Advice for getting jobs inside academia

To supplement the last post, getting jobs outside academia, here is the advice I received on getting jobs inside academia.  These kinds of jobs include not only the teaching (Faculty) jobs, but also research and service positions.

For these opportunities, the number one priority in grad school should be finishing your dissertation or thesis.  You should also publish frequently and attend and present at conferences.  Start locally, such as department or school-wide poster sessions.  Any place to get your work seen is an advantage.

Find and foster the right types of mentors.  Not only long-term mentors, but also seek out short-term mentors as well.

  • Dissertation committee: foster relationships with your committee members
  • Teaching mentor: someone who will write recommendations for your teaching
  • Outside of your school: those you meet at conferences from other universities.  Talk with them, invite them to lunch, and if you publish something related to their work, send them a copy.
  • Other faculty in your department who you trust.  The conversation can start as simple as “I would like another opinion to my advisor, and I’d like to meet and talk about things regularly–I’ll bring questions and only take 15 minutes of your time each ____” (month, week, etc).

Take advantage of teaching opportunities (classes, review sessions, etc), especially if you want to pursue a career teaching

  • Get feedback from students. How are you doing? Do they understand you?
  • Look up unique arenas in which to teach (such as a mentoring program, distinguished teacher series, student lecture series, guest lecturing for a class, community college courses, summer enrichment courses, short courses, tutoring, etc)
  • Any experience will help you develop your teaching philosophy. That is, what you do (and should do) in the classroom, as well as providing specific examples.

Seek out service work.  Any academic career will have a portion devoted to service. This should be in an area that aligns with your interests.

  • Graduate councils, department positions, aiding conference planners, etc.
  • Talk to the department chair and your advisor to get more ideas.
  • Get on leadership with organizations.
  • Take part in the planning and organizing of events.

Take advantage of all professional development opportunities that are available.  These workshops and sessions will at least give you a support network for the job search and application process.

Tenure side-notes:

  • If you want a tenure position, you want publications.  You should tell your advisor, “I would like to publish 1 paper per year, how can I make that possible?”
  • It is hard to take summers off when you first start your academic career, since you are trying to get tenure.  Your schedule will ease up a bit once you meet that milestone.