Steps You Can Take

Participate in Career Center Workshops on Applying for Academic Positions

Each fall the Career Center offers a series of excellent workshops on the academic job search. Ph.D. Counselors are also available for individual consultations. See the Career Center’s web pages devoted to doctoral students and postdocs for resources to guide you in all steps in the academic job search, from searching for positions and preparing materials to interviewing and negotiating an offer.

Participate in Summer Institute for Preparing Future Faculty

The Graduate Division’s six-week Summer Institute for Preparing Future Faculty provides information about how universities and colleges of different kinds are organized and what to expect from employment in these different settings, allowing you to navigate the academic profession, covering the norms of academic publishing, teaching expectations, and paths to tenure. The Institute features weekly panels of faculty from community colleges, liberal arts colleges, master’s granting universities, and research universities and elective courses on academic writing and developing a teaching portfolio.

Develop a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

As the Berkeley Career Center notes, “Constructing an effective CV is an iterative process.” It is a useful exercise to develop multiple types of CVs especially when applying to different types of colleges and universities.  Be sure, as well, to update and reorganize them as necessary—it is much easier to keep a CV updated as you go than to work backward at a later date. Following disciplinary conventions in presenting your accomplishments on your CV is essential. We recommend having it reviewed by your primary adviser.

See “Academic Job Search: CV,” University of California, Berkeley, Career Center.

Develop Cover Letters for Job Applications

The cover letter for a job application is a professional genre; as such, it will necessarily differ in form and content across fields and professions. Research what different cover letters look like for your field: your department may retain a file of successful cover letters from previous students, or you may be able to consult more advanced students to track down examples. Once you have compiled a collection of sample letters, develop different versions of your own for the types of academic positions you are considering.

For advice on writing an academic cover letter, see “Academic Job Search—Cover Letter,” University of California, Berkeley, Career Center. See “The Basics of Cover Letter Writing,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2000); “How to Write Appealing Cover Letters,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2000); and “What You Don’t Know About Cover Letters,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2002).

Write a Teaching Statement

Applications for academic positions often ask candidates to submit a teaching statement or philosophy that reflects their pedagogical experience and philosophy within their particular discipline. To get started with writing a statement of teaching philosophy, consider attending the GSI Teaching & Resource Center’s workshop on Developing a Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Teaching Portfolio. See workshop slides and resources in the Center’s online library.

Other resources from The Chronicle of Higher Education that may be helpful to you in writing a teaching statement include:

Develop and Practice Your Job Talk

Before presenting your research in an on-campus interview, you should practice in front of multiple audiences, in a timed setting, and get feedback on the content and delivery of your talk. Many departments create opportunities for graduate students to give practice job talks in a departmental seminar series or in the context of research group meetings. Ask the audience to anticipate and pose questions that may also be asked in the actual on-campus rendition of the talk. Ask for feedback on various aspects of your delivery: how clear it was, whether you spoke quickly or slowly, if you engaged the audience, etc.

For advice on how to prepare an academic job talk, see How to Deliver a Halfway-Decent Job Talk,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2014); “Talking the Good Talk,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2012); “Giving a Job Talk in the Sciences,” Chronicle of Higher Education (2001);

Undertake the Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education

The Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education is designed to help you develop your classroom skills, to prepare for teaching as a future faculty member, and to professionally document your work as a teacher. The activities that are part of the certificate program include general and discipline-specific teaching skills such as developing a teaching portfolio, creating course syllabi, cultivating strategies for efficient and effective grading, and synthesizing and presenting feedback from student evaluations of your teaching.

Participate on an Academic Search Committee

Some departments include a graduate student on search committees for academic positions. Take advantage of such opportunities as it will provide you with first-hand experience and an understanding of the academic job search from the perspective of a hiring committee. In addition to being invaluable for your own job search, serving on a search committee will prepare you for responsibilities you will assume as a future faculty member. Should you not be able to participate on a search committee, be sure to attend job talks of candidates your department is considering and review candidate materials such as CVs and teaching statements that your department may make available.