than many other candidates. Continue to emphasize the professional background that is your link to the department’s mission. ...

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23. Thinking About the Expanded Job Market

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pp. 251-266

Higher education is changing drastically as it becomes more marketdriven. As a result, it’s difficult to map out an academic career far into the future, because the rules keep changing. In almost every field in which one can obtain a Ph.D., studies show that a substantial number of people with that degree work at something other than faculty positions. Despite your best efforts, sometimes you find that events do not unfold according to ...


Appendix 1: National Job Listing Sources and Scholarly and Professional Associations

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pp. 269-280

Appendix 2: Additional Reading

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pp. 281-284


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pp. 285-287

E-ISBN-13: 9780812209440
Print-ISBN-13: 9780812220162

Page Count: 296
Illustrations: 3 illus.
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: Fourth Edition