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Hi, I'm in my second semester as a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature. I know some people might think that it's too early for me to start worrying about what to do to get hired, others might be thinking that it's never too early, others might be saying "you're a comparative lit. major, there are no jobs" lol, but please just stick with me a moment. I'm looking for advice on how I can become a more competitive applicant when applying for assistant professor jobs (and similar jobs) after I finish my Ph.D. I'm technically first-generation college student (my parents dropped out of college, and my much older sister went to college later through a continuing studies program and received a masters online. However, she doesn't work in academia) so I'm pretty lost here about how all of this works and what's attractive to universities. I'm trying to figure out what I can do to stand out. I've been told that I should go to conferences, so I applied to two and got accepted. Are conferences helpful or do you feel like it doesn't make much of a difference? Should I try publishing more? Researching (you know, outside of my future dissertation work)? If so, how do I start approaching professors or institutions, in general, to start doing that? After graduation, should I apply to a post-doc program? If so, do you know of any stand out ones that I should aim for or even what people look for when hiring post-docs or do you just feel like post-docs are unnecessary? My fellowship requires me to teach one semester gratis. Should I attempt at teaching more? Older students in my department have suggested getting a masters in another department (i.e. English, French, Anthropology, Theatre, etc.) to further diversify myself and make more valuable connections, but I'm not sure if tagging on another year or two to finish another degree for the sake of networking is that beneficial especially when comparative literature programs require you to take courses outside of your department anyway. Should I start building more experiences outside of academia (In undergrad, I was an EIC of a publication for a year, I've also worked in publishing, tutoring, mentoring, and led a social justice/community service non-profit organization for a year, and I minored and worked in social media for a bit-- should I keep doing more things like that in grad school or is it time to refocus and just build on one or two things?) If I sound really young, lost, and a little overwhelmed, it's because I am. I graduated from a private university with a degree in English (writing) in three years and was accepted straight-way into this Ph.D. program when I was 20 going on 21 years old. My program requires 48-course credits, after this semester (I entered in Fall 2017 right now I'm in Spring 2018 semester) I would have 24 credits so I'm approaching that halfway mark with my coursework (I probably need to slow down a bit, but I can't hold a job on this fellowship minus departmental related research/internships relevant to my career so I don't have anything really going on at the moment). I'm required to take a minimum 9 credits Fall/Spring each and a minimum 6 credits in the summer so I'll be at 30 credits when the Fall 2018 semester commences. I'm not at a prestigious ivy league school; I'm in a very small program at a pretty large public university. I don't feel like me being young with a good fellowship is enough to really stand out. So if anyone knows about ways I can further build my CV and experiences to become a better applicant for future jobs, that info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
I'm trying to finish up my application for Columbia's CSD program and do not know how to format my optional essay. I know I need to discuss my GRE scores (below par) but focus on how my GPA is great and I have a lot of volunteer/work/professional experiences. Should this be a blunt statement? Or should it be put in a nicer way like every other personal statement? Applying to: Columbia, UVA, UNC, Vanderbilt, Pitt, BU, MGH, Kean, NYU