Monday, September 15, 2014

Job season round-up

Since the MLA's Job Information List went live last week--and since I apparently have nothing new or interesting to say just now--I thought I'd collect in one handy location my musings and bits of advice from years past:

Why you should stop freaking out already about whether a particular job has an inside candidate.

How to be competitive for a "middle-class job"--that is, the kind of place that values teaching and research about equally. (Somewhat related: ways of parsing the differences among institutions, beyond looking at teaching load.)

What not to sweat about the conference interview.

A peek (or two, or three) into how the job search feels to those inside a hiring department or committee.

And just for fun: why the job list still fascinates and unsettles me, every damn year, whether I'm applying or not.


Looking through the posts I've tagged as "The Academic Job Market," I see they provide less concrete advice than I'd thought. Other bloggers have covered a lot of this ground before (last year, Notorious Ph.D. wrote a series of posts about the component parts of the job search, and the year before, Bardiac did the same)--but if there are any topics my readership would like to see me tackle, leave a note in the comments and I'll see what I can do.

Good luck out there, kids. We're pulling for you.


random grad student said...

I'd be very interested to hear your take on the humanities postdoc--its place, how to get one, how search committees at different institutions view them when you're applying to a tenure-track job.

Among my friend on the market, there seems to be some serious divisions: a lot of people (those, like myself, who apply to everything), are going for them, but a bunch of people (often for family/relationship reasons), have decided not to apply. They'd rather adjunct for a few years while on the job market, to prevent moving a few times. I'm on the other side of the fence: I'd love to spend a year or two in some new and fascinating cities.

It looks to me like the kinds of postdocs out there break down very loosely into three types: the (often Mellon-funded) themed or teaching postdoc that's available at a variety of different institutions; the rare "Society of Fellows" bird, usually at an Ivy League, and, even more rarely, the UK JRF, which I used to assume only went to Brits until a friend got one last year.

Any insight you have on how to be competitive for these, and how search committees think about them, would be helpful!

Flavia said...


Ooh, that's a good one--and something that I admit I haven't thought about in a long time (though that won't stop me from giving advice!). I'll tackle this issue soon, with what little I do know and what I've seen, and see whether my readers can't pitch in more knowledgeably. Thanks!