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Applying For Math Academic Jobs 2006

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This is a talk I gave in the Graduate Student Math Colloquium at the University of Arizona in the spring of 2006. It is a bit rough around the edges; it was written during my last semester of graduate school when I was applying and interviewing for jobs all over the U.S., finishing my thesis, and getting married. Also, the information may be somewhat dated. I do not intend to keep this information current. Proceed at your own risk, your mileage may vary, etc.

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Some of this is probably out of date since I wrote it in 2006. The only advice I can think of that's obviously missing is to control the appearance of your Facebook and LinkedIn presence. Potential employers will google you, so google yourself first so you know what they'll see. Use good judgement.

    If you have any advice, or if you see anything in here that's egregiously outdated, feel free to leave a comment.
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Applying For Math Academic Jobs 2006

  1. 1. Why Is Applying For A Job … A Full Time Job!? Or, what I probably still wouldn’t have done even if I had known better.
  2. 2. Outline● Before your last year ● Mass Mailing● CV, Research S., ● Joint Meetings Teaching S. ● Phone Interviews● Where to apply ● Campus visits● Cover Letters ● Negoiations
  3. 3. Before your last year -- Research● You’re doing it. Good job.● Find an area you enjoy working in● Find a problem you can complete in a reasonable time● Get a supportive advisor who’s well connected.● Give talks often.● Talk to other faculty about your work. You need a committee, and people to write research letters of recommendation. *
  4. 4. Before your last year -- Teaching● Teach a variety of courses● Get some supervisors who are active, full time faculty● Ask their advice often (even if you dont think you need it), and take it most of the time● Try new instructional methods (group work, ConcepTests, semester projects, computer lab assignments, etc.), and talk to your supervisor about it regularly● Make sure your supervisor knows you are going to be asking them for a letter, and give them
  5. 5. Before your last year – Other● Outreach (HS visit, HS workshops, HS tutoring, New Start)● Service (Grad Colloq coordinator, grad rep, COS rep, anything that has grad students on their committee)● Research Experience for Undergraduates (Robert Indik)● Internships (NSA, govt labs, etc.)
  6. 6. August – September● Decide what range of places to apply to● Get CV, Research Statement, and Teaching Statement● Solicit at least 3 solid letters of rec. (at least one teaching), possibly 5-7 if youre applying for different types of jobs, and keep after them! *● Gather and sift through job ads● Get your website squared away! * (If a place is at all serious about hiring you, they will look at your website, and they will Google you)
  7. 7. Aug. – Sept.: Types of Jobs From heavier research to heavier teaching● NSF Post-doc (actually, if youre shooting for this, you should start in the spring before your last year)● University Research Post-doc● Teaching Post-doc● University – Tenure track● Liberal Arts – Tenure track● Comprehensive University● Top Tier High Schools
  8. 8. Aug. – Sept.: CV● Education● Teaching Experience● Research Experience (UG research, orals project, dissertation + committee members)● Service & Outreach● Talks (Invited Talks?)● Computer Experience● Awards, Memberships
  9. 9. Aug.—Sept.: CV● Goal: present your best selling points in such a way that they are easily and quickly found● There lots of different styles, look at many and find one you like● http://www.chronicle.com/ has helpful articles
  10. 10. Aug. – Sept.: Research Statement● Two to three pages● Readable by a general mathematical audience (some specialized stuff)● Mention lots of applications or connections with other areas of mathematics● Read other people’s research statements *● Work with your advisor on this
  11. 11. Aug. – Sept.: Teaching Statement● This one’s a mother● Read others’ teaching statements (not other people in this dpt. on the job search!)● Spend some time on this, don’t leave it til the last minute! It’s harder than you think (were not used to writing this way, and about this stuff)● It should sound like you, just the best, most competent you possible
  12. 12. Aug. – Sept.: Job Ads● http://www.ams.org/eims/ weekly emails● Sign up for this early, and start reading them early! Many dozens of ads/week● Start a database with all the jobs you’re potentially interested in * (headings should include: full name of school, deadline, post-doc/tenure-track, how many letters of rec, complete address, excerpts from job ad, teaching load ... the goal is to save precious time by never needing to look back at their job ad or website when writing their cover letter and assembling their application packet)
  13. 13. Aug. – Sept.: How to decide● Job Ad (R/T emphasis, teaching load, etc.)● US News & World Report ranking● Advisor recommendation● Geographic area● Website * (look at where their current faculty came from, how long they’ve been there, how many papers they’ve published, how well known they are)
  14. 14. st 1 Deadlines are Mid-October! Application PacketIngredients ● Strike a balance ● Cover Letter between personalization ● AMS cover sheet and sanity! ● Research Statement ● Perhaps 2 or 3 research ● Teaching Statement and teaching statements ● 3 (or 4) letters mailed (one for research-heavy separately places, one for industry, ● Evidence of excellent one for teaching teaching (student evals, focused) innovative class activities, etc.) ● Cover letters should be ● List of publications & HIGHLY specific to the invited talks employer (or at least ● Other stuff? they must appear so!)
  15. 15. October – Cover letters● These were the biggest pain in the TeX● There’s a TeX program that can help● MS Word (Open Office) can perform a similar function, and better● Paragraphs: Intro, Research summary, Teaching experience, Specific (addressing mission statement, suggesting possible collaborators), Closing (I’ll be at the joint meeting!)
  16. 16. October – Mailing rules With apologies to Monty Python● Meet all deadlines!● Be very neat and precise● Meet all deadlines!● Give them what they ask for (a little extra is ok)● Meet all deadlines!● There is no Rule 6● Meet all deadlines!
  17. 17. October – Joint Meeting● Register for the joint meeting, and the employment center● Arrange lodging, share if possible (there’s a roommate board)● Arrange travel: start looking for good rates early Employment Center● Computer scheduled & self-scheduled
  18. 18. November● Majority of deadlines are in November and December● By this time, you should have sent your first applications out and realized what a royal pain it is● This should motivate you do develop a reasonable system for writing personalized (or faux- personalized) cover letters and assembling application packets for institutions with varying requirements● Also, make sure all joint meeting stuff is in order
  19. 19. December● By now, you’re really in the deadline crunch● You’re teaching (finals week), writing your thesis, furiously doing research to make sure you have enough results to graduate, and applying for a job has become a full- time job● In other words, at this point, you’re really hating life
  20. 20. December● Then your first request for an interview comes, and the self-esteem boost is life-saving● Many institutions conduct preliminary interviews at the joint meeting● Look at the joint meeting program, and make a schedule, and allow lots of time for meetings● Post-docs, you have to wait. Institutions generally dont do interviews for post-doc positions at the joint meeting. Sorry.
  21. 21. January – Joint Meeting● Finalize preliminary meeting arrangements● Get suits/outfits cleaned/pressed (this is a professional interview, take it seriously)● Have many copies of your CV available● Have a few copies of your complete application packet● Have your materials available by website so you can print out more if necessary● Oh, keep sending out applications
  22. 22. January – Joint Meeting● Do practice interviews● Have answers to standard questions down pat● Have questions for them (some job/school specific) *● Be yourself and be professional● Also see some talks, especially those related to your research, and those given by people at places you’re interviewing with! (and bring it up in conversation)● Don’t go too crazy, you’re always interviewing
  23. 23. Feb. – April● Keep Applying● Scratch that, you’re probably beyond sick of it by now● Besides, you’ve got a thesis to write.● Phone interviews ○ Have data sheet handy ○ Practice answers to standard questions ○ Have good questions for them, some specific to that institution * (“Do you have any questions for us?” is one of the most important interview questions; have ready enough questions for them to fill ½ hour)
  24. 24. The Campus Visit● Have a fact sheet and list of questions (its ok to look at your notes and to take notes in these meetings – its professional)● Meetings ○ Faculty ○ Dept. Head ○ Dean ○ Provost ○ Students (UG and/or grad)
  25. 25. The Campus Visit● Math Talk ○ Find out the audience level * ○ Practice it!● Teaching Demo ○ Get subject, book, background ○ Make it good, not just lecture
  26. 26. Negotiating an Offer● Elements of an offer ○ Salary ○ Computer and Software ○ Start-up fund (research mainly) ○ Moving expenses ○ Time to respond (1-2 weeks)● You can ask for anything reasonable – ask for stuff, the worst they’ll do is say no, they won’t rescind the offer.● Don’t accept it right then & there! (at the very least, they may reconsider some of your previously denied requests)
  27. 27. Negotiating an Offer● Call others on the top ● Things to consider of your list ○ Collaborators, or near ○ Ask if they’re still other schools seriously considering ○ Housing/Apt. costs you ○ Near stuff to do ○ Let them know they’ ○ Near major airport re in your top few ○ Future salary range http: choices //www.chronicle.com ○ Tell them you need to respond in x-2 days to the other place
  28. 28. Accept an offer● Verbal acceptance● Written acceptance Congratulations! Now get back to work.
  29. 29. What if an offer doesn’t come? ● Visiting positions ● Job Ads are still coming ● Keep talking with your advisor
  30. 30. Resources● US News & World Report ○ Good for overall data and reputation of schools● http://www.ams.org/eims/ ○ Get weekly emails by August● http://www.chronicle.com/ ○ Good academia CV tips (some science specific) ○ Salary Ranges for professors at virtually all universities and colleges

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