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November 13, 2009

Career Quest Chat

A reminder: Career Quest Chat: on Wednesday, November 18, 1:00-2:00 in Wesbrook 170; Prof. Ross will be leading the discussion.

If you have insights to share, want to refine your career documents, or simply want to a bit of support, join the chat.

October 25, 2008

Departments and Such

I was wondering what university / college departments and divisions have people joined after graduating? What are some of the names and descriptions?

Continue reading "Departments and Such" »

March 10, 2008

More Thoughts on the Job Market (Salma Monani)

I too have been asked to add my thoughts to the Job Search process. Kenny has covered the basics, so I’ll add to them via my own personal experiences. Perhaps one of the most important things for me in this process was access to an excellent one credit Preparing Future Faculty class offered by the U’s own Teaching and Learning Center. If you happen to be like me, generally unorganized and also somewhat perplexed by this whole process, it’s a great resource. Here’s the link to the Academic Job Search part of the PFF website: http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/tutorials/jobsearch/index.html. Even if you don’t take the class, here’s what it taught me:
1) It got me thinking about institutional fit and also gave me a sense of the current state of the job market. In essence, it made me think more realistically about what my options were and where I might be happy.
2) It forced me to pull together a CV and a cover letter for an ideal job ahead of time (so I wasn’t scrambling when it was crunch time—believe me this process can be time-consuming. Anthony attests to that!). I had to think about what this ideal job was and also familiarize myself with job sites. A few to consider are MLA (the department used to pay for this, and it’s worth seeing if they will do so again), the Chronicle for Higher Education, NCA, and H-Net.
3) It’s worth it to start looking at job postings sooner than later. That way you get a sense of what jobs there are out there and how you can tailor yourself for first choice jobs, second choice jobs, and third choice jobs. Always, always think of a back up plan. For example, I want to teach environmental humanities. The job market is next to non-existent in this area, so I need a back-up plan. Can I teach Techcomm? Or Composition? The market for these jobs is better. But, I also need my resume to show I can do this. It’s worth thinking about your opinions sooner than later as that gives you time to build up your resume.

Here are a few additional thoughts:
1) Just to test the waters, it’s worth going on the job market earlier than you think you’ll really need to. Apply selectively. Only apply to your ideal jobs. Only apply to those jobs you feel really qualified to do. Who knows you might get lucky (I did)! Even if you don’t, you might still get interview experience, and you’ll certainly have your CV and other job application materials (teaching philosophy, research statement, cover letters) crafted and ready to go for the next time around.
2) Once your applications are out, the process seems a bit like a crapshoot (if I can use the word). Often times, it’s impossible to know what a hiring department is really looking for. They might simply reject your application because they’ve already got too many people from Minnesota, or because they have a candidate in mind already. Just make sure you have your best material out there, do your homework beforehand, make use of your professional networks to stay in the loop as this might help you get a better sense of what a department might be looking for, and don’t get disheartened. There are always other jobs to apply for!

I’ll stop there but am happy to add more of my two cents worth, if any one is interested. ☺


March 4, 2008

Notes on the Job Market.

Because people have been asking me how it went and, more importantly, what those-soon-to-be-on-the-market should be considering and looking out for as they put themselves in circulation in about 6 months from now, and because I have been asked to say a few words about it on the blog, I am writing with a few thoughts. (Is that not the most Henry-James-like opening sentence ever?).

Homework for the Summer Before:
Get your CV, writing sample, and web-presence read by August 15. Yes, you should probably have some kind of website. Even I, of minuscule technological capacity (compared to most of you all), had a website; well, actually a blog-site that I configured like a website. I have to thank Krista for this! She was the encouragement and the provider of the initial idea. It is a good idea to have one because you can put all of your material online (as PDFs), and many schools will just refer to that rather than have you send paper copies of your portfolio. Because mine is so low-tech and a bit clunky, it might not be the model for what to do, but I am including the link, just to give you some ideas.

www.tkennyfountain.typepad.com

If you have a web-presence though, keep in mind that all of the schools will see it. This can be awkward if you are marketing yourself differently to different schools – meaning, if you are going for STC jobs (in English Departments), Rhetorical History jobs (in Comm. Studies), and Women’s Studies jobs. But this might not be the case for everyone; I marketed myself mostly the same for all the jobs on my list.

You want to get your CV and teaching material up online (or at least samples of teaching material you are proud of—or, in my case, not too embarrassed by). I had a picture of me, because I thought it would seem suspicious not to, but this is something you should talk to others about.

Writing Samples & Pubs
The writing sample, in my opinion, should be taken from your dissertation project (an actual chapter or what might become an actual chapter). It should provide a solid introduction, or even a glimpse into, your project and the major areas of your research. For example, my chapter was on the visual rhetoric and embodied practices of the anatomy lab, offering a brief overview of one major argument in my dissertation. This does not tell them everything about my research but it does clue them in to issues that are important to me now and probably in the future – my interest in medicine, in visual representation, in anatomy and the body, in ethnography, in material and embodied rhetoric, etc.

I did not put the writing sample online, because if you want to get it published later some journals might consider it previously in published.

Also, I think if you are going to send something off for publication, do it before September 1, that way you can have something under review in the publication section of your CV. If you already have one or more publications, there might not be a need to push the next one out, if you don’t feel the contractions. Do you need a publication? I don’t know. I think some more research-heavy jobs would want that, but I’m not sure.

Start by Shopping and Thinking:
Also, this summer start investing in “career-wear? that is warm enough for MLA interviews (though it is in SF in 2008!) and campus visits. You will need enough professional clothes to last for about three days of MLA and 2 days of campus visits. Guys, that means more than one suite or suit-type arrangement (I got one suite and then two suit separates: dark blue, grey, and black).

Lastly, I think it is good—and fun—to start thinking now about who you want to be and where you want to end up. Maybe even write/blog/journal about it some (That is so “writing studies? of me to say).

What type of jobs do you want: ones that are more research-heavy or teaching-heavy or somewhere in between? What type of school are you looking for: R1, liberal arts, large, small, urban, rural, college-town-feel? Where do you want to live (I mean areas of the country)? What do you want to teach? What might be your next project, and what resources might you need for that? What type of career do you want to have – be a heavy-hitter, a mover-and-shaker, or someone happily not-in-direct-sunlight? Do you want to be in an already developed program or one just starting out? Are you interested in being involved in a program-building-situation that will ask/allow you to design new courses and new curricula?

The most important part of this exploration is just to see what comes up. After all, you will not know the answer to these questions until you are in the middle of the job search—at least that was the case with me. I finally knew what I thought about most of these questions only after I had to start making final decisions.