Job Talk Part 2

Tanke Job Talk

Components of an application

  • Cover letter
  1. Speaks specifically to advertisement and your skills and connects them. Introduce yourself, highlight accomplishments, and fit well
  2. Know about who you’re applying to
  3. Don’t go beyond two pages
  4. Present yourself as colleague not student.
  • Cv
  1. Put strengths first
  2. General info first; teaching; publications reverse chronological order
  • Writing Sample
  1. Abstract is important
  • 3 letters of rec.
  1. Need letter at least from chair of dissertation committee.
  2. Strength of reference… “I can only speak to these aspects” is bad sign…
  • Evidence of teaching excellence (teaching portfolio)
  1. Teaching statement (one page philosophy of teaching); make case that what you do contributes to mission of university
  2. Sample teaching evaluations… don’t overwhelm with meaningless data and don’t cherry pick. Summarize course evaluations; highlights and such… peer review of your teaching might not be a bad idea.
  3. Sample syllabi. Don’t just list texts… “Here’s how I’ll conceptualize it; here’s what students should take away from it; these are the texts that would be used; check out this syllabus”; get people engaged in the idea of the class, don’t just list a table of contents.


  • Jobs for Philosophers (now online)
  • (smaller schools; interdisciplinary jobs; visiting positions)
  • Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Share job knowledge

Reading Advertisements and Miscellaneous

  • Sometimes you can tell that they don’t know what they want.
  • Allude to connections to school (I’m from Boston too!; I have commitments to the principles of your mission statement)
  • Note that you might be able to create synergy with other departments if the advertisement suggests interest in interdisciplinary studies and cross-cultural studies.
  • Research Statement: Where you’ve been, what you’ve done, where you’re going. Demonstrate ambitions beyond dissertation.
  • If offer is weird, ask yourself why they need such things.
  • Rejections and not hearing is not a statement about merits, but about fit. IT’S ALL ABOUT FIT. Beware of the “spray and pray approach”.
  • If its in the add, its important enough to try and speak to it.


  • Read advertisements carefully. Don’t fake it or change yourself, but present yourself in best possible, realistic light.
  • (Before writing cover letter) Investigate each department; determine their needs. What courses do they offer regularly? What additional courses do they have on the catalogue that they don’t offer regularly? Are there any university-wide initiatives that your work could be seen as supporting?
  • Craft application accordingly.
  • Let people know which places you are applying and don’t be afraid to ask around about whether or not someone has a professional connection at the given department. This will not get you the job, but it will open doors.
  • Save your time and energy by focusing your search on jobs that are a good fit. Avoid “spray and pray”. If you have AOS, but not necessarily AOC, try it out.
  • Remember that there is no way to predict which places will select you for a screening interview or not. That is, don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that you think may be a stretch, if they are a good fit, and don’t be discouraged when you don’t hear from places that seemed like sure thing.
  • Look for a job that you can grow with. 

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