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academic job market advice

Fabio

My faculty web site has been updated. Click here for the research, especially you higher ed & orgs junkies. I invited readers to click on my teaching page to look at job search advice for graduate students. Do you feel the advice is accurate? What is missing? What is misleading? The advice was written for sociology graduate students in mind, but I hope it is useful for most students in the social sciences & management. Readers should post recommendations for revisions in the comments.

Many thanks to Elizp for helping me update the site and being a wonderful spouse and excellent human being!

Written by fabiorojas

September 27, 2006 at 9:14 pm

9 Responses

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  1. Fabio, would you be willing to share that information with students via the ASA Student Forum Wiki? It’s a new project with few contributions so far, but we hope it will be a valuable resource for sociology students as more people find out about it and contribute. You need to create an account, but otherwise it works like Wikipedia:

    http://wiki.socstudentforum.org

    In particular, the Getting a Job page is currently waiting for contributions:

    http://wiki.socstudentforum.org/index.php?title=Getting_a_Job&action=edit

    Like

    Michael

    September 27, 2006 at 9:37 pm

  2. I sure can! Let’s wait a few days so I can get feedback from orgtheory readers.

    Like

    Fabio Rojas

    September 27, 2006 at 10:05 pm

  3. I was confused about the part about people making sexual advances at candidates during the job interview. I was also sort of confused about the points system, given that one ended up with a total near the end but no way of interpreting it, other than that 0 meant don’t go on the market.

    I also think that people should be thinking about the job market much more than just a few months before they go on it.

    Like

    Jeremy

    September 27, 2006 at 10:16 pm

  4. Thanks, jeremy, for the read. It’s greatly appreciated. A few comments and responses:

    1. “I was confused about the part about people making sexual advances at candidates during the job interview.” Maybe this doesn’t happen to you, but a number of female scholars have reported harrassment during job search visits. I want to clearly indicate to candidates that there are some creeps out there and they should be prepared to deal with them. My goal is to completely de-mystify the process and not sugar coat any problems a person may have.

    2. “I was also sort of confused about the points system, given that one ended up with a total near the end but no way of interpreting it, other than that 0 meant don’t go on the market.” It’s a diagnostic tool designed to help you objectivelly assess your CV and how it will stand up to others. You don’t know how many times I have seen people with almost nothing go on the market or people with tons of accomplishments wait an extra year. When advising grad students, I describe it probabilistic terms. The more points you have, the higher the estimated chance of success. After that, it’s your call about whether you take the jump.

    3. “I also think that people should be thinking about the job market much more than just a few months before they go on it.” I agree. Ideally, all your actions in grad school should be geared towards becoming a professional from day 1.

    However, in reality, the point in time when people face the choice to try to get a job is around Spring or early summer before the market. Only at that time, can you make a realistic judgment of how much you have pulished, what will go on the CV in September, and if you can finish your dissertation by the end of the upcoming academic year.

    Yes, you should think about job prospects years before going on the market. But in reality, the summer before the market is the time to objectively take an inventory of what you have done and see if you have enough to make it.

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    Fabio Rojas

    September 27, 2006 at 10:32 pm

  5. I haven’t actually had anyone ever tell me first-hand about having to deal with #1, or maybe I have and have just repressed it. Ick.

    Like

    Jeremy

    September 28, 2006 at 12:28 am

  6. […] Here is an article (among others) about job search; link via orgtheory. […]

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  7. This is some great advice! I think a lot of people on the market (including myself last year) would benefit from having access to this info. I would only add a couple of things:
    1) Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! be sure to eat it. Also, a powerbar is your friend! Don’t go into your job talk with an empty stomach.
    2) Don’t have alcohol with lunch (sometimes they take you to a pub or something) not because of the drunk factor (which really plays out at dinner when the lushy faculty go crazy on the wine) but simply because it will tire the heck out of you: that 4:30 to 5:00pm meeting with that chatty associate professor from Milwaukee is going to feel like the longest time of your life.
    3) The meeting with the chair is one of the most important, so perk up your ears for it, and have a bunch of questions ready. In particular throw all your isomorphism assumptions out (which only applies to the ceremonial structure of the department anyways) and ask about the nitty-gritty of the department’s “technical” activities and their routines. I was surprised as to the wild variations in departmental organization. Some places guarantee a Grad TA others an Grad RA (the hours vary substantially also), others only have undergrad TAs (yes even top ten schools), etc. Ask about committee work, in some places assistants get a free pass, in others they get loaded with stuff (this is hugely important as it will be one of your primary time suckers). Ask about the frequency with which the faculty meets; in some places it is veritable fest of meetings, in other places it is once a year, etc. Also, don’t assume that the support staff organization is the same everywhere: some places have an “in house” grant person, in other places that support only happens through centers or other extra-departmental outfits. In fact in some places the actual “department” is just a teaching “shell” and all of the research occurs at centers or other extra-departmental entities. Ask about the possibility of “buying off” classes, in some places it is anathema, in other places it is encouraged, etc.

    Like

    Omar

    September 28, 2006 at 1:44 pm

  8. One invaluable way to prepare early, that our department emphasized in our very first year, is attending both other graduate students’ practice job talks and potential candidates’ talks.

    I was much more confident in preparing my own talk (both to practice with my department and to take out into the world) with all that “experience” behind me.

    Like

    jessica

    September 28, 2006 at 2:55 pm

  9. Good link. Trying to build up and pad a decent resume after grad work is proving to be difficult.

    Like

    Kman

    September 29, 2006 at 11:39 pm


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