Women in Biology
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Resources for the Academic Track

This section is for postdocs who want a faculty career , including getting started, organizing your search, considering small colleges, prepping your application,preparing to interview, dealing with search committees, offers and negotiating, and when to move on.

If you are already on the academic track, whether an experienced professor or just starting out, there is lots of more specialized information on the Academic careers page. Information for grad students and postdocs is on the
education page.

Getting Started

  • The best place to start is The Chronicle of Higher Education: The Chronicle requires a subscription for full online access, but daily news summaries are available for free, and they have a free site sampler of recent articles. Worth exploring, as there is lots of information here about all aspects of academic life from job prospects to benefits to intellectual trends. Your university library probably has a hard copy.
  • Most helpful from the Chronicle: the Career Network site. The valuable articles here are free, and updated every Friday. These cover many aspects of job hunting and career strategies, ranging from meeting with headhunters, to getting partner benefits, to dealing with senior searches. I recommend the series of regular advice columns with much practial information, amongst them Catalyst, a column specifically for scientists, Career talk, practical advice on job hunts in and out of academe, Beyond the Ivory Tower for those leaving the academy, Balancing Act, on work/family issues, and my personal favorite, Ms. Mentor, who archly answers academic career questions (she has also written a book for women academics). The site provides an index to recent articles by topic.
  • Also check out a new competing magazine, Inside Higher Education for a less establishment view.
  • lists of academic-related sites
  • What you need to know before you work abroad

Organizing your job search

Small colleges

  • This may be a particularly good option if you like teaching, and like the idea of incorporating your science particularly in teaching. Great students, too.
  • Going the small college route: Thinking smaller.
  • Check out more on small colleges on the academic career issues page

Community colleges

or private secondary schools. Also see community college section on the academic page (e.g., what it's like once you have the job )

Working on your CV and cover letter, and research plan:

It is the cover letter that gets the committee to look at the rest of your package, so spend time on it!
  • Teaching Portfolio: generally, this is a rare requirement for research science jobs. Most medical schools and research institutes will not request teaching information, beyond a list of your experience on your CV. Large universities may want a "teaching statement". Colleges and smaller schools that are oriented more towards teaching than research may want a detailed description, called a portfolio.


    Search Committees: dealing with them, being on them

    • Search committee slip-ups
    • A tale of a successful search from the search committee's perspective ... and then a later update when it all went wrong. Not only did our top choice have a fantastic research record, he also expressed a strong commitment to teaching at a liberal-arts college like ours, making him our dream hire and us, he said, his dream employer. We were ecstatic .....Several months later, we were awakened from the dream when he suddenly informed us that he did not want to be at a liberal-arts college after all and would instead be seeking a job at a research university.
    • Recruiting vs. searching: how to get the best candidates.
    • It's about fit, or how even the best candidate on paper can be a disaster. From The Chronicle
    • When the search committee doesn't call
    • When good searches go bad. It's your perfect job. But there's just one thing....

    Offers and negotiating

    What do do when it doesn't work

  • When is it time to give up on finding an academic position?
  • Dealing with rejection when you didn't get the job.