Mascot for #DevilDiss

Mascot for #DevilDiss
Mascot for #DevilDiss

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Pre Job Market Questions

I blogged yesterday about finishing 5 1/2 out of 6 chapters of #DevilDiss.
I have to tell you, feels good.
Felt good today too when I had lunch with an old professor who was happy to hear my progress.

I also met a friend for coffee, and when she said I'd been busy, I told her that when I was doing it, it was just moving down the list- what's next? But when I told others what I'd done it seemed like a bigger deal.

So with first drafts winding down on the dissertation, and a bit of wait time, and the job market prep class coming, I started to think some, look ahead.

I've read all the information about the job market. And having done that, I'm going to ignore it.
Because there's nothing I can do about it.
I can think I'll be a unicorn, and move forward.
So, here's what I can control.
I have templates of all my job market materials which I welcome notes on. I have to update them next week as prep for my meeting with my director, and the class.
  • I plan on taking my cover letter and prepping templates for tenure track, SLAC, and CC. Anything else?
  • I know too when I send letters out to make sure first paragraph addresses the specific job ad criteria I'm a fit for.
  • What's the best choice for a writing sample? A dissertation chapter? An already published article?
    • Most of my publications are in folklore and popular culture, not medieval or early modern, which is why I ask.
I do have some questions:
  • I have an Interfolio account I made last year. I understand that I and my committee members will upload things directly here for a lot of applications. But my understanding is that you then pay each time you send these materials out. Is this right? How much are we talking?
  • What's the proper etiquette to ask for recommendation letters (even from committee members)? If I apply to twenty or thirty jobs, that seems like a lot. How much time should I count on giving them to write letters? I assume it's a general letter they write, but how much notice will they need to upload per application? I want to be polite and respectful.
  • I've created a spreadsheet to track materials as I submit them, then plan on color coded folders for ones I make the first cut for. Any other organizing tips for keeping track of materials?
  • I have a publisher interested in my next book project. Should I get something official from the editor so I can mention it in my letter?
My director is on sabbatical this year, but I know will be accessible. Likewise the professor running the job workshop said he'd be available to help us.

But I also trust my extended academic network here on social media. So, any tips for going on the job market?
Please leave practical advice in the comments.
And if you're just going to say don't do it, or place Eeyore comments, don't bother, I'll moderate and just delete.


  1. Hi--

    What I found was that, first, a lot of jobs won't ask for references until/unless you get either longlisted or shortlisted. My referees only had to write 2 letters (1 to UCT, 1 to TAMIU, both just before I interviewed); listing your references will be fine for a lot of them. Also, your referees will likely be as excited as you are when you're shortlisted.

    I didn't have to send writing samples to anything, though a lot of my stuff is already published so they'd have read it already (plus I wrote with/for well-known editors). I'd say go with published if at all possible, but there's always a contact person for 'informal enquiries'-- you can just email them and ask. You can say in your covering letter that publisher X is interested in your book, but the publisher might not want to put anything in writing just yet so I'd be a bit hesitant to try to get something in writing from them.

    I created individual folders for every place I applied, including copies of the covering letter, job description and anything else they asked me for; I had a spreadsheet that kept track of application deadlines, when I expected to hear and the results. I can email you the two covering letters that got me both interviews-- the one for TAMIU actually contains a joke, which always makes me remind people that humour helps-- they want someone they can work with, not just someone who's a very good scholar. (I told jokes at both skype/phone interviews and in my various presentations as well-- they're good ice-breakers, but they also show that you're quick on your feet, which is another sign of being a good teacher and researcher).

    Hope that helps! :)

    1. Would love to see the cover letters, also would love to see what the diss blurb on cv should look like. This is all good stuff, thanks!

    2. Hi--

      Just sent them via my aol email. :)