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Eigen

2017-18 Job Market Support Thread

49 posts in this topic

So after some of the recent discussion elsewhere on the board, I thought it might be nice to start an (admittedly early) job market support thread for those of us going on (or back on) the market in this upcoming cycle. 

For people on for the first time, I thought it might be nice to start early as a place to ask questions as you're preparing materials, and give those of us on for multiple years a place to commiserate and soothe our souls by helping someone else out. 

Since we have such a relatively small group of people at this stage, lets start with a combined thread for all of our woes, and can split it into disciplines if we want at a later date if the crowd grows enough. From conversations with friends, the application process isn't so different that there isn't a ton of overlap. 

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So in my field, at least, applications are basically done and decided as far as TT jobs and prestigious postdocs go. The only things still open are the one-off teaching positions that can come up at any time, but even those generally have deadlines around now or very soon. Next year's cycle won't begin for several more months. Given the new restrictions on H1Bs, I also know some people who are basically already banned from applying because there is no chance they'll be able to get their visa in time to start teaching in the fall.. it's all very depressing. 

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My field is really active in, as you mentioned, temporary positions. We're hiring for a visiting position now. That said, I'm eternally surprised at the TT positions that will continue to be advertised, at a trickle, all through the summer. Last year they were searches ongoing 2 weeks before semesters started. 

I think of this time of year as when I start looking to get my materials in order. What in my research directions is changing, do I need to update my teaching portfolio with new stuff from the year, and if I want to redraft anything else. 

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1 hour ago, Eigen said:

I think of this time of year as when I start looking to get my materials in order. What in my research directions is changing, do I need to update my teaching portfolio with new stuff from the year, and if I want to redraft anything else. 

So this is something I've started doing in recent years around this time of year, but kind of independently of the job market: I create a sort of end-of-year report for myself detailing what I did over the school year, because I always end the year feeling like I didn't do a lot (I feel like I get most of my research done over the summer). I list all my research activities (papers in press, papers submitted, conference proceedings; conference talks, invited talks, ongoing projects) and related travel; advising (dissertations, qualifying papers, senior theses, other projects); service (committee work, journal reviewing, conference reviewing, event organization); and teaching, and I pull my teaching evaluations for the year. I also create a plan for summer work, which I usually announce somewhere public to make a commitment (I try to be part of a writing group). I find this very helpful in actually seeing all the invisible things that happen over the course of the year. You get kudos on published papers, but on more or less none of the other things. I don't do this specifically for jobs, but it does make life easier if there's an attractive job I want to apply for. These days I feel like if you told me right now that there's a job with a deadline tomorrow that I should apply for, I'd have no problem getting my materials together in time... 

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I'm just starting my PhD program, but my school's department posted this websites with PhD student career guide info. It's mostly geared towards Humanities grads, but I think there is some useful stuff for any of us here. I hope it's helpful!

 https://connect.mla.hcommons.org/doctoral-student-career-planning-faculty-toolkit/

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I started applying last year mostly because my advisors were pushing me. I mean I planned to defend this fall (and I haven't gotten off track!) but for some reason they thought looking for jobs should be a priority even though I believed it was a waste of time. I got absolutely nothing from it except the sense I have no idea what I'm doing.

I have a portfolio this time so I'm going to try and improve it. The first application I want to put in is due 6/14 and I want it to go well. Mostly, I'm annoyed I spent so much time cluelessly chipping away at something even though I knew it was pointless and not where I was in my process. I do so much better when I do stuff in my own time and I'm hoping my approach to applying for jobs this year will reflect that.

Does anyone know if things like linkedin and having a website actually help in the hiring process? I don't want to waste more time when I could focus on producing the best portfolio possible.

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I don't know if they help, per-se, but I can see a spike in my website's traffic when review of applications starts, as well as right before/right after phone and campus interviews. I use it as a place to showcase things I might not easily be able to put elsewhere, and direct committees there to see examples of syllabi/course materials if they're interested. 

The first year on the market is a lot about *having* a portfolio together, imo, more than expecting a lot of success, especially before graduating. The process this year should be much easier for you, and hopefully more successful. 

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3 hours ago, ProfDag said:

Does anyone know if things like linkedin and having a website actually help in the hiring process? I don't want to waste more time when I could focus on producing the best portfolio possible.

In my field, LinkedIn is great if you are applying outside of academia. A website is really important for jobs in the field. Like @Eigen, I also notice spikes in my website traffic when I visited departments. Also, during conferences and what I would guess to be at the time of application reviews (I don't know exactly when they happen, but I did see some spikes from the locations I applied to at times that could correspond to the review process).

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Thank you so much @Eigen and @TakeruK! That makes me feel a lot less like it's a waste of time! I have one academic website that tracks when people look at my publications but even just being able to track web traffic would be helpful.

@Eigen what do you showcase on your website? I'm definitely more interested in adding content than I am in adding my CV but I figure you add that once and it's done. So any advice for next steps would be much appreciated! I definitely felt like last year I just wanted to *have* a portfolio as you put 

To both of you, what website tools or platform do you use? I made a Wix account but I'm not sure how I feel about the platform itself. I don't know a lot of coding or anything, just very basic HTML. 

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@ProfDag: I grabbed a CSS website template from the Internet (with proper attribution, it's one of the publisher's free templates). It sounds more complicated but in reality, with a CSS template, all you need is some basic HTML knowledge. Knowing some CSS (or being able to google for help) is useful if you want to alter the existing template, but otherwise, basic HTML knowledge can get you very far. You just tag each item as a header, body, image, etc and the CSS makes it into the proper style for you. 

The other website tool I use is Google Analytics, which lets me get data on visitors to the website. It's easy to set up, just include some files in your website directory and a snippet of code to copy and paste into each page.

Finally, I host everything on my department's server. My department allows some webspace to each member so I've been doing it this way. This is not ideal for the long term though, since I am likely to be moving more often now and this means my URL will keep changing. I think the free methods as a student is great because of our limited budget and you stay in a place for quite a while as a grad student. And also being linked to your school seems to be more important as a student than as a postdoc or faculty member. Later this year, after I graduate and leave, my plan is to pay for a web hosting service so that I would host my own website. 

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When I started my website, it was just an interactive CV. As I've grown (and mainly since I'm out of grad school and running my own research), I have a more fleshed out site. I divide it up into 3 portions- General about me/landing page, my research, and my teaching. I also still have an interactive CV linked through there, and links to all my publications. 

I use it to showcase what I'm doing- pictures of me taking students to conferences, outings with the research group (general news), my research interests, and I put almost all of my teaching materials up online. I also have a section devoted to my current and past research students. 

I coded my website ground up in HTML/CSS- I wanted something very portable and lightweight, and used it to teach myself HTML/CSS in the process. 

I host through Reclaim Media- it's a hosting company run by two professors in the northeast with the stated goal of helping students and faculty improve their web presence. It was initially grant supported (and very cheap), and now is just moderately cheap. The support from the two guys that run it is amazing, and it's lots of storage and unlimited bandwidth. It also let me stake out a claim to my domain name several years ago, and it's been up (and linked to LinkedIn, ResearchGate and Academia.edu) long enough that it's nearly always the first hit when you search for my name and discipline. 

I use google analytics, but the hosting company I use has a much more in depth analytics package as well that I find myself referring to more and more. 

One thing to remember about being tied/not tied to your school is copyright issues. I purposefully host my teaching materials not on the school site, since I want to "claim" my copyright to them. There are some interesting cases (and a lot depends on your contract) of schools holding teaching materials when a faculty member leaves, as part of the "schools" IP. 

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Adding to the above: My website used to be hosted on my university's servers, then I bought my own domain once I graduated so I'd have a stable URL. It's pretty basic, written in Markdown and updated through GitHub. My homepage contains a short blurb about who I am, my contact info, and recent updates (upcoming talks, recent publications), plus my CV. There is also a link to my CV in a separate tab, so you can't miss it. I have an "about me" page with more stuff about myself (academic genealogy, past affiliations, main interests and broad description of my research program, how to pronounce my name and its etymology). I have a teaching page with links to syllabi, course blurbs, and some teaching materials. And I have two research-related pages - a publications page, that's basically just a list of my publications off my CV, and a research page that groups those papers into projects and gives short descriptions of each project and its main findings. It's also a way to describe ongoing work that may not have a publication associated with it yet. It's kind of like a mini-version of a part of my research statement. I use google Analytics and indeed it's a good way to monitor your progress on the job market. 

More generally as far as the job market goes, the first time you go on the market is mostly just about getting your materials together and getting a very brief exposure and idea of what that is all about. If you get an interview, I think that's a good result. The second year will be much easier, so the work you've already done will definitely pay off down the line. 

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Well, it's officially begun for me. First F18 start date jobs posted today, deadlines in July/August/September. Earlier than last year. 

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On 6/2/2017 at 6:15 PM, Eigen said:

Well, it's officially begun for me. First F18 start date jobs posted today, deadlines in July/August/September. Earlier than last year. 

I feel like the timeline expands every year (that is, the first ads go up sooner and the last ads extend later after the academic year ends).

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Yeah. The real shocker for me is one school that's starting to review applications on July 2nd for a position starting next September. It's the arms race to get people on one end, and re-run searches multiple times when you don't get anyone on the other. One school in my field last year had 3 successive failed searchers- August Deadline, Feb Deadline, March Deadline, and then re-ran the last time with a June 1 deadline for a position starting in August. Never saw if they filled it.

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First job ad for a serious job in my field was just posted today. It's on. Again. 

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1 hour ago, fuzzylogician said:

First job ad for a serious job in my field was just posted today. It's on. Again. 

Holy crap, that's early.

I'm so glad I can hide from the market this year.

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I'm in the midst of my usual angst deciding whether to rewrite materials, heavily revise, or lightly update. 

On the one hand, they could always be better. On the other hand, it's an immense time commitment and my materials got me a lot of interest last year. 

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3 hours ago, Eigen said:

On the other hand, it's an immense time commitment and my materials got me a lot of interest last year. 

I feel like that's the answer, provided you're getting interest from the places you think you'd want to be at.

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11 hours ago, rising_star said:

I feel like that's the answer, provided you're getting interest from the places you think you'd want to be at.

Yeah, it usually is. There's just always a little voice in the back of my head saying "But what about the places you didn't get interviews? Maybe you would have if you reworked your materials!"

Or maybe they just didn't feel my subfield was the right fit- it's hard to know. 

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You're never going to get interviews across the board. If you're getting a healthy amount of interest, it sounds like your job materials are doing their job and there's no need to do a serious overhaul. As you say, that can be very time consuming, and sounds -- in this case -- like it will only have diminishing returns. 

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Posted (edited)

So I see this a lot in the business world; the idea that you should send a follow-up e-mail after submitting your application to introduce yourself and check in on your application. Is this acceptable and/or encouraged in academics? I feel as though it would be a nuisance to the hiring committee or make them look less favorably on you because you're in a sense wasting their time with formalities that don't mean anything. Am I simply reading my own feelings about follow up e-mails into the academic hiring process?

Edited by ProfDag

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Everything I've heard says don't follow up with an email. It's unlikely to have a positive effect, and has a reasonable chance of rubbing someone the wrong way. 

I would say the exception to this is if you've been in contact with someone there, or have a colleague that works there- and even then, I'd play it safe. 

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So I'm officially in now. I sent out my first application for a TT position at the stroke of midnight yesterday (today?). Still have my post-doc to fall back into if nothing pans out this year but I'm very excited to join in the job hunt.

I think a MAY THE ODDS BE EVER IN YOUR FAVOUR is in order for those of us who have volunteered as tributes this year? :)

Regarding this:

2 hours ago, ProfDag said:

So I see this a lot in the business world; the idea that you should send a follow-up e-mail after submitting your application to introduce yourself and check in on your application. 

I got the same advice as with eigen. Unless you screwed up (i.e. you forgot to attach something with your application), the advice is don't contact them, don't thank them, don't do anything. Just sit quietly and wait for the search committee to hopefully smile favourably upon you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The other exception for contact is a noteable change- grant award, new publication, etc. that you want to append to your application. 

And congrats, Spunky! 

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