Job Talk

Job Talk 9/19/13

1.) When to start applying

Not until you’re realistically within 6-8 months of finishing, rather than just with a couple of chapters finished.

Looking for a job is a full-time job.

If you get a job when you’re not fully ready, the first year of teaching will be quite a load.

Even if the course you’re teaching looks familiar, it will be completely new.

The dissertation should be the focus up until it is almost finished; you should be able to get at least one publication out of it.

You will have to wait a minimum of 6-8 weeks from the time you submit your draft to give your committee time to read it.

The CV should include university experience, part-time non-philosophy jobs are discouraged from being included. Build a list of things you can mention – it’s crucial to mention conference presentations (not just attendance). Sure, put your graduate conferences on there. You need to have published articles in order to be competitive.

DO NOT list things that you’re doing now under the Publications heading. Do a Research Interests or Works in Progress for all things that are not completed.

2.) JFP PhilJobs approach v Local Community Colleges.

Everybody should be thinking in terms of university employment; we develop unique and desirable skills here.

Almost a full year between the time the job is posted and the appointment time. This cycle usually falls in the fall. SEPT-FEB is the time to look for jobs.

Community Colleges – you have to be on the spot and available and in the loop. It is difficult to be “on the job hunt” in these circumstances. They advertise internally on their websites. DO NOT contact the department head looking for jobs; if they have an opening, they will advertise it.

You need to come across as a professor. Look the part. Do a mock interview.

The community college teaching load is heavier than university. But in order to step up into a 4-year setting, you must continue to actively publish your work. Mine your dissertation for a little while, but continue into new vistas.

3.) Professional Appearance

Don’t pad it, don’t double-count, don’t put non-philosophy publications unless it is philosophically relevant.

Cover letter: Keep it brief – demonstrate that you are qualified with a confident tone. Make it thorough and engaging.


4.) Sending Applications

Do not blanket the market. The jobs should be a good fit – put extra effort into these and send them all of your publications, or outprint.

Depts aren’t often sure what they are looking for – they are a political compromise amid the professors of the department. That means that if the situation changes, so will what they are looking for. What they want is not carved in stone.

You may not be everyone’s first choice, utilize your on-campus visit to attempt to at least be suitable to everyone.

Be prepared for disappointment – even if you think yourself a perfect fit, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes. Be patient and persistent, if you play the game long enough you will get your chance. But keep in mind that there are about three years until you’re old news. You need to focus on your first impression once you’re invited for an interview. They’re looking for collegiality at this point. Don’t be prickly. Be open, social and receptive.


5.) Salaries and Interviews

Do not talk about salaries until the job has been offered. Once it has been offered, be prepared for a dangerous moment, you may commit yourself to being underpaid. You will instead be in a position to bargain.

Be aware of unionization – your starting salary will determine your future salary (incremental increases). Make sure it is fair. You will be unable to make adjustments after you’ve signed.

Ask for a couple of days to do research. Find out what people in that university are being paid, what the cost of living is, what you want your lifestyle to be like.

A good number for an assistant professor is somewhere in the low 60’s. If it’s below 57,000, then it’s not really worth your time. Do not be afraid to attempt to negotiate. Having a community college job can be used as leverage, but don’t push it too hard because ultimately you’d like to get out.

Good liberal arts colleges (4-year) will be comparable to a university. But it depends on the quality of the school.

Do not mention names in your cover letter of people you’re excited to work with. Do not create the impression of “sucking up”. In Philosophy, it’s not often that there is a collaborative relationship. Normally, that is something that happens spontaneously and organically.

Don’t let your research into the professors at your desired institutions be intimidating! If you have the tendency to be intimidated, maybe you shouldn’t do too much homework. 🙂

6.) The Department is Here to Help

i) Dossier Service is set up through the Philosophy Department Secretary

You will probably apply to 25-40 jobs per year, 3-4 that you really want.

You should solicit at least three letters of recommendation from your committee members for every job. Most of the letters will say the same thing, so it provides a holding place for a basic letter to put in a dossier

Submit a small payment to the university the purpose of which is to cover postage. Every time you have an application, you send your cover letter and supporting materials, and contact Pat and she will prepare and send the letters.

If there is a special case, you want a special letter. Contact the professors and indicate your particular interest in this job, what it is that they’re looking for, and ask for a tailored letter. No more than 4-5 of these will be alright.

ii) f you are here in Hawaii, you can set up a Mock Interview with the department.

7.) Miscellaneous

What does teaching in Asia say about you as a candidate at a US university?

If you stay there for 4-5 years, it will be difficult to come back and color yourself as a Western philosopher. 1-2 years is ok and establishes your credentials within that field. Naturally, this depends on whether you become a “star” while you’re there.

If you are no longer at the stage of a viable assistant professor, then you will not be the most attractive candidate. This is why you shouldn’t stay too long. There aren’t too many openings for a full professor or even associate professors.


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