From workshop with Dr. Jennifer Furlong from the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development and Prof. John Bowman from Queens and the GC. 

Dr. Furlong, Career Office

Know some things

  • Climate of higher education (read Chronicle, IHE, etc.)
  • Know how advisors can help, how you can get what you want

Climate of higher ed

  • Lower funding
  • Scrutiny of outcomes
  • Non-‘traditional’ students

Timeline

  • POLSC Job postings appear late summer/VERY early fall
    • Deadlines late summer/early fall
    • Activity centered around APSA
      • Some schools want to interview in person at APSA
      • GO TO APSA year
      • Other schools after conference deadlines
  • PLAN TO HAVE MATERIALS READY BEFORE APSA
    • Spend summer before on job materials

Should you go on the market

  • Discuss advisor (and to lesser extent, committee)
  • Qs
    • How far along is research?
    • When you are defending?
      • If you amazingly got a job,
  • TAKES A LOT OF TIME
    • Prepare writing sample
    • Write cover letter(s)
    • Teaching philosophy
    • Keep track of spreadsheet
      • When are deadlines for different places, what do they want, etc.
      • Getting people to write recommendations
  • Most people take trial run
    • Practice, see what happens, there are positions that work, etc.

Timeline/Spring-Summer

  • Finish (or close to finished) with diss
  • HAVE TO TALK to advisor/committee about job search
    • Dialogue
    • Make list – “I’m thinking of applying to these places, etc.”
  • Developing contacts outside of institution
    • Undergrads, people at conferences
    • Letters of recommendations
      • GREAT if you have someone outside your program
  • Pull together materials
    • Tracking down evaluations, syllabi, etc. in same place
    • WRITING JOB MATERIALS
  • What will I do if I don’t get a job this year?
    • Able to adjunct more?
    • Graduate later than I had anticipated?

Information and Support

  • Department
  • Professional association
    • Especially website
  • Career Office – CVs and Cover Letters
    • Resources on their website

Mental Transition: From Subordinate à Identity of Colleague

  • Weed out graduate student language
    • Over-enthusiastic
  • Be pro-active
  • Ask for help but search is YOURS
  • Meet people at conference
  • Look at the institutions and use that info in cover letters
    • Especially if campus interview

Presenting your work

  • Comfort
  • Job talk as make-or-break moment on campus visit
    • People at GC tend to have more teaching experience, and presenting your work is different
  • PRACTICE
    • Talks at conferences
    • Volunteer for department speaking series
    • Mock job talks
  • Observe others
    • What’s a good talk in your field?
    • Watch job talks at school(s) you adjunct
  • Good talk
    • NOT read word for word
    • Practice
    • Supporting materials
      • PowerPoint, handouts
      • CLEAR, useful, NOT distracting
      • Mindful of how people respond (they will read PowerPoint/handout instead paying attention)
      • Graphs, data, tables
        • Have other people look at them beforehand
        • Sensitive to audience
          • Each campus different
            • Presenting to Social Science in general? Undergraduate students in the audience?
              • Can ask ahead if going on campus visit
        • Anticipates questions
          • Do you know faculty member X approaches your topic from A perspective, include something in talk – “Many scholars engage this topic like A, but I…”
        • Guides your audience
        • Handle questions well

Written Materials

  • What are they?
    • CV/vita
    • (maybe) teaching philosophy
    • (maybe) research statement
    • (maybe)
    • ‘Evidence of excellence in teaching’
      • teaching addressed
      • portfolio
      • website/professional presence on website
      • writing sample
        • chapter or portion thereof from dissertation
        • cover letter/letter of intent
          • TAILOR to each institution
        • (maybe) transcript
        • Letters of recommendation
  • Resources
    • Department?
    • Friends/colleagues/more senior grad students who have done successful search
    • Careerplan.commons.gc.cuny.edu

Identify Job Opportunities

  • Scholarly association: BEST SOURCE
  • Chronicle
  • HERCjobs.org
    • Especially if other academic partner (can set up dual career profiles)
  • Higher Ed Jobs
  • H-NET.org
    • Interdisciplinary postdocs especially
  • Your network

Postdocs

  • Temporary position
    • Most common in sciences
  • Often used to move research forward (à book)
  • Teaching component often, especially in humanities/social sciences

SKETCH of search

  • Aug/Sept apply
  • Interview
    • APSA
    • Skype/phone in fall
  • Campus Interview (late fall)
  • Offer (late winter/early spring)
  • Didn’t get tenure-track à Visiting Assistant Prof
    • temporary
    • Postdocs split between fall and spring
  • Move over summer, start in fall
  • REPEAT AS NECESSARY

How do I know to move on to alternative plans???

  • Complicated
  • Stepping of track à hard to get back in
    • Think about your life
  • How many times are you willing to go on the market?
    • Probably will need multiple years on job market – 2-3 times
    • CANNOT count on job on first year of market
  • How many times are you willing to move?
    • For Visiting positions, post-docs?
    • Personal considerations
  • Oh, I’ll just work in…(policy/HS teaching, think tanks, government)
    • This takes time/preparation TOO
    • Have network of more than academics
      • Maintain these contacts
      • Talk to them about their work, what their job search was like, what experience they had, etc.
      • Show SOME evidence you care/have these other experiences/skills
        • EX: substitute teaching in independent/private school à better chance of getting callbacks
        • Develop language around the field
        • Need a strategy
        • Many people won’t start strategizing/engaging until they decide they’re done with academic market

Research

  • Approach this as you would any research project
  • Find resources

Q&A

  • MAKE SURE OTHER PEOPLE read your stuff before it send out
    • Careful with discussion of dissertation
  • Hard to write teaching statements
    • Lots of vague, generic, “I engage my students in dialogue…”-like sentences
      • Statements that literally any person who has taught
      • Talk about what you do in the classroom
  • ‘Under Review’ articles on CV?
    • get sense of folks in your field: ask people (faculty, advisor) if it’s a realistic possibility
      • but in POLSC, probably makes sense to put them down: about signaling serious research agenda (Bowman)
      • more convincing if you have published somewhere else before (Furlong)
      • HONESTY
      • Sub-categories
        • ‘Peer Review Publications’
        • ‘Book Reviews’
        • ‘Under Review’
        • MAKE SURE THE SLOPPIEST reader understands
  • BE SURE to research departments ahead of time
    • And individual faculty
  • Before campus visit
    • Department should provide schedule for day(s) will look like
    • Get sense of who people are
  • If you’re doing a full search nation-wide, might as well apply where there’s a plausible fit
  • Make yourself known/make contacts à be in right place at right time
    • Go to conferences
      • Keep in touch with people
  • For non-academic jobs, how do you present yourself as ‘value-add’ – not necessarily just traditional background for job Y, but what can you add that is different/innovative/new, etc.
    • Like often hires like
    • Can you talk jargon of that field
    • Get information from former PhDs who went into that field

 

 

Prof. Bowman (Queens College)

  • Do NOT send out ANYTHING that your advisor hasn’t seen
  • Single most important thing you can do is peer-reviewed publications
    • Take time out of your work to get published
    • Every letter is going to say this person is wonderful
      • Peer review publication can make these claims more credible
      • Even if at lesser journal (especially for first publication)
  • CV
    • For GC folks, make clear you are teaching your own courses
      • Don’t make it so that search committees have to work really hard to realize
  • Cover letter
    • for places that are especially a good fit, make letter somewhat specific to that institution
      • may not be possible if you’re applying for 40 jobs to do that for each one, but do it for the best fits
      • better if thoughtful/substantive
        • okay to do light transparent pandering if you’re careful about it
        • signal that you’re serious and that you’re going to come if offered position, that you are interested
          • don’t be TOO transparently opportunistic
        • Must be written to audience of non-specialists
          • People do not want to struggle through these letters
          • What is dissertation about? What is its contribution? Why is it interesting?
  • Make sure letters of recommendation are good
    • Will be parsed
  • Publications TAKE TIME
    • Never accepted to way you’ve written it
    • Reviewers don’t like to reject things
  • Multiple DIFFERENT pieces you’re putting out there
    • Better to be presenting 2-3-4 different dissertation chapters than the same presentation over and over and over again
    • Signals you can negotiate world of academia
  • Teaching materials increasingly important
    • Make teaching letter thoughtful
      • DON’T BE VAGUE AND GENERIC
      • Have thought about teaching and have ideas
      • Be concrete
      • Not just repertoire of classes but is engaged by teaching
        • Will make selves better teacher and wants to teach
        • Make sure you follow directions of what ad details
        • If you have favorable/glowing teaching observations from TT faculty where you teach, that is GOOD
          • Difficult balance – what do you do if you have 3 paragraphs of glowing recommendations PLUS 1-2 sentences on things you can work on = hard decision
  • If you can demonstrate that you are a good department citizen, that is a good thing
    • Departmental Service section on CV is a good thing if you have it
    • ‘service’ means a LOT of thing: committees in and out of departments
  • Want to signal that if hired, you can hit the ground running
    • Know how to publish, not high maintenance, can teach
  • If you get to on-campus
    • NOT the time to decide if you want the job but time for TRYING TO GET a job offer
      • Go in with attitude you’re open for anything and be enthusiastic
      • Job talk important: know audience/learn ahead of time
  • For theory students
    • Assume no theorists on search committee
      • But they tend to assume everyone has at least recently
      • Particular care to present self and work as interesting to people not in theory
      • Political theory has very specific jargon that is a danger
        • Harder for theory students to de-jargon than other subfields
  • Be flexible, diplomatic,
    • Err on the side of being agreeable

 

 

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