ah, the job market

So I (along with many many other people) am looking for academic jobs this year. I wish I could say it felt like only yesterday that I was applying to grad school, but that would be somewhere between wishful thinking and outright mendacity.

Claire Kenyon has a post up at the Complexity Blog that (predictably) has come under some fire, although the comments thread seems to be dominated by a debate over how companies should conduct interviews of PhDs. I think it’s remarkably difficult to come up with universal specific recommendations for your application documents, because the requirements vary so much from university to university. Some ask for a combined research and teaching statement, or the page limits will vary from place to place. Even the delivery medium varies — some places ask you to upload a PDF cover letter (with no signature, I assume), some ask you to email your materials, and some ask you to mail a physical letter.

The one great thing about this process is that I am getting a better sense of how to contextualize my research in a way that gets me excited about new problems. If it wasn’t for the whole thesis writing thing, I’d have enough time to dig in to some of those problems…

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0 thoughts on “ah, the job market

  1. From what Robbie knows, math is similar to what some of the commenters there were saying – no one reads cover letters, they look at your recommendations first and if they recognize the names they’ll read the letters. If they don’t, you’re passed over. They do seem to have a fairly standard application process, but still about 25% of schools don’t follow it.

    I’m assuming math and CS are much more alike than they are like my field. One of my officemates is on the job market, and he’s applying to like 5-7 tenure track jobs. If he doesn’t get any of those, he’ll most likely get a postdoc personally set up by his advisor. From what I can tell, that’s how most postdocs in this field happen – someone asks your advisor who they’ve got graduating.

  2. (seeing a prof in my department post here is… just… ow. my head. when did my friends get to be Respected People and not just my pals?)

    you should apply to UW. rumor has it the department is good, but who wants to do _work_ ? beer and puzzles!

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