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My Academic Job Search Experience

My Academic Job Search Experience

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My Academic Job Search Experience

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  1. My Academic Job Search Experience Hoa Nguyen Florida State University

  2. Outline • Preparation • Applications • Interviews • Job Offers • Reflections

  3. Job Search Preparation • Attend workshops at the Career Center in the Spring semester. • Start working on job portfolio in early summer. • Write CV, research statement, teaching statement, and AMS coversheet. • Make a personal website. • Prepare other materials: list of publications, list of taught courses, teaching portfolio, generic cover letter (check Dr. Denny’s instructions) and copies of transcripts. • Have everything revised and proofread by friends, advisor and career service.

  4. Important Notes • Attend workshops tailored for academic jobs. • Opportunity for women finishing their PhDs: “Career Mentoring Workshop” (Summer 2008, Wheaton College, Massachusetts). • In a cover letter, mention your plan to be at the Joint Meeting.

  5. Applications • Start in August. • Apply for jobs at “Jobs for mathematicians” (, “EIMS” (, “Chronicle Careers” (, “SIAM Careers & Jobs” ( and job ads from “Notices”. • Choose about 5 references (2 of them should write about your teaching ability) and request letters of recommendation.

  6. Important Notes • Keep track of the applications (by Word document, folder, binder, etc). • Set up 1 day / week to check job ads and submit applications. • To request letters of recommendation, give your references: • Copies of the job ads with the deadlines highlighted. • Departmental envelopes with printed address labels. • Customize a cover letter for each school based on the generic one and the job requirements.

  7. Phone Interviews • Reply to the school about a suitable date and time for the interview (make sure about the time zone). Give your phone number to the interviewers. • Prepare answers to common interview questions. • Do some searching about the school, its department and the open position. Write down your list of questions. • Use a land-line phone and be in a quiet room during the call. • Take notes during the interview. • Ask when you will hear back from the school. • Practice your interview skills by using the Mock Interview Program of the Career Center.

  8. AMS/MAA Joint Meeting and Employment Center • Start checking information in September. • Look for funding or travel grant. • Prepare a talk or poster to present at the conference. • Register for the Joint Meeting and Employment Center services ASAP (do not miss deadlines to submit title and abstract of the talk, and fill out a brief resume online for “Winter List of Applicants”).

  9. Important Notes • Keep track of all the deadlines of this Joint Meeting. • No interviews held for research-oriented postdoctoral positions. • Two options for applicants: • ALL Employment Center services (computer scheduling system, form posted in Winter List of Applicants, Winter List of Employers received by mail, use of Employment Message Center, available for employer-scheduled interview center). • Message Center and Winter Lists ONLY (everything EXCEPT use of the computer scheduling system).

  10. Pre-Interview • In December, schools will send emails to set up interview schedules either at the Employment Center of the Joint Meeting or somewhere near there. • Check the mailed Winter List of Employers to contact the schools of interest and ask for interview opportunities. • Keep track of all the scheduled interviews (date, time, school, department name, information about interviewers). • Learn about these schools and their departments online. Make a folder for each school, containing important facts and your list of questions (reference: • Check the schedule of the Employment Center. Submit interview request forms for computer-scheduled interviews.

  11. Pre-Interview (cont.) • Bring at least 10 copies of job application documents. Put each portfolio in a large envelope. • Have extra copies of CV (~ 20) to put in the message folder at the Employment Center for public use. • Buy a couple of nice and comfortable suits to wear for 3 – 4 days. Also need a good pair of shoes. Dress professionally! • Prepare a bottle of water and some snacks in your bag. • Bring your business cards and make connections!

  12. Interviews • Be present at the earliest time of the Employment Center schedule to check your message folder. • Should reserve at least 30 minutes before each interview (while resting, check your prepared folder for the school and practice the answers for common interview questions). Use the computer facilities at the meeting or laptop to search the school information. • Do not over-book yourself! Select the schools and perform your best on the interviews with those. Show your enthusiasm no matter how tired you are. • Write down the names of the interviewers or ask for their cards. You need their contact information to send thank-you notes later. • Ask when you can expect to hear back from the schools. Take notes!

  13. Common Interview Questions • Tell us about yourself. • Why are you interested in this position? • Tell us about your teaching experience. • Describe your research. • If you get this position, how will you divide your time on teaching, research and other departmental services? • Will you give a talk at this meeting? In any situation, put your efforts towards making the interview interactive, fun and professional.

  14. Important Notes • Have your CV revised by using the service at the Joint Meeting. Take notes! • Book the hotel room close to the conference location (within a short walking distance). • Reply to every message received in your folder, either to reject or accept an interview invitation.

  15. Post-Interview • Email thank-you notes. • Update the interviewers if you get any new awards or achievements during the waiting time. • After the expected dates for response, email or call the interviewers if you have not heard anything. • Continue applying for jobs.

  16. Campus Interviews • By the end of January, the schools which are interested in your applications should contact you to schedule the on-campus interviews. • Ask for every detail about what to expect at this interview (reference: • Do some search about the salary for the position type. • If you have not heard anything by now, spend some time refining your job applications and continue applying for jobs. • Make connections! Your applications will be more likely considered if you know somebody at these schools. Mention them in the cover letters.

  17. Job Offers • For postdoctoral positions, you might get an offer without visiting the campus. However, you can request a visit if necessary. • Depending on the offer, you may delay your final decision as long as the school allows. Consult with advisor and other people who know the school. • Negotiate for things that are important to you (salary, moving expense, computer, software, travel grants, etc).

  18. Reflections on Teaching • Try to inquire about solo TA positions for classes beyond Pre-calculus. Do not wait until the last year! • Get good evaluations from students and faculty. Have advisor and course coordinators observe your teaching at least once. • Make your teaching materials organized and available on your website. Be creative in using technology for teaching! • Learn ideas about effective teaching methods from attending the workshops of the Center for Teaching and Learning. • Get the PIE (Program for Instructional Excellence) certificate. • Become a Certified Online Mentor of FSU.

  19. Reflections on Research • Number of Publications count a lot in job applications. • Number of contributed talks is also important. Give a talk at the Graduate-Student Seminar! • Apply for summer research programs at different places. • Make connections when going to conferences. • Look for Travel Grants. • Apply for Dissertation Research Grant. • Work on research with undergraduate students if there is an opportunity.

  20. Reflections on Professional Activities • Attend different kinds of professional workshops and seminars to show your interests in many areas. • Be a leader! For example, co-organize the graduate-student seminar for a semester. • Reach out to public schools. • Be active in searching and applying for funding, grants, fellowships and awards. Check the Office of Graduate Studies. • Join the Fellows Mentoring Program of FSU. • Be a part of the Preparing Future Faculty program and earn a Completion Certificate.

  21. Conclusion • It takes time to strengthen your portfolio: set goals to achieve from the beginning of your graduate study. • Make connections whenever you have a chance. • Check other sources for job-search advice and related issues such as • • •