By Yvette Pittman, PhD
The peak of the academic job market is a few months away and you may be asking yourself “What positions are available in academia this year?”
Before you make your first move towards job hunting, it may seem vague and an uphill battle. However, for a smoother process, I encourage you to self-assess with an open mind by asking what fits you best both professionally and personally. For example, consider where you want to live and where your expertise, particularly your model system, fit best. Knowing what type of position you are interested in before beginning your job search is also important. It could be a teaching-focused or research-intensive university, or a community or liberal arts college. Ask yourself what type of students you want to work with on a daily basis. In other words, you will be more productive where you feel most satisfied and comfortable.
As you read countless job announcements, it is essential to remember that employers have spent many hours thinking about their critical need and what they want their new faculty member to look like. Therefore, tailoring can make your application packages stronger, increasing your chances of being invited for an interview. It is crucial to avoid job searches with intentions of applying everywhere, sending the same application to many different institutions. For each posting, you should consider how competitive you are or if your credentials fit well with their need. Application packages usually consist of a CV, cover letter, and research and teaching statements. Before submitting them, it would be valuable to have a few professionals read your materials.
Searching a variety of online resources is a great strategy. You can narrow down your search by state, scientific discipline, and type of position. Below is a list of the popular sites. You can start with your professional societies. Most of them advertise faculty positions in their discipline. For example, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology hosts a job board while Society for Neuroscience has a NeuroJobs Career Center which allows you to receive alerts for job postings. Others include:
- Chronicle of Higher Education
- Nature Jobs
- Indeed Jobs
- Higher Education Jobs
- Science Careers
- New Scientist Jobs
- HERC (Higher Education Recruitment Consortium)
I encourage you to stay committed to finding positions that best fits your goals, interests, and values. And try to visit these sites regularly, always using the search criteria to your advantage.