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Being "On the Market"

Some Reflections From the
Life and Death World of Academia:
Fear and Loathing "On the Market"

Dr. Stuart W. Shulman

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Policy

Drake University

Des Moines, IA

I. Completing the Dissertation

A. Document systematically

B. Establish:

1. a clear methodology

2. criteria for completion

3. a process for review and advice

C. Organize to fit a specific publishing goal

D. Orient your work to a future job talk

II. Packaging Yourself

A. You are a commodity

B. Be known as industrious and collegial

C. Start reading the job advertisements early

D. Sell yourself as a methods person?

E. A person likely to influence the field?

III. The Importance of Pedagogy

A. Another pathway to job security

B. Commit to innovative techniques/feedback

C. Invite experienced people as observers

D. A graduate teaching load slows down completion of your dissertation

E. Teaching colleges impinge on research time

IV. Going on the Market

A. Strategy: the importance of the cover letter

B. Two basic choices

C. Clear-cut a forest and apply for everything

D. Merge Form Letters/Labels

E. 2 Standard letters

F. One foregrounds research & publication

G. Two is for teaching schools

H. Limit your search

I. Geography, fit, or other personal criteria

V. Getting a Job

A. Even one-year jobs are competitive

B. "Placement Report: Political Science Ph.D.s and ABDs on the Job Market in 1997"


D. 70% of the placement class gets jobs

E. Key point: Increasing placement in temporary positions

F. 33% are temporary jobs

G. Holding Ph.D. big advantage (81% vs. 53%)

H. Being female a small advantage

VI. Some More Things to Consider

A. "Regardless of degree status, more first time job seekers were placed in permanent positions than were candidates who were repeating their job search."

B. Going on the market early may be a poor strategy for some

C. Predictions of more replacement of tenure lines with temporary positions

VII. Making the Most of a One-Year

A. Show you can do whatever is asked of you

B. Committees, advising, meetings, etc.

C. Bring something unique to the campus

D. Ex. The Providence College Working Group on Qualitative Data Analysis

E. Invite professors to visit your classes

F. Non-grad school faculty referrals are key

G. Develop scholarly links with students

VIII. Job Interviews

A. Be yourself

B. Prepare for a grueling and repetitive string of questions like:

C. "What do you want to know about Drake?"

D. "How did you choose your dissertation topic?"

E. Study the department/program in advance

F. Go in with either an active pedagogical agenda or concrete outside funding plans, preferably both