Even before I went to West Point last month, I knew that strategy could be a Very Important Thing. In my personal opinion, strategy is especially relevant to graduate students because of the many things we have to stay on top of: teaching, reading, writing, research, dissertating, applying to fellowships, and so on. I’ve spent the last two years handling Operation: Dissertation, but it’s also time to implement a new strategy – one that focuses on conducting a job search on the academic job market. (Or, as I like to call it, JobQuest 2010-11.)
While JobQuest 2010-11 and Operation: Dissertation loom over pretty much everything these days, I don’t tend to write about the job search much. I’ve spent some time this month evaluating how appropriate it is to blog about JobQuest 2010-11, and my feeling is that it’s an area that deserves caution. So, for example, I have no intention to give any specifics on here – you won’t see me talk about where I’m applying or how the search is proceeding, except in very general terms (such as this post).
At the same time, I’ve found it very helpful to bounce ideas off of other graduate students and faculty. With that in mind, I thought I would share my organizational strategies for JobQuest 2010-11.
Of course, there are several phases to Jobquest 2010-11. First, the research-and-identify phase, in which I seek out relevant positions. Next is the application phase, in which I prepare and compile all application materials and submit them. The third phase is interviewing and interviewing preparations (or perhaps “lack thereof,” but we’ll see). Beyond that, things get very shady, so I keep it with the basic three for the moment.
For research-and-identify, I’ve compiled a short list of several sites where I can find job listings for my field. (If you know of others, please feel free to comment)
- H-Net Job Guide – http://www.h-net.org/jobs/browse.php
- AHA – http://www.historians.org
- HERCJobs – http://www.hercjobs.org
- Chronicle of Higher Education – http://chronicle.com/section/Jobs/61/
- Inside Higher Ed Jobs – http://www.insidehighered.com/career/seekers/
- HigherEdJobs – http://www.higheredjobs.com/default.cfm
- Organization of American Historians – http://www.oah.org/jobs/
- Academic Job Search Wiki – http://academicjobs.wikia.com/wiki/Academic_Jobs_Wiki
In addition to identifying job openings, however, I’ll also have to keep track of who wants what types of materials, where to send them, deadlines, and other specifics. This means I need a way to keep track of everything.
My approach is Google Docs, because I can create a form I can reuse to populate a spreadsheet with all the information I need as I go through this upcoming cycle.
I like the form approach because it’s a little more fun and streamlined than simply entering all my data into a spreadsheet. At the moment, the form includes these fields:
- Hiring institution
- Open position title
- URL for ad
- Checkboxes for application materials: cover letter, recommendations, writing sample, teaching philosophy statement, and so on (I’ll only check off what I need)
- Other required items (text box to write in additional things they may want)
- Date Sent
- How was it sent? (Insert any confirmation numbers or any pertinent mailing information, if applicable)
- Notes (to put in additional information for myself later)
I think this will do it –basic, but also easy to use and easy for me to keep track of everything.
How have you approached academic job market preparation? I’d love to hear other people’s ideas, or if you think I’m missing anything, please feel free to speak up.
(Because when it comes down to it, this is pretty much the grand experiment.)