The Academic Job Season… it happens every year…

For those of you out looking for a tenure track academic job- I’m re-posting many of my previous posts on finding an academic position. This seems like a good time of year for this, as ads for academic jobs should be really rolling out now and for the next several months.

I have collected all of my previous posts on looking for an academic job here.  And you can find additional things up under the Academic Job Applications tab at the top right of this page. (Drugmonkey and Comrade Physioprof at Drugmonkey at both new and old sites also have many posts on this subject for anyone who is interested, you can search both these blogs)

A few words about the academic job search climate. We are not running a search right now, so I don’t have a good feeling for how this will go this year. Last year, though, was terrible for the applicants. There seemed to me to be a huge supply of applicants, and really good ones, for very few jobs. The downturn in the economy really affected hiring at academic institutions and lots of searches were either canceled, or initiated and put on indefinite hold, and I’m betting that this TT job scarcity will continue for a while.

My advice if you plan to go out this year- give it everything you’ve got, apply for every job you can, you are in a MUCH stronger position if you have $$ of your own to bring with you, … and make a contingency plan if you can… (if you can sit another year where you are, make a backup plan right now!!)…

It seems like such a big bummer to write that…but it is as it is.

6 thoughts on “The Academic Job Season… it happens every year…

  1. Thank you so much for all of your helpful advice (unsolicited or not) about the academic job search and frankly everything else. I am currently applying for jobs and am familiar with what goes into a research statement and teaching statement. However, I recently saw an ad that also requested a ‘diversity statement’. I honestly have no clue where to begin with this one…any thoughts??

  2. “We are not running a search right now, so I don’t have a good feeling for how this will go this year.”

    Not good from what I’ve seen so far. I’ve been hunting for the last year, and tales from cancelled/postpones searches to generally panicked and demoralized faculties have been quite heavy on the grape vine. The expected decline in advertised positions is certainly in effect in my field.

    “apply for every job you can, you are in a MUCH stronger position if you have $$ of your own to bring with you”

    Hell yeah. Applying for K awards should be standard practice for postdocs so much as past their 1st year, imho. The folks bringing the readies are definitely dominating the short lists in my field, from what I can hear. Both of our Dept’s recent tenure-track hires came with R01s. The possibility of wangling a promotion to superpostdoc and submitting an R01 is something I explored. However, I found that in this climate the same financial issues making the job search difficult in the first place are likely to complicate getting a solid commitment from one’s existing institution to back an R01 application; everybody is tightening the belt. Plus you have to overcome the criticism of questionable independence. Not that it wasn’t worth a shot, because I learned a helluva lot during the process.

    inre backup plans. Now is the time to make use of meetings and network like a mofo. With everybody and anybody. Industry folk, fellow academics, journal editors, the whole shebang. Never know when they will come in handy down the line if a career change becomes a serious option.

  3. Dr.Mrs.M.- I’ve never seen a ‘diversity statement’- so I’m sorry I can’t be very helpful there.

    But- let’s survey the reader and commenterships… have any of you written a ‘diversity statement’, and if so, what goes in it, what makes a good one, and what makes a not so good one???

  4. I have no clue what is required in a diversity statement. Perhaps a call or email to the hiring institution is in order?

    For what it’s worth we might actually be starting a search soon…

  5. Thanks for the help..I tapped another trusted source, and she said that while Diversity Statements are rare, she is seeing more of them. She said that these statements are about a page in length and gives you an opportunity to talk about your experience with diversity (broadly defined as race and culture), how you will work with diversity within the lab and classroom, etc. She also said to tailor this statement as specifically to the institution as you can, for example does the institution specialize in first generation college students or have a huge [insert favorite culture here] student body……

    Hopefully this helps others that come across the Diversity Statement quandary.

  6. Re: diversity statements.

    I’ve never seen one for faculty, but our BigStateResearchU has demanded them for all applying graduate students, so our graduate program has started to see them. I think the original idea was to separate the personal hardship stories (disadvantaged upbringing, race issues, etc) from the primary essay, which could then concentrate on the graduate program topic itself (science, literature, etc.). For some students, I can see how it could be a real advantage, being able to talk about cultural differences one might bring, particularly if they also have very strong primary essays. But right now, the university is requiring diversity statements from all applicants. So, in practice, I’ve seen three kinds of diversity statements. (1) Statements explaining upbringing and diversity [cultural, racial, etc.], (2) Sob stories, particularly as to how life was so rough for them growing up, we should forgive all the failed grades getting there, and (3) Statements saying “I don’t know what you’re looking for here.” Some of the #3 examples can be really quite funny.

    That all being said, when I was applying to college (oh so many many years ago), I was given advice that I think applies here. The advice was to think about what you want to tell them and then to find a way to fit that into their format. So, rather than saying “they want a diversity statement”. Find what makes you interesting and different and spin that into a “diversity statement”.

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