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The Job Market

The Job Market

Being on the job market was one of the most stressful times of my life. It’s a months-long process that is the culmination of years of work; definitely not for the weak of heart. I noticed there is a vast amount of information and advice about the job market on the Internet. This page will pull together relevant articles and helpful hints I found useful. I’ll gradually add to this page as time goes on, but feel free to email me to suggest any additions.

Note: Reading all this advice at once can be incredibly intimidating and overwhelming. Remember to take it one step at a time and that you don’t have to follow every single piece of advice out there.

General Advice

Chronicle of Education’s ‘On Hiring’ Blog – A series of blog posts that explores the academic job market.

‘Get a Job, Ken’ saga – A chemistry professor shares his experience on the job market, from start to finish.

The Application Process

Avoid Obvious Mistakes – Five tips to sorting through various position announcements and setting yourself up for success.  

Dr. Karen’s Rules of the Academic CV – A section-by-section explanation of what should appear on your academic CV, including formatting tips. I would emphasize that these are more like suggestions rather than rules.

How to Write Appealing Cover Letters – A conversation between two experts who discuss how to approach writing a good cover letter.

How to Make Your Application Stand Out – It turns out that amongst the biggest hurdles in scoring an interview: making sure your application arrives on time, making sure the application is complete, and meeting basic qualifications.

Navigating the Political Science Job Market in Treacherous Times – A useful step-by-step process of the market in political science. There’s special attention focused on the preparation needed to be successful on the market.

Strategies of the Successful Job Candidate – Written by a now associate professor of political science, this is a first-person account of an ABD’s success on the market in 2000.

Campus Visits

List of Questions for the Job Market – Political science interviews can be tough, but I’ve been cultivating a list of questions that you can check out for your own use.

The Academic Job Interview Revisited – An overview of the entire campus visit, including your goals, and thinking of relevant questions and answers.

The Campus Visit – An example itinerary of a two-day interview from the perspective of a faculty member on the search committee. Of note, during meals, never order food that can easily fall apart.

Campus Visit: Tips and Tricks – A comprehensive list of helpful things to remember on your interview, including to remember to pack important things such as interview clothes in your carry on, in case the airline loses your luggage.

Cars, Dinners, Bathroom Breaks, and Other Awkward Moments – A short blog post that reminds you to take these small moments into consideration, as you’re being interviewed every second of the campus visit.

Did I Say That Out Loud? – An increasing trend is for campuses to schedule a pre-telephone or Skype interview. While this advice mainly talks you through the scenario, the key is preparation.

How to Play Left Field at Job Interviews – Six strategies to deal with questions that seem inappropriate, unethical, and yes, even illegal. As this article recounts, it does happen, so be prepared.

Interview Meals – Simple hints and strategies about how to approach meals with faculty during your campus interview.

Interviewing for a Job at a Community College – While this article gives an overview of what to expect at a community college interview, there are some good tips here about how to prepare when interviewing for a teaching position.

Trial by Fire: Surviving the Job Talk Q&A – For many, the job talk Q&A can be ride or die. This article offers a comprehensive strategy for one of the most difficult portions of the campus visit.

Uncle Wuffle’s Advice on Job Talks – 25 points about how to prepare and what to expect in job talks for political science positions.

Preparing for your Interview – Although this advice applies specifically to community colleges, this essay provides helpful advice about what to do before you arrive on campus.

Cautionary Tales

On the Job Hunt, Trust No One – A heartbreaking, cautionary account of how an inside candidate loses a position to a close friend from graduate school.

The Ten Commandments of Going on the Market as ABD – I went on the market as ABD, and probably only satisfied six of the listed criteria. Some good advice nonetheless, especially about committing to your project and how you carry yourself.

You Aren’t the Exception – An essay about why graduate students fall into a trap of ignoring warnings about the perils of the market and why it’s important to be more than exceptional.

Status of the Market

Job Market and Placement in Political Science: 2009-2010 – This data is compiled from APSA data on the market. This is more detailed than the 2001-2002 report.

Placement Report: Political Science Job Market in 2001-2002 – An outdated, but informative article about the status of the market.

The Political Science Job Market and Placement, 1999-2001 – Probably the least informative of the three articles here and the most outdated.

Some statistics about the political science job market:

  • In 2002, there were 1,023 people who were on the market.
  • Of these 1,023 candidates, 63% had their PhD in hand, 37% were ABD.
  • 83% of PhDs, 66% of ABDs were successful in finding a job.
  • 37% of the placement class in this year were women, 63% were men.
  • 88% of the placement class identified as white, 12% identified as minorities.
  • 42% of the placement class had been on the market for more than one year.
  • 31% of the placements in this class were in temporary positions.
  • In 2010, there were 944 people on the market.
  • Of these 944 candidates, 91% had their PhD in hand, 9% were ABD.
  • 94% of PhDs, 66% of ABDs were successful in finding a job.
  • 39% of the placement class in this year were women, 61% were men.
  • 66% of the placement class identified as white, 22% identified as minorities.
  • 29% of the placement class had been on the market for more than one year.
  • 21% of the placements in this class were in temporary positions.