For those of you planning to interview at ASA, here is some interesting advice in the Chronicle of Higher Ed: http://chronicle.com/jobs/news/2008/05/2008052301c/careers.html-Mel
After serving on my department's search committee often, let me suggest some common and devastating errors to avoid when you apply.1. Be certain that all your letters of recommendation have been sent. We delay looking at applications until all or most letters have arrived. If your college uses a centralized reference mailing service, be aware that the campus may not send out any of your letters until all have been given to the service. It's for their clerical convenience but will hurt your chances.2. When writing your cover letter, be sure that you correctly customize each letter for the specific university. The committee laughs when an applicant states how much they want to serve the students of College X, and to live in city X, when the letter has gone to college and town Y. Sloppy cut and pastes make you seem careless or disinterested in our job.3. Get applications in as soon as you can. The published deadlines given are advisory, but committees usually start going over files as soon as committees are formed. We want to contact the best candidates and arrange visits expeditiously. Early applicants also seem more eager and well-organized.4. Get to know the staff person (administrative assistant, secretary, etc.) who is responsible for compiling and maintaining applicant files. He/she can tell you when your file is complete, or is missing anything, and usually can at least hint about the stage and progress of the search.5. When you apply, you'll start receiving administrative documents sent by the university or college to all applicants: employment questionnaires, affirmative action/diversity forms, etc. Complete and return these, rather than waiting to see if you get an invitation. For legal protections, more institutions are refusing to invite candidates until all legal documents are on file.6. Study the institution, not just for your visit but already for your letter and possible phone screening interview. We want to assess your level of interest, so we're impressed if you know about our faculty and general academic facts, such as semester or quarter schedule, teaching load, and major degrees offered. Find out who's on the search committee so that you can engage intellectually with their interests and avoid offending with your remarks. I'll post more tips later on when we get closer to the main search cycle. Many departments are hearing now about positions allocated for 2008-2009 searches. Our searches attract many highly qualified and desirable applicants, any of whom would probably have made an excellent colleague. Candidates are good at presenting their strengths. The final choice is usually decided by elimination of others through errors, some flaw or blunder that mars your impression and generates enough opposition or doubt to make the department's choice easier.
Does anyone know a good way to tell a job's teaching load (besides scouring past course offerings and matching them to professors)?
What's the likelihood that depts that have a preference for some area of specialization but are accepting applications for all areas will actually consider other areas? I'm not looking for hard numbers so much as wondering if it's a waste of time to apply if I don't fall under the preferred specialization. Isn't the field saturated enough that if they have a preference, they'll probably be able to find enough applicants in that area?
1:03, Speaking as someone who doesn't really know, my understanding is that departments try to pick the "best" candidate using a variety of criteria. One of those would be the area of specialization, but there are the obvious other ones. Given a choice between two otherwise identical candidates, one would assume that the department would pick the candidate with the area of specialization. However, if one candidate had more publications/glowing recommendation letters/teaching statement/whatever else the department is looking for, I would assume they would not necessarily pick based on area of specialization, but pick the "best" candidate on other criteria.So, as far as I know: no, area of specialization should not be a strict limiting factor in where you apply.
Re: May 31, 2008 9:00 AMThank you, this is really helpful. About getting to know the search committee members -- how can you do this at the early stages (ie phone interviews) when the info isn't necessarily made public? Often the chair of the committee is not even listed in ads (with materials going to an admin person). Is it proper to call the admin office and ask this info?
1:03,The degree to which specialization matters also depends on the size of the department. Smaller departments need to be able to teach a broad range of courses with few professors, so if you are a star but don't offer anything new, that may reduce your chances. Larger departments have more flexibility.~Benny
In response to several posted questions,1. A good way to find out teaching load and also length and timing of classes is to consult the department's schedule of classes, often posted online. You can see if Prof. X and Y each teach two 100-minute classes per semester.2. Apply for every position, regardless of specialization, because new positions sometimes suddenly become available. And more often, the tie-breaker between two top applicants will be that one can also meet some other departmental teaching need (which in fact might be really your primary field). You get the job by attracting a coalition of faculty and committee members to support you for different reasons. You can also boost your chances by making clear that you like to do less popular tasks (love to teach stat, have great web-building skills, etc.), attracting those who may vote more for convenience than for brilliance.3. You can usually find out who's on the search committee from the staffer who processes applications, or ask the person who calls you to issue the invitation.
Is anyone planning on using letters of rec. from people not on your dissertation committee? For example, faculty who have commented on chapters of your dissertation for the purposes of journal publication. Is there a problem I am not seeing with using such a resource? Thanks.
I have 3 letters from committee members and a 4th letter from a non-committee person with whom I have co-authored several papers.I think it depends on the nature of your relationship with the people who write you letters. If your non-committee person has only offered you feedback on papers, then it might seem strange to use that person instead of a committee member who has presumably done the same. However, if you have done a lot of work with a non-committee member such as co-authoring papers or working on grants, then it would make more sense.
Is it anyone here who knows what the chances are for a person with a Ph.D. from northern Europe to get a tenure-track position in the U.S.? I understand that it is not an easy question to answer in a few lines, but maybe someone here have an idea?Some job market advice for an "outsider" such as me?-Alma
Alma, you PhD or equivalent is also from N. Europe? Or you rceived your PhD diploma here, in the US?
My Ph.D. diploma is from northern Europe.-Alma
well, there are plenty of tenured and tenure-stream faculty from northern europe in US universities... social and professional networking notwithstanding, your job prospects will "generally" boil down to the same criteria as anyone else: the quality of your work, the perceived strength of your training, and your promise as a scholar and colleague. "nothern europe" is no more an advantage or disadvantage than hailing from a university in the "northeastern US."
I would like to pose the opposite question: what are a US PhD's chances of getting a job as a prof in Europe?
"[W]hat are a US PhD's chances of getting a job as a prof in Europe?"I can't speak for the whole Europe, but for northern Europe, I guess that there a few interested to get a position because of the language. (In some of the countries - Sweden and Norway, I believe - you should be able to use the local language within a certain time limit.)However, people that get a PhD in the U.S. and are from northern Europe have no problems to get a job when they return. At least what I know.Of course, it also depends from which university you have your PhD. But, again, to the extent I know, there are not many persons with a PhD from the U.S. who apply for positions in northern Europe.-Alma
To go back to a previous piece of advice here, it really isn't necessarily very informative to check the course schedule to find out about standard teaching load. First, new people may be being brought in at a different load than those who have been in the department for some time. Second, some faculty members will have grants and will be buying out of their courses. Third, those with administrative duties, transitional course reductions, or personal issues may be teaching less than the standard in any given semester. The course schedule can only answer questions like, "Does anyone ever teach 3, 4 classes in a semester?" You can't use it to figure out the exact teaching load that the new hire will have.
What are suggested lengths for the following documents:Cover letterResearch statementTeaching statementCombined research & teaching statementAlso, when a department asks for "evidence of outstanding teaching", what do they want you to send?Thank you!!
Re: "What are suggested lengths for the following documents?"I can only speak from my personal experience.Cover letter: 1.5-2 pgs.Research statement: If required as a statement separate from the cover letter, 1 pg.Teaching statement: If required as a statement separate from the cover letter, 1 pg.Combined research & teaching statement: If required as a statement separate from the cover letter, 1 pg.I described my research and teaching interests as precisely as possible. (I managed to land a good job at a R1--FWIW.)Re: "Also, when a department asks for 'evidence of outstanding teaching', what do they want you to send?"The search committee (SC) likely wants you to send copies of your teaching evaluation scores. In your CV, you should be sure to include any teaching awards you've received and highlight this in your cover letter. You can also include copies of letters that faculty teaching supervisors have written about pedagogy and teaching effectiveness. There are probably other items you may be able to send. I advise you to choose carefully which materials you send.Good luck!!
I have a question for people on search committees. My spouse and I are going together on the job market. If we apply to, say, a place that is advertising a position in my field and another one in my spouse's field, and we both want to apply, should we do a joint application and say in the cover letter that we're applying as a couple? Or should we send separate applications and let the search committee know later? In this case, what if only one of us gets selected, can they still consider a spousal hire? How does the spousal hire process work, when should we let the search committee know?
Re: "two-body problem" Some people will advise you to disclose you are interested in a partner hire ONLY after one of you has an offer in hand. SCs may be disinclined to go near a partner-hire issue because of the difficulties it poses (i.e. mortgaging/losing a tenure line, hiring someone whose credentials aren't as stellar as those of the partner, bargaining hard to keep two people satisfied, etc.).Others will advise you to disclose your interest in a partner-hire earlier (i.e. at the interview stage) because institutions with favorable partner-hire policies can initiate a partner hire more quickly.I would advise you not to disclose anything that an SC could use to place your application at the bottom of the pile. (A joint application would probably look "funny" to SCs.) If I were in your shoes, I would disclose the partner-hire issue if and when I had an offer in hand. Then, you'd be in a position to negotiate, but you should remember that some institutions will never entertain partner hires. Partner-hire timelines and policies do vary by school. You should inquire discreetly about these policies once you have an interview (i.e. on the CHE Forum).
along those lines, do departments ever have the capacity to assist with partner employment in non-faculty positions?
Re: July 7, 2008 8:36 AMThank you for info on these materials, it's really helpful. If you don't mind (or anyone else who has thoughts), a follow-up question: Is the cover letter mostly a condensed version of the teaching/research statements, plus info on your fit with the school, etc. I'm not clear on how much overlap there can be between what's in yr letter and what's in statements -- so I guess another way to ask the question, are the statements just expanded versions of what you touch on in your letter?Thank you!
Re: "do departments ever have the capacity to assist with partner employment in non-faculty positions?'Yes, at some schools, departments can help finding jobs for staff. However, this is not the case at my school. Faculty at my institution have no ability to influence staff hiring decisions in other units (i.e. support positions at the physical plant or library, etc.) We almost lost a recruit because the school couldn't find a job for the recruit's partner.
Re: what a cover letter meansAgain, this is just from my experience, but I was very careful not to duplicate what I wrote in a cover letter and any supporting documents, including teaching and research statements. SC members don't want to read the same information. However, one can be strategic about crafting a cover letter that sets up the teaching and/or research statement.FWIW, my research statement consisted of a description of my future research program and how my dissertation fed into it. I did my best to create a teaching statement that did not seem "canned"--it didn't rehearse pedagogical jargon. I opened with a vignette from a class and showed how it manifested my teaching philosophy.If the job ad didn't ask for a separate teaching and/or research statement, I put shortened summaries of each into the cover letter.
I agree that a joint application probably isn't a good idea. But in the scenario when there are two positions--in your subfields--I would mention in the letter that your spouse is applying for the other job. Then have your advisor tell someone on the SC as well. At my small research school, we'd take a careful look at such applicants because we know they are more likely to come if we give them joint offers and more likely to stay, too.
There was some discussion before about what a department can do as far as finding a job for a spouse. Does this extend educational access?For example, I get hired and I want my wife admitted to an MA program at the university with funding. Is this possible?Thanks.
I don't think you have much chance of "getting your wife admitted" but some colleges and universities offer tuition assistance as part of their benefits package for all employees. You can usually find this information on the school's website. If your partner is planning to attend graduate school at wherever you find employment, he/she would need to apply for admission there just like anyone else.
I asked for help finding my spouse a job during negotiations, and they said they couldn't guarantee anything. But, they have been really helpful the past few weeks with helping hu establish contacts in the community.Even if they don't promise anything, they still have a vested interest in your happiness and family stability.
regarding the ES interviews at ASA, if you "wink" at a school, how likely are they to schedule an interview? are these interviews reserved only for candidates they are really excited about, or do they generally interview those who express interest because they have nothing to lose? i expressed interest in a number of schools a week ago, and so far have not received any response. i've heard many don't respond until just prior to the conference, but i want to be sure i get at least a few interviews so i'm considering expressing interest more broadly. just don't want to be besieged by too many interviews at the last minute, so i'm trying to gauge the probability of interviews manifesting.
I have expressed interest to 7 schools and have 3 interviews scheduled. All three who scheduled did so within 2-3 of my request.
Re: negotiating admission of partner to academic partnerI have not encountered this request from a job candidate before, though as an SC member, I have seen candidates request employment (faculty and staff) assistance for their partners. I would advise you to be very cautious and diplomatic about negotiating your partner's academic admission and funding (if you choose to engage in such negotiating), especially if your partner applied to the same academic unit with which you interviewed. This could create a potentially messy situation.
I expressed interest in 3 schools, and 2 scheduled an appointment. Both took a while to do so, though. I think it just depends on what the school is looking for. Don't put too much stock in it, though--I think sometimes these schools try to pick "borderline" candidates, rather than going with the people they know they are interested in.
I expressed interest in 5 and received 2 interviews, BUT three other schools invited me for interviews without any expressed interest (unsolicited interviews). I'm trying to read that as a positive thing, but who knows. You can never tell what the representatives are thinking.
This may be a naive question, but how did you guys find out which schools will scan candidates at ASA before expressing interest? Also, are these schools all at the employment service or some are just scheduling informal meetings?
Re: July 20, 2008 2:40 PMI think everyone is referring to interviews arranged through the ASA employment service. You pay a fee for this, and then you can log on to the service through the ASA website. Schools that are doing formal interviews at ASA are listed, and you can "click" on them to express interest. This is separate from informal interviews arranged directly with schools.
2:02, thanks for the explanation!
I'm not doing the ASA employment thing- I'm not fully on the job market (I have funding for another year after this year, but can finish my diss this year if necessary and forfeit that funding), and am applying to 2-5 dream jobs this year. I set up an informal meeting at ASA with a faculty member at one of those dream jobs that is hiring this year in my subfield...any ideas on what I should come prepared to talk about? My dissertation obviously, but what else? Should I bring copies of syllabuses or my CV to give to this guy (I have no idea if he is on the search committee, but he is a friend of my adviser).
Re: July 23, 2008 9:23 AMI have exactly the same question. I will meet the department chair of one of my dream jobs at ASA and I already sent them my CV. Anything else I should bring? What kind of questions shall I prepare for besides talking about my dissertation? Any advice would be appreciated!
I would suggest bringing copies of your CV. I don't know whether a syllabus would be useful for an interview with someone from a college, but it probably wouldn't be necessary for an R1.They might ask you about other things on your CV (papers, or just something that they see that is unique). They could also ask what you would be interested in teaching, or what kind of research you are interested in doing in the future. These things vary, though, so don't spend too much time worrying. Just look through the department website, and have a sense of how you might fit in, and what you can offer. Also, have questions ready to ask them.
Even if you've already sent a CV, be sure to bring one. If they ask, you want to be sure to have one (experience talking).
You should be able to describe your position within the field of sociology. What I mean is, there is a difference between saying "My dissertation research is about..." and "I study...". While you will give the 2-minute dissertation talk, you also want to be able to say in a single sentence what your research is about in a broad sense. Such as, "I examine how the intersection of race and gender influence global inequalities" (I don't think that means anything, but you get the idea...)Be sure and have some questions to ask. If possible ask questions specific to the department, especially if this is a dream job position.You can ask about teaching load, any affiliated research institutes or centers, new faculty mentoring programs, etc. I would also suggest having something to ask about the faculty member's work. Sure you are there to talk about a job, but it lets them know that you are familiar with the department if you can ask something about a recent article or on-going research project. When you answer the same questions over and over about how many classes you teach, it is really nice to be able to answer a question about your research!Finally, be prepared to talk about your future research plans. You should be able to describe how your current work fits in with a larger planned research agenda. What would you like to be studying 5 years from now? If you were given a large grant, what would you use it for? How will you move past your dissertation?
Any tips on what to wear to ASA interviews? (For women?). It seems a little warm for a blazer...
FWIW - Not being selected for an ASA ES interview is NOT a sign of disinterest. I used to think it was when I was on the market, but now having served on seneral searches I can see that it may have to do with schdule conflicts, the timing of the requests recieved, or may even be random -- say a dept. gets 115 solicitations, thinks 20 are promising and only has 10 slots to meet folks. I know we were far too busy to do any kind of rank ordering of the promising folks and just sort of picked haphazardly from the "potentials."So, if you don't get a "date" and think the job sounds interesting -- APPLY.
Re: July 25, 2008 11:34 AMThanks! That is very nice to hear. I, for one, had been having thoughts along the lines of, "If I can't even get a mini interview, what shot do I have at the job?"
Hey 11:34 - I so wouldn't worry about your ability to score a "mini-interview" as a reflection of your success on the job market. I was *never* asked for an interview at the job service but had multiple "real" interviews and job offers during my time on the job market. I eventually got a job at a school that did interview people through the ASA employment service, and I didn't even attend the conference that year.-Mel
When ya'll fly to interviews, how do you take along your good interview clothing (suit, etc.?). I don't want to check luggage (lost luggage and making whoever picks me up wait for me), but I'm also hesitant to shove a nice pants/jacket in a carry-on mini-suitcase. And, while I want to be dressed nicely for arrival, I don't want to wear my BEST outfit on the flight in case I spill my complimentary 1/4 can of apple juice on it. Thoughts?
I always iron my clothes after I arrive in the hotel, unless I'm going straight to the interview, which usually doesn't happen. If you're afraid the place where they put you won't have an iron you can take a travel iron with you (that's what I do, doesn't take much space)
It is summer time and do we really have to put on a suit? I will probably just bring a few nice dress shirts to ASA. At most I will put on a tie. Anyone share my dressing plan?
I will wear a suit to interviews, or at least a blazer and dress pants. Sure being comfortable is nice, but the job market is competitive (200+ applications for most jobs) so anything you can do to improve your chances is good. Given that it will not hurt you to dress the part, why not?
At the ASAs I am going with a shirt, tie, and a winning smile.
And pants, we hope. :)
yeah I'll have to make a mental note about the pants. Thanks. ;)
Pants? We don't need no stinkin' pants...
I don't plan on wearing a full suit either (and no tie, since I'm female). I think you should wear what you feel comfortable in--not physically comfortable, but something that makes you feel confident. I'm not sure that a suit makes that great of an impression, if you look like you have never put one on in your life! But if you do feel at home in a suit, then by all means...
With regard to suit: I've also heard from professors in my department that a suit can be a disadvantage, as suits are often associated with wealthy folks, high finance, big business, privilege, and the like. And, as sociologists, those are things that we typically don't want to associate ourselves with. So, the advice I received was that if you're wearing a suit, make sure it's not a top-end suit that people will recognize as pricey. This would be particularly true at a place known for a strong Marxist tradition.
If a job ad indicates that the position is for an assistant/associate prof, can we assume that the assistant prof is really for an ADVANCED assistant prof, rather than an ABD or recent grad?
advice: don't assume anything, and especially don't allow your own assumptions eliminate you from consideration. the bottom line is that departments are looking for the best candidate for their department, and the characteristics of that candidate are a product of the changing fancy of the committee as the search progresses. committees work in mysterious ways! if you fall within the guidelines of the search, go for it.
How did everyone's ASAs go? I only had 2 interviews (decided only to interview with places I really really wanted a job at)...one went terribly (the guy basically told me that most people in their department hate quant people, which I am) but the second went great! (My interviewer did some research similar to mine, which we got to chatting about, and the job sounds like a perfect fit). Any suggestions for how to word thank you notes to people who interviewed you?
I did 5 interviews. One went badly - the guy told me that people in his department generally don't like graduates from R1 schools. All the others went well. I learned a lot about the schools and had some enjoyable meetings. It was totally not stressful.I would keep it brief and just thank them for meeting you. If you know 100% for sure you will apply, you can mention that.
I also only had two interviews. The first one was okay - the interviewer was totally outside my field so I had a hard time making my work sound interesting to him. But he gave me a very good introduction of their department. The second one felt much better, maybe because the interviewer was more interested in my project, or maybe because I was more relaxed and confident after the first meeting. It was more like a scholarly discussion rather than a job interview. The downside of it is that I didn't have the chance to know as much about their department as the first one.
One of my good friends was an interviewer in the ASA employment service; he said that a couple candidates killed their (once good) chances at the job, while a couple others helped themselves. Most of the rest did not really change their status (i.e., they looked OK & didn't move up or down). He & his interviewing partner kept pretty detailed notes.Just one school, but it challenges the notion that the interviews are meaningless.
I had two at ASA. One was non-academic, more of a recruiting pitch really. The other was academic, a job I want, and I wished I had had a little practice ahead of it. On the plus side, all three interviewers, work in the subfield they were recruiting for, so the conversation was interesting and on-target. The downside of within-sub-field conversations is they don't project accessibility for undergrad teaching. Tough balancing act. Anyway, it really seemed like a short prelude to the start of the real process: the application. No one took notes other than me.
Some of the application deadlines are coming up soon. My question is what to send for writing samples. I graduated a year ago and now have several articles out. So for those of you who have been on search committee or are already faculty members, should I send any dissertation chapters, or just the published articles (which draw heavily on my dissertation)?
Re: writing samples - The advice I got from my advisor is to send everything you published plus at least one dissertation chapter.
Re: writing samplesMy advisor suggested that I send only those samples that are representative of my work. If you have papers that cross many subfields, you may want to consider carefully which papers you should send. There's nothing worse than confusing SC members with papers that prevent them from forming a coherent image of you as a particular type of scholar.
Someone wrote last week after the ASAs that there friend interviewed folks for jobs. Any chance you can tell us (without naming the school of course) what kinds of mistakes were made by interviewees at the conference according to your friend.
I interviewed at ASA and had one interview that went badly after I was asked why I wanted to work somewhere and I said (without thinking, obviously), "I love the weather there!"Not the best way to respond to that question...
I actually have a situation and I would be excited if anyone had advice for me. I will be finishing my dissertation this year, but I am restricted by my spouse's career. She needs to do medical school payback in an underserved area (national health service corps), and it is quite likely we will be somewhere for four years that would not have a tenure-track opening for which I could even apply.Will this hurt me down the road when I am looking for tenure-track jobs? What do I need to do to stay competitive? Most importantly, if there is a university in or near the town we go to then what sort of strategies should I use to gain some employment from that school (eg. as an instructor)? What are some faux pas I need to avoid if I try to do so?
RE: 8/10/08 2:14I wouldn't delay your search for a tt position unless you're only interested in working in a big city. Would you or your spouse consider commuting? There may be positions in places that are commuting distance from a medically under-served area. Don't automatically rule out that there's a way to combine both of your employment needs.If you do end up in "limbo," the most important thing you can do is to keep active in the discipline. Be sure that you publish regularly and that you can participate in conferences in your field. Maybe volunteer in a professional organization so that you have some wider visibility.Making a different kind of transition back into academia a few years ago, I found that our field can be profoundly normative in placing people. So if you do try to transition to tt job after being "away" you will need to explain the time lag in your application.Best of luck!
9:41--In a few cases, the interviewers discovered that the candidates weren't actually matched substantively, so they didn't actually do anything wrong per se. However, a couple candidates did make the mistake of coming off as cocky, revealing ignorance/disinterest in the school, or were presumptuous in their name-dropping.
What is the suggested content to include in a teaching portfolio? Also, any suggestions for the length of the entire portfolio? Thank you!
From what I've heard (and I could be wrong), a teaching portfolio should include: 1. A 1-2 page teaching statement/ teaching philosophy of some kind2. Teaching evaluations from all the courses you have taught3. Syllabi from the courses you have taught4. Sample assignments, exams, and/or in-class exercises5. Possibly samples of student's work (may be A papers, or an example of what is an A, B or C paper)I'm a little unclear on how much should be included for #'s 4 and 5. Anyone else want to chime in?
I just printed out the entire package of my application for my advisors to write letters, and it turns out to be almost 200 pages (with 4 writing samples). I even had trouble putting the papers into one envelope... Can't imagine what it would be like if I print out 20+ packages at the same time! And then I'll have to mail them...Does anyone have an idea whether it is appropriate to print writing samples as 2-sided pages? This is the only way I can think of to reduce the amount of paper...
I suspect two-sided pages are fine. Why are you including four writing samples? Did any place ask for that many? It looks like most places only ask for one or two, and some ask for three. I doubt a committee will read four papers unless they specifically requested it.
I've been getting a lot of conflicting advice about the appropriate length of a cover letter, ranging from "no more than one page" to "minimum of three pages." For schools that don't request separate statements of research or teaching interests, how long is your cover letter?
12:05: I have two cover letters (1 research school, 1 teaching school) and both are 6-8 paragraphs, 2 single spaced pages. Sounds somewhere in between what you have heard.
My cover letter is 1.5 pages. I originally had a 3-page letter and was universally told to cut it down. The cover letter should highlight anything especially unique in your cv ("I have 17 ASR publications in the past three weeks...") but otherwise not duplicate information available on the cv. As for writing samples I have been told to send 2 unless they ask for a specific number. It somewhat unlikely that the committee members will read more than 2 articles. If they want to read more, they can contact you for more materials or google you for your publications.Also, by selecting only 2 you ensure that you are only sending your very best articles. It is better to send 1 amazing article than 3 okay ones.
Is it okay to send co-authored papers as one of your writing examples?I wouldn't think that many people are actually going to look through hundreds of pages of anything.
RE: Writing samples and beyond.As a faculty member at PhD granting R1 with experience on search committees, I can say that it is fine to send a coauthored paper if you must but a second (or third) authored paper will garner more sneers. Also, although it is true that the entire faculty are unlikely to look at your whole file, if you are invited to campus at a research university many people outside of the search committee will look at your 1) vitae, 2) publications/writing samples (more for substance than reading them word for word), and 3) run through your letter. Fair or not, by the time the list is down to 3 candidates (from 100+) it becomes a process of looking at why one person is less well suited than another. In addition, most faculty want to hire a person who will get tenure (so we don’t need to hire again in 3 to 6 years); therefore, knowing you can publish sole or first authored articles or are producing other sole authored writings of a very high quality is more important than it may seem. Finally, if the job is hiring in a specific substantive domain (e.g., work & occupations) you should include a paper in that area of study/research. If the job is hiring for a given methodological approach you should be sure you use that you use that approach in your writing sample to prove your competency. I should note that this advice also goes for job talks. I cannot tell you how many soon to be PhDs blow their job talks by 1) not doing their dissertation research (so are you really going to finish this mystery project you are not talking about?) and/or 2) doing a talk unrelated to the job for which they are being interviewed (I have seen several people being interviewed for quant jobs do hour long job talks about their qualitative research---none of them got the jobs). Hope that helps…
On the topic of writing samples,I'm ABD and have done a good chunk of research for my dissertation (and since it's quantitative secondary data analysis, I have no fear that I will finish this year). However, I'm JUST starting to write up results for my first empirical chapter, and some schools I am applying to have September 1st deadlines.So is it better to rush the diss chapter so that I can hand it in as a writing sample and show that I am actually writing my dissertation, but it won't be as polished or as in good shape as some of my other work, or to hand in an older but much more polished piece (such as a revised version of my masters thesis, that has been R & Red at a respectable journal, with the revision currently under review). My second writing sample will be a published article on which I am first author (out of two). The other thing I have heard people suggest is handing in their dissertation proposal itself, but mine is around 60 pages, so that seems too long for a writing sample. Could I hand in parts of it? How does that look to search committees? I don't want to seem as if I haven't done a lot of work on my diss...although I haven't done a lot (at least writing-wise). :)Also, along those lines, when schools ask for "Writing Samples" (with an S at the end) but don't specify a number, how many should you send? 2? 3? More than that?
My advisor has told me not to send a dissertation chapter unless it is in very polished form. Send in your best writing. If they are interested, they may ask you later for your chapter. But then you will be closer to being done.
When a job posting specifies that applications include "a CV, statement of research and teaching interests, writing samples, and three letters of recommendations," does this mean that they want the statement in addition to a separate cover letter? In which case, what do you say in the cover letter?
Is that the U of Washington post? (If not, they ask for that as well). From what I understand, they want a statement separate from your cover letter, which is a kind of fusion of your teaching statement and research statement; so more details than your cover letter, and how your research feeds into your teaching and visa versa (I guess). I could be wrong though. Anyone else?
All places need some kind of cover letter. If they ask for a teaching/research statement, then they want a separate document for that. You can opt for a single document or send individual ones for teaching and research.If you do not have a dissertation article ready to send as a writing sample, I strongly suggest that you mention your dissertation findings in your cover letter. You don't want to go on at length, but highlight the main point - how would you finish "The most significant finding from my dissertation is..."? You want to give SCs a strong sense that you have done your analysis and will finish the PhD soon, even if you have not done the writing yet.Always send your best work as the writing sample, period. I suggest sending 2-3 depending on how many top-quality works you have and what the authorship situation is. I included 3 writing samples: a polished dissertation article which had been R&R-ed, a co-authored article which appeared in a top journal but I was not first author, and a co-authored paper on which I was the first author.
Has anyone looked at the UC-Davis online system for application submission? From what I can tell there is no place to submit a cover letter (right?), but they do want both a statement of teaching interests and a statement of research interests. Would you incorporate lettery type stuff into your statements (e.g. fit with the program) in that case?
Can anyone offer an example of some main points that should be included in a cover letter?
this is an outline of my cover letter (by paragraph), the format of which is based on copying the template of a bunch of other cover letters I've seen.1. I'm applying to your position x, completing my dissertation at the university of Y, expect to be done by the end of the academic year. 2. In your ad you mention you are looking for someone who does z. I do z, and here is some ways I have done z (research, teaching, etc). (this is more for ads that have specific subfields, rather than ads that are open positions)3. I have two main areas of research: a and b. My dissertation intersects with both areas. *somewhat long description of what I find in my dissertation*4. Apart from my dissertation I have done a lot of other research. I've published c and d articles, revised and resubmited e article, and am currently working on f project with professor g.5. in addition to my research, I look forward to teaching courses in my specialties, such as courses on j, k, l, and m. I've taught h class twice, and have pedagogical training through i. 6. I also have done extensive service in my institution and the wider sociology community, here are some examples (Some people don't have this paragraph, especially if you don't have a lot to write in it)7. I want to re-emphasize how much I think your job position at X university is a good fit. Here are some reasons *I* want to come to *your* university. The following characteristic is important to me in a school, and I think your awesome department has it. 8. Enclosed are *materials requested* and letters of recommendation from Profs A B and C are forthcoming. If you have any questions here is my phone # and email address. Thanks for your consideration and I am desperately waiting by the phone for your call.
8:15- I noticed that as well. I sent an email to the tech support email address they had listed, asking where to submit the cover letter, but they haven't written back yet. Maybe you could also send an email? I think it's a technical error on their part, they can't NOT want a cover letter.
re: 5:08thanks for the info! it is very helpful!
5:08 -- Great post! Thanks!
I just tried to upload some of my application materials to the UC Davis system and it worked pretty well. I don't think a cover letter is necessary because we need to select which position and then provide our basic information. The problem is that we probably have to break the cover letter for other schools into two documents (research and teaching) for this application. It is a little additional work but I DO think every school should use a system like this - at least it saves a lot of paper (and our precious time)!
and it saves money- I mailed out three applications yesterday and it cost over $20 just for those 3! (Albeit one school asked for a teaching portfolio, which apparently made the envelope so heavy that it cost twice to mail as much as the other apps)
6:34 & 8:30 re UC Davis-- thank you! good luck!
re: writing samplesany idea what search committees think of sending a book chapter vs a peer-reviewed article? Obviously, the PRA gets more points, but if one HAS a book chapter (that they think is pretty good).... thoughts?
Has anyone tried to use the Bucknell online application system? The job posting asks you to attach the teaching statement, cover letter, and cv - then mail syllabi and writing samples via snail mail. However, the online system won't let you apply unless you upload "other document 1" and "other document 2" along with the requested materials.Any ideas??
9:05 re: BucknellI uploaded cv, teaching statement, and cover letter online and uploaded two blank documents for "other" 1 and 2. I then mailed my writing samples, evaluations and syllabi. Save yourself the postage of mailing additional materials - the administrative assistant contacted me shortly after and asked that I provide electronic copies of the other materials. I couldn't go back and use the job application system so I emailed them instead. She's very nice - I'm sure she could help with any other questions.
the uc davis thing worked well, just did it
stupid question here: when we submit hard copies of writing samples, teaching portfolios, CVs, etc., how do we attach each document? do we staple, clip, or...?
I stapled everything in my files - at least they won't get lost this way.
Can people describe their experiences as far as getting support for their spouses to travel along with them to interviews?
I paper clip things and then use a binder clip for the whole packet.As for bringing a spouse, I think you are on your own there. You'll likely have to pony up for the plane ticket. But once you have an actual offer, you can probably get some funds to bring your spouse to the school to help you make a decision (depending on how much they want you!).
For an interview, I wouldn't necessarily mention that you HAVE a spouse. after all, they're goalis for you to be married to the job.
6:26: while that's the prevailing wisdom, I'm going to have to disagree. Most profs are human too and many are married...they want to see you are a human as well. They are not legally allowed to ask if you are partnered or married, but that doesn't mean you have to hide it or take your wedding ring off if married...it's not like you'll be able to keep it secret for long if you get the job. And do you really want a job in a department that specifically won't hire married people if you are married?
What do people suggest if I have a little one who will be to young to stay behind if I go out on interviews?
You might want to check out the Forums on the Chronicle of Higher Education's website. I did a search on "bringing baby to job interview" and found a couple of relevant threads in which people discuss this issue at some length.
Never, ever ask a university to pay for your spouse to visit. I would consider that extremely tacky and presumptuous. Even if you are bringing a nursing baby. You have to deal with that on your own.If you get the offer, in many cases the university will then offer to pay for a visit for you and your spouse (or you can ask them to as part of the negotiation).And I would say the only time it is appropriate to bring a spouse with you (on your own dime, of course) is if you have a nursing baby. Just explain the situation to whomever is booking your travel - and make it clear that you will foot the extra bill (except for the hotel room, which shouldn't be an issue either way).I usually am not so adamant about propriety but this is a definite no-no. And I am in a department that prides itself on being family-friendly (and is!). We want to get to know you and your family - but not on the interview.
actually, i would never imagine bringing my spouse on the actual interview activities. but, i think it is okay to bring him/her to the area. In fact, come schools make it a policy to provide spousal invites (including support for spouse travel. Remember that the schools are interview you, and you are also interviewing them. Most search committees would not expect you to make a decision about a place to move without your spouse having visited, and also want to make your trip out for your interview as comfortable as possible. On the other hand, your personal life should not be interfering with your professional life to the detriment of either. So, I say ask if there is a spouse invitation and if they say yes, GREAT! If they say no, don't make a big deal and just decide whether you want to bear the costs of your spouse traveling with you or not.
5:49, I wasn't suggesting hiding the spouse (e.g. removing one's ring). And, of course, one's partner might naturally come up in casual conversation. I meant that I wouldn't make a big deal about the spouse, such as bringing up travel funds. The last thing you want is for your first impression to be that you are needy, think you deserve special privileges, or are in any way a pain in the neck. You can scope out how family friendly the department is once you get there and proceed accordingly. Once you have an offer in hand, asking for the spouse to come along on the house hunt seems perfectly appropriate.
Can my non-pub writing sample - i.e. intro chapter - be single spaced, or is there some reason to double space it?Also, is 2-sided printing okay for writing samples?
Can anyone point me to some official statement regarding what can/cannot be asked about marital status? I've heard from some that no questions can be asked, and from others that it's a state-specific issue. I have already been asked about my marital status, and my spouse's occupation, by three different schools, and I'm never sure how to respond.
Double-spacing is easier on the eyes, so the SC might appreciate that. Double-sided usually doesn't work out very well because whoever copies the samples and distributes to the SC sometimes does not catch the second side. I have heard of cases where only 1 side of a double-sided sample ever got to the SC so I would advise against that to avoid such a problem.
I am no expert but after spending fifteen minutes poking around the EEOC website, it looks like the only legislation regarding marital status and employment is the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 (CSRA). This law protects federal employees from discrimination in employment based on marital status. Beyond that, regulations concerning marital status and employment are legislated and enforced at the local level. I would guess that some states, counties, and colleges/universities have rules regarding this. I have never had anyone ask me if I was married during an interview. I have had it come up during the informal chit-chat before or after an interview, such as someone saying "The job market here is really great right now. Do you have a partner who will be relocating?"
Well, I am an expert on this stuff (family sociology for teh win!)..technically it is not illegal to ask about your marital status. It is illegal to DISCRIMINATE based on marital status, so most HR departments have told hiring committees not to ask about such things, since it may give the appearance of discrimination, which can then lead to lawsuits. But the question itself isn't illegal. OTOH most people I know who were on the job market this year were asked some version of this question at some point...the advice I've been given (as someone with a partner, and also a woman) is to indicate that your partner is willing/able to move wherever you move (if that's true) and if they ask about future kid plans to say something like "I plan on being dedicated to my career in the future no matter how my family situation may change." Or maybe "my partner is going to be a stay at home dad." (also, only if that's true) :)Also at the ASAs this year the job talk panel person said to refer to your partner as your "partner" whether you are married, cohabiting, gay or straight, so that it puts everyone on a level playing field. I liked that view.
I have not been asked about "future kid plans", but I find that question funny because it does assume that people on the job market have not yet had their kids, if they plan to have some. I'm not sure how I would respond to that questions since I already have kids.I have also heard that it is appropriate to refer to your significant other as your partner.
It is troubling to hear that candidates are still being asked some inappropriate family status questions. While it may be human to be curious about candidate's familial arrangements (or their brand of toothpaste), do not give in to this form conservatism in academe. At the least if you're asked these sorts of questions during an interview, take it as a red flag warning about the values in the dept/university. Remember that you're being considered for a job that entails teaching, research and service, and not anything beyond that. PS I was asked a question like this in an interview (is your husband/wife/partner planning on relocating with you?) and, after a pause, I vaguely answered ('an interesting question...of course that would be a plan'). When the dept chair learned of the exchange, there were many apologies from their side.
Would a "Teaching Statement" be the same as your "Teaching Philosophy?"
I think a teaching statement is mostly the same as a teaching philosophy- but with an additional paragraph somewhere in the beginning talking about what courses you would be willing/able to teach. Also maybe a few more concrete examples of your teaching style than a teaching philosophy, as well as a brief discussion of courses you have already taught.
So the UC Davis application; do we have to do something to actually submit the application? Or do they just assume that if we have all (or most- still waiting on a recommender) of our required docupments uploaded by Monday that we are applying?
Re: UCDavis. It looks like we just need to upload everything to their system. There is no button for submission...
Regarding the UC Davis online application, I contacted the system administrator about the lack of a submission button and he assured me that my application was ready to go once all the documents were uploaded.hope that helps!
I'm applying to a place that wants a "letter describing your teaching and research interests and professional experience". It may be that they mean the cover letter but I have also seen people write a seperate "statement of research and teaching". If I already have a Teaching statement and a research statement, can I send these two documents or must I really merge them into a single document? Some say most professors won't even know what was asked for the job announcement so as long as all the info is there, you're fine, but others feel like they should give exactly what is asked for (as best they understand it. Not sure wht they have to be so cryptic. Just say what you want!) What should i do?
I find that I'm parsing the sentences in the ads to figure out exactly what they want! If they say they want a "description of research and teaching interests" I send them my separate research statement and teaching statement. If they say they want a "letter of application including a description of research and teaching interests" then I don't send the statements; instead my cover letter includes separate detailed paragraphs on research and on teaching. I wouldn't bother merging your two separate research & teaching statements into one document -- that will just be confusing and would look a lot like you two-page cover letter.
I just received word that a paper I submitted to a journal has received an "accept with minor revisions" decision. I've already sent out a bunch of applications, listing this paper as "revise and resubmit at *journal*, revision submitted and under review"n in my "papers under review" section. Should I send an update to the schools whose apps I have already set out? How do I go about doing that?
Congrats on the article!! You definitely need to send an update to the places you have already applied to. Just send an e-mail to the contact person and let them know which article listed on your vita has a status change. They will update the search committee about this for you.Good Luck!
There have been a few schools that are initially requesting "evidence of teaching effectiveness." While I do have a teaching portfolio, what exactly has everyone else or would you suggest to include when just looking for "evidence of teaching effectiveness?" Thanks!
I interpreted that to mean send teaching evaluations, and some student papers that were particularly good
I would send syllabi and teaching evals for evidence of teaching effectiveness.
12:15: How would student papers--particularly ones that were "particularly good"--illustrate teaching effectiveness exactly? If anything, it illustrates high competence on the part of the student, not the instructor.
12:15 here- since most of my students come into my (intro level) class with no (soc) research skills, and leave having effectively written a paper with original sociological research, and since learning how to do research is a big part of my class, I feel like those papers demonstrate my teaching effectiveness. But I make that clear in my teaching statement as well (and I've only ever sent out student papers when I'm sending out a teaching portfolio that includes a whole bunch of other info).
I just got an email from Boston College saying that now they require 3 letters of recommendation for all candidates (they originally only want names of referees). It is quite irritating as all my referees have already sent our their letters. Anyhow, just a reminder to everybody applying there...
Just curious- what does a "referee" entail? Who is that?
I just drop a 5 page student paper in the mail, slap on a cover page labeled 'teaching effectiveness enclosed.'
12:02-A referee is a sports official usually having final authority in administering a game.That is all.
Seriously? C'mon, folks...give it a rest. Please.
I was actually serious. Is a referee the same thing as a reference?
Yes, same thing.
Re: UC-Davis Application: the app was due 3 days ago, and only two of my recommenders have uploaded reccs so far (out of 4 people I asked for letters). I've sent them repeated reminder emails, and don't want to come off as annoying...should I be freaking out right now? (Cause I am!). Is my application not going to be considered because it's not 'complete'?
None of my referees have uploaded their letters at UC-Davis. I assume that this is pretty regular (albeit frustrating)
It's common for letters to be missing, esp at this point. If that is all that is missing and your other materials are complete, a search committee normally won't hold that against you. At this time many SCs don't look at letters anyway. good luck.
Do universities send Affirmative Action forms to all applicants, or only to a select group of candidates they intend to consider?
They send them to everyone - requirement from the feds.
Ok, this is a dumb question (probably not the first though):I'm testing the market waters this year with a couple post-doc applications. The application guidelines don't ask for a cover letter. Does this mean:1) All applications require cover letters and this fact is so well known that there is no need to specifically mention it.or2) I don't have to write a cover letter. Best of luck to all.
Always send a cover letter
*Alright* I'll write one. Ugh this is such a bloody pain - I can't even imagine what a full market search is like. Frankly, I'm continually surprised by how much BS and faux-professionalism there is in Sociology. Jeez man, I thought we were all auditioning to be awkward academic here...
I don't think the cover letter is "faux professionalism". Applying for any professional job involves writing a cover letter to introduce yourself and explain who you are and what you are sending them. You wouldn't submit a journal article without a cover letter, so why send someone a pile of papers without a letter of introduction?I think it's pretty normal for any profession.
Cover letters are professional, not faux professional.
Well yeah, sending a letter describing who you are and what you are sending is normal - but we all know that is not really what a cover letter is about. The whole thing has been elevated to such an art and science that I now have to agonize over a couple inane paragraphs for hours because everyone else does. That is different from a journal cover letter because people that work for journals never read cover letters anyway. Shouldn't professionalism in sociology consist of fieldwork and publication? No offense to anyone - just letting off steam ;).
Cover letters are probably less important for senior scholars, because their published record more fully represents their fieldwork and ideas. But for those of us just finishing our PhDs, we don't have as many publications and need cover letters to more adequately describe where we're going and what we've actually accomplished. By your logic, we would all be much worse off without cover letters.
But how would anyone know what kind of fieldwork you have done if you don't explain it in a cover letter? And given the fact that most students have a very small handful of publications (if any), it makes sense to use the cover letter to explain what you are doing.Also, I find it really nice to be able to have the chance in the cover letter to explain what I will bring to the department if hired, especially if the school has some unique aspect such as a senior collaborative project, affiliated center, etc.Maybe I am optimistic, but I really DO think the cover letter is about explaining who you are and what you do. That's all my cover letter does anyway...
I have the opposite question of one asked earlier:I was given an R&R on a paper earlier and reported it as such in my CV. It has subsequently been rejected in the second round of reviews (sad, I know). Do I have to let schools know?
I don't think you're obliged to contact them, just like we're not obliged to let schools know if we got an R&R on a paper we had previously listed as "under review" on our CV. We just usually let them know the good things because it makes us look better. :) If it's eating away at your conscience, then I would suggest revising and submitting it elsewhere and then noting the change on your CV.
3:19 p.m.:Good grief, don't let them know. Unless you are interviewed and they ask about it, that is when you tell them that you need to do a little bit more work on it. Lots of R&R's get rejected. I doubt anyone will assume that R&R's will be accepted automatically. In fact, unless you get the official acceptance (or at least conditional acceptance) letter, just assume it hasn't been accepted.
I'd say let them know. Wasn't it Jesus who said "The truth shall set you free?"
8:43 am -- it was actually Be-Jeezus...
Scatterplot has a post on how to give a good job talk. It's helpful. Professors at top universities are weighing in. FInd it here.
Thank you for the Scatter link!I have scoured the older blogs but still have not found info on what exactly to wear to a campus interview as a young woman. Some caveats and questions:1) It's still very much summer where I am interviewing; 2) I don't own a woman's suit and don't ever wear pants (well, I wear skirts/dresses, I don't just run around pantsless. At least not for interviews!); :)3) I would like to wear a skirt/dress/suit rather than a pants suit--any thoughts on this? I also have large breasts (that despite my best efforts to hide, still attract attention) so most suits look funny on me. I welcome any suggestions for desexualizing for the interview!4) Thoughts on hair/makeup/shoes? A friend told me about a friend who was told she "played too much with her hair" to be taken seriously and was not offered the job. I typically wear makeup, accessories, and heels--any advice on any of this?I also have a post-job talk dinner with faculty and an additional campus day and am wondering what to wear for this!THANK YOU! And, GOOD LUCK on all of your searches!
My advisor's suggestion was: they should be paying attention to your brain, not your clothes. So don't wear anything that will distract them from your brain, just wear something dressy and somewhat conventional and it should work.
Re: dressing to minimize attention to breasts. There is a pretty good book from Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine called, "What Not to Wear." This is different than the TLC show by the same name. They have suggestions for the best cut for tops, including suit jackets. You might be able to find the book at your library or more info online. They are on the Oprah show from time to time. Shoes should be very comfortable as you're bound to do a lot of walking and possibly even a full campus tour. The lesson about hair is not to play with it while you are presenting. It is a nervous habit and very distracting.
I am doing a very narrow search this year and am only applying to a handful of jobs that have Nov. 1-15 deadlines. In trying to organize my time for the rest of the semester, is it possible that they will schedule interviews before January 2009, given the end-of-semester crush? In the event I should get an interview, I would like to work on my job talk well in advance. But if that is not a possibility until the new year, I could sure use some time writing more dissertation chapters... Grateful for any advice.
I just found out that a first-authored publication of mine has been accepted, but I've already sent off all my job applications. Is it appropriate to send an updated CV to the schools where I've applied, or is there another way to contact schools to let them know?
8:32 -- Congrats. I had a similar situation and I emailed the person identified as the contact in the ASA job bank ad for each position. I told them that my CV had changed and asked whether I should send a pdf or paper copy, and to whom I should address the updated CV. There were a lot of different preferences, ranging from some places wanting a new hard copy and a formal statement describing the changes to some one-line, unsigned emails saying "sure, send a new pdf", to one non-response (I mailed that school a new version). So my advice is, ask each admin or search chair how they would like you to send the updates rather than just mailing a new one, since there seems to be some variety in how SCs handle the matter
9:12- thanks for the advice, very helpful.
I have different advice on publications that emerge after your application: tell your adviser or a committee member to contact search chairs on your behalf. It's unlikely that the CVs will actually get updated if you send them to the department. And people may have already looked at applications. An email to someone in the department (chair, search chair, etc.) will get more attention. And if you were passed over you may get a second look.
Again from scatterplot, on interview clothes: http://scatter.wordpress.com/2007/12/20/interview-clothes/Or click here.
Any tips for telephone interviews? I had a conference call style one during a previous search year. I found it difficult to discern which of the four people on the other end of the line asked what. What sorts of questions are prevalent in a telephone interview?
I just received an invite for an on-campus interview for a school that I felt was just an OK fit and in a geographical location I (nor my husband) is crazy about. I want to take the interview, but right now I view the school as a back-up--there are a handful of other schools I would much rather be at, that are clearly better fits for me, and that I think I have a good chance at getting interviews at. Any advice about taking the interview? Is it fair for me to take it (and in all fairness I realize I may do the visit and feel great about the department, school, etc...)?
I've asked some folks about this issue in the past, and the advice I got was to take the interview if you would be willing to consider the school, and then if you are still unsure about it and get an offer, stall as long as possible to see if you get other interviews or offers. At some point, you will have to say yes or no, but you can probably cite your spouse as a reason for saying no. I have no idea whether this strategy works -- I haven't been in a position to try it myself.
RE: Thanks for the invite but I ain't moving there.I was in that situation a few years ago and opted to not go on the interview. I thanked them for their interest and said, honestly, at this time it didn't feel like a good fit for me. Interviews are exhausting for everyone and IF you know you would not accept the job or you are certain you will get other interviews, I would respectfully decline. On the other hand, the market is tough and there are people in jobs all over this country (and others) who never thought they would be living in "that" place...I am one of them :)...but totally happy.
I've been in this position a couple of times. Twice I simply turned down the interview offer because I *knew* that in the end I couldn't live there. However, I did go to interviews in places that I was ambivalent about and now live in one of those places quite happily. So my recommendation is if you are simply ambivalent, not completely dead set against the location, and the department and job look interesting, I'd give it a chance.-Mel
11:43, 5:54, and 9:33, thank you all of your kind advice on "what to wear"... I will let you know how it goes! Thanks!
I'm on an SC. If you aren't going to take the job (if we offer it to you), then don't come out for the visit. It is a waste of everyone's time. Just tell us, we'll understand... and respect your honesty. This profession isn't as big as you think, and memories are long. What you see as "interview practice," could harm your professional reputation.
I agree with 5:18 100%. I've served on many search committees at a large R1 and I have been an active departmental citizen during other searches. It is tough to do tours, attend dinners and job talks, visit with candidates, etc. It takes you out of your game. I've never made progress on any research when we are interviewing. In addition, I try to limit what I am doing in class and it is another thing to explain to my partner I need to take or pick up people from the airport, etc...you get the point. Also, I know some folks who did practice interviews and 5:18 is right, memories are long and sociology is a small world! They’ve dealt with some mild repercussions (mostly uncomfortable conversations but that sucks and it could have been worse). I once applied to a school after I was in a job and a bunch of my colleagues found out within weeks of my application arriving at University X.
Am I crazy to try and give a job talk that just outlines my dissertation and other projects as a five year trajectory? I am in the very early stages of data analysis and am not sure that what I have for a job talk is that fantastic/convincing/comprehensive yet. My advisors say to just give a great job talk that "sells" me as a researcher but I know people want DATA and to know you're going to finish. I am quite nervous about going this route--any advice? I'd almost rather do this than present early/weak data and get skewered because it's so preliminary.
first of all, you are probably a very strong candidate to land a job talk while still in the very preliminary stages of dissertation analysis. i have already published 2/3 of mine and have yet to make the first cut anywhere! so that is a strength you have going for you.my advice is based on what i have been told and what i have observed, having seen a lot of job talks. the purpose of the job talk is to do 3 things: 1) present your research, 2) demonstrate how your work fits in the broader field/establish your professional identity, and 3) outline your future plans. it sounds like 2 and 3 are fine for you. so the issue is whether you can do 2 and 3 without doing a lot of 1.if you do go that route, i think you have to offer a strong case that you will be done soon. most dissertations take longer than expected. i planned it would take 9 months from the time i finished data collection, and it ended up being 15. i do think you need some kind of findings, however preliminary. instead of calling them "preliminary", can you frame your early findings as the initial findings? then it sounds less tentative. if you really don't have any dissertation findings, do you have another related project you can present that is done? if so, you can present that and then explain that you are building off this in your dissertation to do X. just be very clear that you will be done with the diss by the end of the summer.good luck to you!
Hi all, Just wanted to give some helpful advice re: the UNC application. Make sure you get an e-mail confirming that you applied for the job!! Creating a profile does not automatically mean you apply for the position. After you create your profile, you need to go back and apply for the position again. A couple of my friends had missed this - they created their profile and thought that meant they were finished. Not so - you need to go log in again and apply for the position using your profile! I figured I should point this out for others as well. Best of luck!
During a phone interview, I was surprised when one of the search committee members asked me: Do you have any circumstances that would prevent you from taking this position if it was offered to you? It struck me as questionable in terms of legality and made me uncomfortable. I wonder if this is something that others have been asked by search committees who think they can find out about partners, spouses, children, etc. without asking "directly" (although that was pretty direct in my opinion)?
RE: 2:15pm...I have not had a phone interview yet, however I do have some advice I can pass along from our professors here at my university (which is R1 and highly ranked). Our profs said that SOME schools will try to find out that information in any way they can, and that we should try to remain as neutral and evasive about answering it as possible, if you feel the information you provide may be unfairly used. You want your name on the short list, obviously. So, wait to divulge that kind of information until you are already on that list. It may be that your circumstances aren't actually that much of a complication for the school, but they might automatically assume that they will be if you divulge it too early in the process, therefore offering a reason to put you in the reject pile, if they are trying to decide between you and another applicant. I don't know if this is true at every university; obviously they are all different. However, this was the advice we were given. Get your name on the short list, then deal with the complicated details later.
sorry, that last one was to 2:14pm...
Any suggestions for phone interviews with schools that are more teaching focused?
re: 2:43 response to 2:14. I appreciated both posts and wanted to follow up. Would "divulging information...after making the short list" include talking about family constraints in making arrangements for a fly out?
RE: 6:21...That was not covered at our meeting as few of us have family constrains for fly outs. I would assume, though, that if you have such constraints, you don't have much choice other than to discuss that when making the fly out arrangements. I'm sorry I don't know more.
re: 6:55. Thanks, I appreciate it.
Just curious as to what type of family constraints for fly outs you are referring to. Some of us also have such constraints and may be able to advise based upon our own prior experiences.
re: family constraints. It has been complicated scheduling one interview because I only have part-time child care for my toddler. It feels more direct if I could just explain this to the SC chair. To follow-up on this, I've read earlier advice on the rumor mill about not divulging personal information at interviews but it seems important to know that a department would be supportive on such fronts.
re:10:22strongly agree. i have children and am only interested in departments that are supportive in this respect. we might as well get it out in the open.
I'm not suggesting that you should never tell a search committee that you have a family. I was merely suggesting that until you are on a short list of some sort, it wasn't really necessary information. Once you have a phone or in-person interview with a university, then you have the opportunity to discuss family issues and determine whether they are a family-friendly environment. Of course you need to choose a university that is supportive of you and your family! It just doesn't need to be mentioned too early on if you are concerned that any complication - be it family-related or not - might keep you off that ever-important short list.
re: 7:40This is 10:22. I agree with you and wouldn't bring this up until I'm on a short list either.
How should those with a two-body problem deal with questions about one's spouse during an interview? Last year, it came up during a campus visit, and I felt there was no way out of answering the question honestly, even though I know they are not supposed to ask such things. I'd like to figure out a way to be more discreet this time around, but at the same time, I don't want to rule out the possibility of a spousal hire if a school might be open to it. Any suggestions on how to proceed?
I'm struggling with the same two body problem. Part of the issue is convincing them that having two bodies wouldn't be a deal breaker. On my part, I'm willing to commute home to my partner on weekends, so there are ways of making it work if you're in an all or nothing situation. My advisers have said that I shouldn't ask for a spousal hire until they have actually offered the job, so then it can be part of your negotiations, once they have committed to you. But to be honest, this issue is killing me. Any better ideas are more than welcome.
We were given similar advice about a two-body hire, as we have one in our department. Basically, the profs suggested they keep it on the down-low as long as possible. Once it gets out to one department, the information will get around. Whether or not a university uses that information is up in the air. As mentioned in the post immediately prior to this one, bringing it up in contract negotiations was the advice given. A prof who is often on the hiring committee said that once they had someone out for a job talk who was incredibly evasive. Basically, no matter how round-about the committee tried to ask about spousal issues, the candidate changed the subject without giving up any info. This candidate was still offered the job at our R1.
Thanks for the advice. But how do you evade a direct question like "What does your spouse do?"
My advice would be to say something along the lines of, "My spouse does X" as vaguely as possible, and then be prepared with questions to ask them that will change the subject. But, I'm just guessing. All our prof said was that the candidate would completely change the subject without answering, which sounded a bit awkward to me.
Speaking of awkward questions, I was on the phone with the chair of a search committee and hu asked me where else I had scheduled interviews. Granted, I'm lucky enough to have another interview, but it just didn't feel right to lay all the cards out at once. I had enough nervous laughter that hu backtracked and said that I didn't have to answer. I am NOT looking forward to dealing with the spouse issue too.
What kind of acknowledgement or thank you is appropriate for writers of recommendation letters? A note? A small gift?
I'm having the opposite problem of 2:06. i have an interview at a school that I'm excited about, but is not located where I would prefer to live. I'm trying to figure if I should contact the schools to which I have applied in my preferred region that are peers to the one that has invited me for a job talk. I imagine the information that I'm in demand somewhere might help tip the balance in my favor closer to home. To those with experience on SC's 1) would this be possibly useful and 2) what approach should I take?
re: 10:06I think you should wait until you have an offer from this school. I don't think it would hurt you to contact them now, but it's unlikely that the fact that another candidate had an interview is going to make them speed up their search process. If you do get an offer, then I think you can say: I have another offer and was wondering (1) where this job search stands and (2) whether my candidacy is still being considered. That's no guarantee that you'll get any traction, of course, but at least then they'll have a reason to give you some attention. The other scenario, of course, is that the search is moving along but that one's application is no longer being considered. I did this last year but the handful of other schools I contacted had informed me that I was no longer in the running, so I had my answer.What I'm not sure about, and maybe others have input on this, is whether to name the place from which one has an offer. An adviser once told me that schools will care more that you have another offer when it is from a peer institution.
question: if you have an offer from a school and decide to contact others regarding the status of their searches, should you mention which school you've gotten an offer from? Or should you just say that you got an offer and that's it?
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