U.S. Academic Job Applications

U.S. Academic Job Applications

U.S. Academic Job Applications

Lara Wagner and Alycia Weinberger (with input from R. Carlson, D. Roman, A. Shahar, S. Shirey, M. Walter)

September 25, 2018


Important hiring factors:
  • Production
  • Leadership
  • Creativity
  • Breadth
  • Fit

Additional takeaway highlights:

  • Proof read every part of your application!
  • Do not use "Hey" as a form of salutation, i.e., Hey Dr. xxxx, nor the generic "Dear Sir."
  • Small departments need everyone to chip in.
  • Be aware where the funding opportunities are for your research.
  • If you are tagged to be on a proposal review panel, do so.  If not, volunteer, i.e., with NASA.
  • You must have a website.
  • In your CV, do not mention positions you have declined.
  • Try to have a Google Scholar profile of your papers.
  • Block your personal social media page.
  • If a diversity statement is required, list your outreach experience, what can you do for the department to help re diversity.  Check out this Vanderbilt U. link.
  • Carnegie scientific staff encourage you to consult with them on all aspects of your application process.

Research Statement:  It is all about YOU and YOUR work

  • Make sure you include in your research statement why your science is important to society; what are the big questions that drive you?
  • Research statements are forward looking:  how will you move the ball forward in your field?
  • Be clear what your contributions are, and will be, in science.
  • Be clear that you are not your PhD advisor or mentor; you have your own ideas and are an independent thinker.
  • Hone in on 1, 2, or 3 interests that you will bring to the table.  Don’t be too specific, frame your interests to the big picture.
  • First few paragraphs [Executive Summary] at the beginning of your 3-5 page research statement should give the reader the interest to continue reading and know what you are interested in doing. 
  • Reference your own papers in your research statement; if using other references, stick to major works.
  • Arrogance, NO; Excitement, YES
  • Be clear up front why what you do is exciting.
  • Including figures in your research statement depends on your field:  Astronomers, yes; geosciences, not really.  If a figure makes sense, use it. 
  • Tailor your research statement to the place you are applying.  Try not to overlap extensively with someone else’s work.  If you do, say it will be complementary.

Teaching Statement: 

  • Show that you care, that teaching is important
  • Describe the teacher you want to be
  • Be available to teach the large intro classes; you draw in the masses
  • Offer to help teach, not take over someone else’s class
  • Bring something new to the table