Academic Job Market: Basic Information

Main Phases of the Academic Job Market

Each phase requires its own preparation and specific kinds of materials

  • Application: Postings and deadlines are typically consistent within each field, often in early fall. If you don’t know how this works in your field ASK, even if you are years away from the job market.
  • Conference Interviews: Typically take place at an annual meeting in each field (often late fall or early winter). These are usually short (30 minutes) and notoriously awkward. Expect a bit of confusion and take horror stories and rumors with a grain of salt.
  • Campus Visits: Usually late winter and early spring, these visits include interviews with faculty and deans, job talk(s), meals and, potentially, meetings with students
  • Offers: Confer with faculty on negotiations and acceptances. Offers are often extended in the spring with late summer start dates.

The Spring/Summer before Going on the Job Market

  • Get your CV into final form
  • Create a website
  • Develop a strategy for your job search
  • Organize and prepare other job market materials
  • Create a personalized timeline based on your area-specific timeline

Job Market FAQ

What do I need in order to go on the job market, generally speaking?

You need a highly polished CV, a minimum of one strong job market paper, a well-written research statement, good recommendations lined up, and clear communication with your advisor about your plans and your strategy for applications. Along the way, you will need many other things: various application materials (including some regarding your teaching experience and approach), practice interviewing, practice presenting, more than one interview outfit in which you feel very comfortable, etc.

How will I know when I’m “ready”?

You will know you are ready when you have a handle on the above materials and skills, and, most importantly, when you have had open discussions about your job market readiness and your timeline to complete your degree with your advisor and other committee members

How soon do I need to start preparing?

You can start now. Preparing for the academic job market requires a maturation process that occurs over the course of your entire graduate career. Good habits throughout your time as a graduate student make a big difference:

  • ACTIVE workshop participation
  • Building community within your field and a support network (start with your fellow students)
  • Learning from students ahead of you by building two-way relationships with them

Be ready to present yourself and your work in public. To do this effectively you need an updated CV, a website (with a good headshot), and a couple of professional outfits for presentations and interviews.