The following timeline was designed to help graduate students apply for academic jobs while they are still in graduate school.

During Graduate School

Publishing, networking, and postdoctoral training are a few important elements of finding a job in academia. First-author publications are more favorable than are co-authored publications, but either type of publication will suffice; the point is to get published before you graduate. If finding an academic job is your ultimate goal, in addition to publishing, you should begin networking by attending conferences, serving on committees, and volunteering. Don’t hesitate to ask your advisor or other professors if they can introduce you to faculty at other universities. You may be competing with a large group (including junior faculty from other institutions) for available academic positions, so you should also consider postdoctoral training before you apply for tenure-track positions.

12-10 Months before Semester

Seek out jobs through journals, publications, websites, and other networking forums, and start completing applications. Applications typically include your cover letter, CV, research statement, teaching statement, and/or writing sample. Polish these items to the best of your ability, and ask for a lot of feedback before you submit them.

10-7 Months before Semester

You may start receiving requests to schedule interviews, so now is the time to prepare and rehearse your interview skills to sell yourself successfully. You’ll want to discuss the significance of your previous and current research as well as your future research goals. Interview structures vary depending on individual schools and departments, so practice diversifying your interview skills. Also, anticipate lots of mini-interviews with faculty by familiarizing yourself with faculty research and by finding ways to link your interests with theirs.

7-4 Months before Semester


Interviews for academic jobs usually last two days and can occur in many settings. In addition to meeting with faculty, you could be asked to have lunch with students or to demonstrate your teaching skills. Particularly for academic jobs, the job-talk portion of your interview (if applicable) may include tough questions, so practice delivering your presentation with confidence. Remain respectful at all times. Don’t forget to send thank-you notes after your interviews.

4-1 Month before Semester

This is when callbacks for second interviews typically occur. You may have a general discussion about course load, equipment, space, and salary. If a university offers you a position, take the time you need to think about it, and negotiate. Be mindful of a school’s budget so that you don’t make unrealistic requests. If you do not receive any offers, don’t despair; rather, start the process all over again for next year.



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