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Useful Resources for the Academic Job Market

Last week on my personal research website I published a link roundup, “Useful Resources for the Academic Job Market.” I prepared this list for a job market workshop offered to graduate students in my department. The post was well received both at Notheastern and on Twitter, and I thought ProfHacker readers might also find it useful. While tailored to graduate students entering the market for the first time, I suspect these resources will be useful to others braving the market as well. This could be considered a “From the Archives” post, as I link to many of my ProfHacker colleague’s best posts on the job market.

This post was prepared for a workshop aimed at graduate students in Northeastern University’s English Graduate Program who are making (or considering) a run on the job market. As a recent survivor of the market I hope I can offer some insight into its quirks and vicissitudes. To that end—and with the help of several colleagues on Twitter—I’ve compiled a list of useful articles for students embarking on the (admittedly perilous) academic job search.

  • Brian Croxall’s “Preparing Now for Next Year’s Job Market” is pitched as a help for students preparing over the summer. Even with summer now gone, however, the post provides a useful summary of most materials students will need for academic job applications.
  • Thanks to Travis Foster for pointing my attention to William H. Wandless’ practical, detailed, and insightful posts about the job application process: “The Academic Job Market: English Search Advice” Part I, Part II, and Part III.
  • Karen’s post at The Professor is In, The Six Ways You’re Acting Like a Grad Student (And how that’s killing you on the job market)”, is no doubt caustic, but it does point to the challenges grad students face in thinking of themselves—and thus projecting an image of themselves— as colleagues rather than students. Grad school is a very insular experience that can warp students’ perception of themselves, their work, and the larger profession. Karen’s six points can be very helpful for students needing to break out and become professional academics rather than students. Thanks to Patrick Fleming for this recommendation.
  • While perhaps not the most heartening of posts—a frequent reality when discussing finding an academic job—Erin E. Templeton’s “Using the NFL Analogy to Explain the Academic Job Market” does offer an apt analogy that could help students understand and, perhaps, mentally manage the above-mentioned “vicissitudes” of the job market.
  • Whether you think the Academic Jobs Wiki is a force for good or evil, it’s a reality current job seekers must confront. Scott Selisker offers good advice for “Using the Academic Jobs Wiki” and points out “Academic Jobs Wiki Shortcuts” that can make wiki interactions simpler. Over at GradHacker, however, Amy Rubens makes a strong case for avoiding the Academic Jobs Wiki altogether, which is the strategy I tried very hard to follow—though not always successfully—when I was on the market.
  • If you’re on the job market with a partner, Chris Stawski’s “Navigating the Couple Job Search” could prove helpful. I also highly recommend Jonathan Sterne’s “The Two Body Problem”.
  • Dossier services can be very useful for academic job seekers, particularly those applying for many jobs. Fortunately for graduate students in English, the Modern Language Association has partnered with Interfolio to provide free dossier services to its members. George Williams writes about the partnership (and links to several other useful articles about dossier services).
  • I’ll be running another workshop for our students in a few weeks about “Creating and Maintaining a Professional Presence Online.” In that workshop I’ll discuss the benefits and potential pitfalls of maintaining a personal research website, managing professional contacts through social networks such at Facebook and Twitter, and other issues that arise from the fact that every job candidate should expect search committees to Google him or her (at the very least). For now, however, I want to point job seekers to Jentery Sayers’ excellent “Do You Need Your Own Website While On the Job Market?”.
  • And of course, no post about the job market would be complete without pointing students toward #alt-academy. #alt-academy is an excellent guide to pursuing academic careers outside of the professoriat. The #altac community is very active on Twitter, and students interested in #altac jobs should follow the hashtag at http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23altac for job announcements, #altac related articles, and other resources for #altac professionals.
  • More broadly, Jason Mittell recommended this roundup of posts written or curated by Jonathan Sterne about many practical aspects of academic careers. These posts include advice on the job market, transitioning between stages of an academic career, writing the first book, and so on.

Can you can suggest other resources for graduate students braving the job market?. If so, please contribute in the comments.

[Creative Commons licensed photo by Flickr user bpsusf.]

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