For most people, entering the academic job market feels like putting yourself at the mercy of a faceless, capricious machine. But while there are many things which you cannot control in this convoluted and oftentimes absurd process — the number of available jobs in your field, the state of the economy, the identities of your competitors — there are actually a number of aspects that you can take control over. This site is intended to help you do that.
What this Site is NOT
When I first went on the market last fall, I quickly discovered that there were many hundreds of books, blogs, and websites out there about the academic job search, ranging from brief essays on particular aspects to full-on guides that took you from grad school to the first year of assistant professor life. Some, like the basic preparation guides published by many university career centers, were pithy but vague: “Be prepared to answer questions about both your research and your teaching.” Others, like the infamous The Professor is In, were smart and witty, but quite difficult to navigate, especially if you were looking for something specific.
What I found myself wanting (and not finding) was something in between: not a long list of other people’s articles to wade through, not a vague collection of advice — “Stay calm and maintain eye contact during the interview”; “Make sure your job talk is both specific and general enough” — but an easily navigable, up-to-date resource that digested the most useful information from around the web into a series of step-by-step guides tailored to each part of the process.
And that’s why I created this site. What you’ll find here is a carefully curated collection of tutorials that address, in detail, all the little things that I’ve found actually count: how to create an effective academic website; how to optimally position your computer screen during a Skype interview; what specific questions to ask when you get an invitation for a flyback. You won’t find long-winded, philosophical essays about the importance of doing your homework before an interview; instead, you’ll find a step-by-step tutorial and customizable template for creating a concise, productive “cheat sheet” that will allow you to go into an interview being able to talk about exactly why you’re a great fit for the position.
In that sense, You on the market is not intended to be a comprehensive substitute for the many external resources that exist. Rather, it’s meant to be a companion that you can constantly refer to for useful, specific advice at every step of the way. And I hope that’s what you’ll find it to be.
The Fine Print
You on the market was created by and for job seekers, and you should feel free to share it with anyone you think might find it useful. That said, I’ve spent many, many hours creating, revising and updating these guides, so please make sure to cite or link back to me if you utilize them. I would also love to hear from you if you’ve found this site helpful in any way, or if you have any feedback or suggestions; feel free to contact me.