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Your CV This Week: Look at Job Listings

October 3, 2012

“But I’m not on the job market yet. Why should I look at job listings?”

First, it’s helpful to see that there are indeed jobs available. Yes, the predictions sound dire. Yes, the market seems slow. Yes, there are a lot of candidates for these positions. However, there are still jobs listed. Most likely, there will still be jobs listed when you are ready to start looking.

Second, you get a good sense of how job ads are worded and what employers are looking for. Some jobs are very specific. Some are quite general.

Is a teaching load specified? A 4/4 load (teaching four courses each semester) is a heavier teaching load; an employer who lists this will probably not expect you to do (as much) research and publishing. A 2/2 load allows time for research, usually a more desirable position (and therefore, more competitive).

Don’t worry about whether your skills exactly fit the jobs you are viewing now if you aren’t ready to apply. Just get a sense of what job ads are asking for.

Finally, look at the documents required for job applications. Most of them will require, at the very least, a CV, cover letter, statement of teaching philosophy, and letters of recommendation. These things take time. Start thinking about them now, or at least well in advance of the time you plan to be on the job market. We’ll talk about some of these documents in the weeks to come.

Probably the best roundup of links out there about the academic job market (and what to do) is found here, compiled by Profhacker Ryan Cordell. This link roundup (and the Profhacker blog itself) is a fantastic resource.

Don’t overwhelm yourself, though. Most of us still have classes to teach, research to do, papers to write.  If you can only do one thing this week, look at some job ads.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is a great place to view job ads, and you do not have to be a subscriber to view their job listings (although, as a student, you can get behind any Chronicle paywall through the library).

-Sara Keeth

Thanks to my colleague Kyle Simmons for the idea behind this week’s post.


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