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Academic Job Applications: How to do them and Keep Going! Dr. Tracy Bussoli Adam Sandelson.

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Presentation on theme: "Academic Job Applications: How to do them and Keep Going! Dr. Tracy Bussoli Adam Sandelson."— Presentation transcript:

1 Academic Job Applications: How to do them and Keep Going! Dr. Tracy Bussoli Adam Sandelson

2 Today’s Topics Do you have the experience and skills for the job? Assessing a job advertisement. Basic principles for a good application How to keep going. Some job seeking psychology

3 You can complete a ‘good’ academic application if you have developed the appropriate experience/skills/connections during your PhD. Then you have something to write about.

4 In small groups, compile a list of skills and experiences that would be essential for your first academic role after your PhD e.g. a postdoc or a teaching fellowship.

5 What makes you suitable for an academic job? Existing or planned publications Teaching experience Teaching qualification Potential as a developing researcher Sense of where you/your expertise are situated within your subject Transferable experience/knowledge of academic world Experience of conference/journal management

6 Assessing a job advert Why does the job appeal to me? What do I offer that they are asking for? What do I not have that they want? What potential is there for me in this job to enhance and develop my career? What hidden demands and requirements might there be once I am doing the job?

7 Ask yourself… Teaching: What can I teach on their syllabus? What new courses for UGs or PGs can I offer? How do I fit with their culture of teaching my subject? What are other people teaching in the department, and how will that affect me? Am I comfortable teaching things I know nothing about?

8 Ask yourself… Research – open agenda: How do I fit with their research culture? What opportunities for collaboration or support are there for me as a new researcher? Can I add to research groups/create new ones? How can I contribute to conferences and/or publications or establish new ones?

9 Basic principles of a good application Always tailor your application materials to each individual job – CV, letter, statements etc. Always provide evidence of relevant achievements Look objectively at your application materials –How will they look to someone who doesn’t know you? –What is the first thing the reader will see/learn about you? Discuss with supervisor, careers adviser, or other person with academic perspective

10 Job Application package Will include some or all of: CV and/or application form Cover letter/personal statement Abstract of PhD thesis Statement of current and future research, including proposed publications Statement of teaching philosophy, experience and proposed courses

11 Building a Job Application…

12 The right CV for the job No ‘correct’ way to structure it ‘To abstract’, or not ‘to abstract’…? Education or work experience first? Group work experience by ‘relevant’ and ‘other’ For publications, use ‘forthcoming’ or ‘submitted for peer review’ or ‘in preparation’ Awards, honours, professional bodies

13 But always: Include title of your thesis, supervisor(s), proposed submission date (and viva date) Include publications, conferences/seminars, awards Keep layout of dates and information clear Don’t give too much info with each entry Consider the reader’s perspective

14 Examples of Academic CVs… Have a look at the academic CVs provided (all available on-line). What do you notice about them? Comment positives and negatives of each.

15 Principles of a good covering letter Introductory paragraph – refer to job title, where it was advertised ‘My shoes’ – establish my credentials: who am I (a PhD at LSE!), why does this job appeal to me, how does it fit with who I am now? ‘Their shoes’ – seeing myself through the recruiter’s eyes, emphasising key strengths they are looking for Concluding paragraph - include any unavailable interview dates if appropriate

16 Practicals of a good covering letter Make sure you include: –Evidence of teaching experience –Mention courses from their syllabus you could teach at UG1, UG2/3 and PG –Suggest new courses at UG and PG level you could offer –Summary of past and future research plans, especially proposed publications –Demonstrate understanding of key research issues in your area and research dissemination activities –Mention relevant conference or journal activities For application statements (e.g. LSE), make sure you respond to the person spec. headings in full

17 Covering letters with additional statements In this case, letter is a shorter introduction to your teaching and research statements So use the letter to summarise key points from your statements Summarise and string together to show breadth and depth Don’t repeat phraseology – boring to read

18 How much should you write? CV – 2+ pages (models on the CS website) Letter 1-2 pages – shorter if you have statements Statements – 2-4 pages Less can be more! Leave something for interview

19 Describe your existing experience –Courses, class sizes, teaching modes –Training, mentoring –Dissertation supervision Philosophy – general, subject Proposed role in their department –Existing courses to teach –New UG/Masters courses –Show you understand their teaching of the subject How to stand out - Teaching

20 How to stand out - Research Get published in good refereed journals Use conferences to raise your profile Get experience of funding process Understand issues in HE research culture Understand quality assessment process Know the field beyond your own topic Know where your research will go next Develop a second research interest Try to get publishers interested in your book idea

21 Writing a research statement Summarise your current research Explore possible future directions Present and justify your next new research idea Why is it important, what does it add to the field, how does it fit your existing work? Literature review Methodology Outputs including publications, conferences, networks Schedule of work

22 Remember…… Recent research shows that for PhDs currently working in academia, 3 or 4 years after graduating, the most common way they found out about their job was through their professional, work or educational contacts Looking at employer’s websites or job adverts came third or fourth (depending on whether they were in research or teaching roles).

23 Looking for academic jobs –UK + international – US + international – international - US – EU – international – EC joint research centre – US + international Don’t forget your network!

24 Conferences: –Go! –Volunteer to help with organisation –Offer to help edit proceedings –Research speakers, know the personalities, say hello! Research: –Get your own out there –Offer to collaborate –Offer to help with editing of compiled books Look out for non-academic forums for speaking, listening or writing Teaching: –Go beyond your dept: other depts, summer schools, other univs Networking….

25 Barriers to Networking Adam to do something on this?

26 Job seeking psychology

27 Issues Transition Pressure – internal and external Envy and Competition Self esteem Family pressure Historic patterns of thinking and relating

28 Dynamics of work, life... Past relationships Getting a job/ relationship with LSE/ course… Current relationships

29 Underlying dynamics Trying to please others Wanting to be the best Setting yourself impossible targets The family/ historic context for your success

30 Practical approaches Time management skills Set realistic and achievable goals Short term targets, longer term strategies Recognise achievements Talk to others, ask for help and support

31 Getting things done Concentrate on the task, not the outcome

32 Focussing on the task Break down activities into small manageable tasks Remember past successes Recognise you are likely to get a job and have a career! Be methodical and allow –time for breaks and –space to breathe and think

33 Stress Management Skills Regularly switch off - physical activity Self care – sleep, diet, caffeine, alcohol Allow yourself time out without guilt Acknowledge anxiety, don’t deny it! Check if negative thoughts are realistic

34 Thinking errors Discounting the positive Over-generalizing –because I couldn’t get a good job in the past it will certainly happen again All or nothing thinking –Either I’ll get a great job or it will be rubbish and I’ll be a failure! Emotional Reasoning –If I feel it then it must be true

35 Challenging negative thoughts Apply ‘Socratic reasoning’ or imagine this being tested in a Court of Law –Identify the negative thought Eg, I won’t get a job or it will be a rubbish one –Ascertain the evidence For and Against –Ask if you are making a ‘thinking error’ –Propose a more reasonable alternative thought

36 Things to Do

37 Don’t Panic 62% of Social Science PhDs work in HE 3 years after graduating (Vitae, 2010). Successful applications are about a good match, not statistics.

38 Do your research Network and find out as much as possible about relevant academic departments -How did they do in the RAE/REF? -Do they have an internal candidate in mind? -What is behind the job advert?

39 Be flexible and consider alternatives! Conduct rigorous research into different academic institutions to broaden your chances of success Consider a ‘less prestigious’ university to develop your teaching and/or research skills Be willing to relocate Portfolio career e.g. consultancy work in your chosen field, part-time teaching post, part-time editor for academic publication.

40 Get advice and help Use the Careers Service staff and information resources Developing a strategy is essential, as is flexibility and adaptability Get advice to help you think laterally and broaden your options If you are struggling to manage the experience, contact the Counselling Service

41 Where to get help LSE Careers Service, 3rd floor, Tower 3, Information Careers Guidance, CV checking, interview coaching LSE Student Counselling Service, G507 (20 Kingsway) e/ e/

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