Preparing to go on the job market: Strategies for academic and non-academic job searches


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a PowerPoint presentation of a paper I gave at the American Evaluation Association conference. This would be helpful to those getting/who have earned a Ph.D. in a discipline in the social sciences

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Preparing to go on the job market: Strategies for academic and non-academic job searches

  1. 1. Preparing to Go on the Job Market: Strategies for Academic and Non-Academic Job Searches Jennifer Ann Morrow, Ph.D. Gary Skolits, Ed.D. UT’s Evaluation, Statistics and Measurement Faculty Patrick Barlow Ann Cisney-Booth Tiffany Smith UT’s Evaluation, Statistics and Measurement Students
  2. 2. Overview of Presentation • Overview of Evaluation Job Market • Suggested Strategies –Updating your Vitae –Importance of Matching Skill Sets to Job Ad –Organizing Your Application Materials –Preparing For the Interview –Conducting your Job Talk –Negotiating an Offer • Students’ Perspectives and Advice • Helpful Resources
  3. 3. Evaluation Job Market • • • • The job market search can be an overwhelming and confusing process Fewer tenure-track positions in higher education than ever before (Schuster & Finkelstein, 2006; Woolf, 2010) Organizations are seeking the “super-candidate”, one who has advanced skills, work experience, evidence of publications, leadership abilities, and successful grantsmanship, etc. While in graduate school focus on nurturing relevant skill sets and gaining practical experience…don’t just spend time taking classes
  4. 4. Evaluation Job Market • Don’t just apply to anything that is out there – Focus your applications on jobs that match your skills sets and level of experience • Helpful hints: – Network, network, network! – Link your educational experiences to evaluator competencies – Collaborate with those outside of your graduate program/school – Increase your visibility in the field (e.g., post to listservs, maintain an – – – active evaluation blog, volunteer for professional organizations, publish in relevant journals) Attend and present at conferences to elevate your profile Be flexible and willing to relocate Remember that your first job is not your last job…start small and work you way up to your long-term goal (e.g., tenure-track at a R1 university)
  5. 5. Updating Your Vitae • • • • • Your vitae is one of the most important documents in your job search….it showcases your life as an evaluation scholar Highlight your strongest skills Research, teaching, and presentations/publications Should be complete, organized, and ordered depending on specific job you are applying for Helpful hints: – Have someone in your specific field review your vitae – Your most relevant skills/work should be early in your CV – Use action verbs (e.g., negotiated, created, assisted) – Include links to academic websites (google scholar profile, Mendeley) – Include list of referees (choose wisely!)
  6. 6. Matching Skill Sets to Job Ad • • When searching for jobs search by skills sets (e.g., survey development) as well as your field of study Do you fit? – When deciding on where to apply always consider how your unique skill sets fit the organization’s needs • Evidence!!! – Provide evidence (highlight in cover letter, description in vitae, relevant work samples, referee comments) for each skill set that they require/desire for the job • Helpful hints: – Use keywords/phrases from the job ad in your cover letter – Get feedback from colleagues/mentors on your fit to the job (they are – your best critics!) Set up search alerts (by skill sets/field) on relevant job websites
  7. 7. Organizing Application Materials • • Your application materials should ALWAYS be tailored to the specific job Cover Letter/Personal Statement – Introduce yourself; focus on your relevant skill sets and how you match their needs • • Curriculum Vitae Research Statement – Organized by research area; What you have done and what you will do • Work/Publication Samples – Choose 2-3 relevant samples (you are primary author) – Should highlight breadth and depth of your evaluation skills
  8. 8. Organizing Application Materials • Reference Letters/List of Referees – Obtain permission from referees before listing them on your vitae/application – Give referees copy of job ad and job application materials at least 2-4 weeks in advance of when you need a reference letter • Teaching Philosophy (include if teaching is part of the job) – Pedagogical strategies; teaching experience; highlight what courses you could teach for their institution • Helpful hints: – Format everything so they are the same font, font size – For hard copies: hole-punch and put in a 1-1/5 inch binder; For electronic version: save as one large PDF file
  9. 9. Preparing for the Interview • • • Prepare, prepare, prepare! First impressions are important! Have prepared questions – Work environment, resources, collaborations, future growth, typical work load, and description/quality of students (if academic position) • Helpful hints: – Do your research on the institution/company – The 4 Es: energetic, enthusiastic, excited, and engaged – Don’t fall into your ‘student’ role – Be future focused – Dress appropriately and use professional language – Be prepared for long days…plan ahead – Always follow-up after the interview
  10. 10. Conducting Your Job Talk • • This is the most important part of your interview. For some members of the organization this will be their only interaction with you Describe your research agenda or evaluation philosophy – Don’t just focus on your dissertation – Discuss current and future research/evaluation plans – Mention collaborations and funding opportunities • Helpful hints: – Practice, practice, practice! – Always have a backup for technology – Showcase your practical experiences and skill sets within your talk – Have a one-page summary of key points for audience members – Anticipate questions
  11. 11. Negotiating an Offer • Your first offer is a starting point – Most of the time you are able to negotiate terms – Have a rationale for why the terms should be changed (e.g., higher pay, modified responsibilities, other benefits) • Have a detailed list of start-up needs – Be willing to negotiate these – Include a rationale (i.e., budget justification) as to why you need items on this list in order to effectively do your job • • Get everything in writing! Helpful hints: – Be reasonable with your demands – Get advice from mentors and others in similar positions regarding – salary and start-up Know when to walk away from a less than stellar offer
  12. 12. Students’ Perspectives and Advice • Creating and maintaining an online presence – One way to increase your visibility in your field is to maintain an active online presence on popular research and social media sites – You can showcase and organize your scholarly work (e.g., papers, presentations) – These sites reach a wide audience and allow anyone to download materials that you post – You can include links to these sites on your vitae and business cards – Suggested research and social media sites: • Slideshare • Mendeley • Google Scholar • LinkedIn
  13. 13. Students’ Perspectives and Advice • Overcoming workplace challenges once hired – Resist the urge to fall into the student role or becoming overly assertive – Learn the work culture and environment – Build relationships with your colleagues – Find a mentor – Continue your professional development • Never lose sight of your long-term career goals – Continue publishing/presenting in your field – Maintain relevant skill sets • Be sure to find work/life balance – Keep boundaries with your schedule
  14. 14. Helpful Resources • • • • • • • Canal-Domínguez, J. F., & Wall, A. (2013). Factors determining the career success of doctorate holders: evidence from the Spanish case. Studies in Higher Education, (ahead-of-print), 1-24. Clark, S.G., & Steelman, T.A. (2012). Interviewing for an interdisciplinary job: Principled goals, pragmatic outcomes, and finding the right fit in academia. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1, 21-29. Dillman, L. M. (2013). Evaluator Skill Acquisition Linking Educational Experiences to Competencies. American Journal of Evaluation, 34(2), 270-285. Gillmore, J. G., & Holland, M. I. (2012). Writing the Research Plan for Your Academic Job Application. ACS Graduate & Postdoctoral Scholars Bulletin. Hermanowicz, J. (2012). Success on the tenure track: Five keys to faculty job satisfaction. Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, MD. Vick, J. M., & Furlong, J. S. (2008). The academic job search handbook. University of Pennsylvania Press. Winstead, C. (2012). You've got your PhD: A practical guide to landing your first tenure-track appointment. McDonough, GA: Hawthorne Press.
  15. 15. Helpful Resources • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
  16. 16. Helpful Resources • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Academic Careers Online: AEA Career Center: AERA Job Website: American Psychological Association Job Bank: Association for Institutional Research: CES Job Board: Chronicle of Higher Education Career Network: Community College Job Board: Guardian Jobs: Higher Education Recruitment Consortium: Rand Education: USA Jobs: US Department of Education:
  17. 17. Asst. Professor Job at UT Job: Assistant Professor of Qualitative Research Methods, housed in the Evaluation, Statistics and Measurement program, Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling. Qualifications: Required - Earned doctorate in Qualitative Methods, Research Methodology, Evaluation, Educational Psychology or closely related program of study. Evidence of scholarly achievement in qualitative research methods with expertise in one or more qualitative methodologies (e.g., grounded theory, case study, narrative and/or ethnography, etc.) and basic knowledge of educational research design, including quantitative and mixed method designs. Desired – University and/or K-12 teaching experience; experience with/ability to teach mixed methods and/or content analysis techniques; ability to teach epistemological foundations of qualitative research; ability to teach fundamental statistics, and a successful record of obtaining external funding that supports research and/or graduate students. Link to Full Ad:
  18. 18. Contact Information If you would like more information regarding this presentation please contact: Jennifer Ann Morrow, Ph.D. Associate Professor in Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement Dept. of Educational Psychology and Counseling University of Tennessee Knoxville, TN 37996-3452 Email: Office Phone: (865) 974-6117